This expression reminds us that change is not immediate, it takes time, some planning and solid foundations to ensure what we are building can weather the storms that may come. Yet when we decide to change something that we have decided doesn’t work for us, we think everyone should be on board with us, right? I mean why not? we are making a choice that in our minds will benefit everyone… Yet, it may take a while for others to trust that the change is one that is here to stay and not another mad experiment.
An example may be a choice to stop criticising and start backing each other. The pattern of finding fault may well have been there for many years. The challenge is, how do you start backing someone who is alert and waiting for the criticism from you – who assumes that everything you say comes with judgement?
At the start there is likely to be, quite simply, a lack of trust. There could be quizzical looks as if to say – “wait what??? I am used to you criticising me, what do you want?” We can’t really be surprised by that response because that is the pattern of communication between us that has been the most prolific for however long, but if we stay the course and stay steady, we can allow ourselves to feel the consequences of our past patterns of communication. If we can acknowledge that in the past there has been a pattern of communication that was critical, and we are working on changing that automatic pattern, then we are building a stronger foundation based on honesty.
Don’t wait for anyone else to make the first move. It’s not about looking for outcomes or results, but we are looking at what we could have done in the first place and seeing that backing each other can be our normal and regular way to be. If we are consistent with that willingness, they will build trust in us again.
But… it is not about perfection.
When we are changing a pattern of behaviour there is a cycle. We start to become aware that something is not working; We think about it for a bit; we start to make plans to support ourselves as we change; we implement those plans; our enthusiasm is right up there; then we meet challenges such as someone pushing back, a trigger, and we wobble; at that point we have a choice to sit back and observe what has made us wobble and steady ourselves up with the foundational preparation we have been working on, or have a further wobble.
It’s Ok though, they are just wobbles and as we build a more solid foundation of self-care and get more used to finding more respectful and loving ways of speaking with each other, then it won’t take long before that is your normal way of communicating and the “wait, what?!” looks will become less frequent.
It is time to back yourself. Know that the behaviour you want to stop is for a reason. It is not what you want therefore your commitment to change is about bringing more love to yourself and those around you. That is worth backing yourself on!
Don’t forget - Rome wasn’t built in a day. Right now, you are doing some town planning looking at what you do and don’t want in your life, building some solid foundations in your self-care, be gentle on yourself and the rest will follow.