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SUMMARY: New Year, New You? If We Don’t Change, How Do We Change Anything? And, How Do We Change? 

In consideration of self-reclamation, self-actualization, and community restoration, The Gatekeeper’s Collective brought in 2015 reflecting on the proposition: New Year New You? If We Don’t Change, How Do We Change Anything?  And, How Do We Change?

Among commitments participants have made to themselves include:

“I’m in school again…”

“Making better choices…Taking care of myself so I can better take care of others…”

“I brought in the New Year reflective…Spiritual…I have money [but] I want enough to get my family out of the [rut] of working for someone else…I want us to have residual income…I don’t want to be a [worker all my life]…”

“I told my son I’m into men…and that I don’t want him to be sensitive about the issue…and if he has any questions about it, to not hesitate to ask me…”

Facilitator, asks, {“Are there behaviors or patterns you observe which, if you could change them, you believe you could be happier and/or more successful?”} The group answer, “Yes…”  Facilitator tells the group, {“There’s a behavior change model called Motivational Interviewing that was conceived by psychologists back in the early eighties to facilitate people navigating alcohol and drug dependencies beyond those addictions…Since then, it has been used successfully in supporting people through ambivalence in changing a wide variety of unwanted behaviors…A modified form of this intervention is called CDMN: C is for Concerns; D is for Developing Discrepancy; M is for Menu of Options; and N is for Next Steps…Should we try it?”}  The group answer, “Yes…”  Facilitator says, {“Okay, what are your concerns?...”}

“I tend to pick up needy people, as opposed to ones who could help me build…I want to change so that I don’t gravitate to ones who [are] like clients…[I want to] pull the right type of energy towards me…[to attract men] who are not such a drain on me…”

“The shift comes in being honest and aware of the fact that you need to be needed…and ask yourself, why do I need to be needed so much?...”

Facilitator proposes, {“We have among us profound insight and wisdom…In fact, we have the answers to all the questions, and the healing for all that ails us…On the way to our deriving that stuff though, what I want to urge everyone to do at this juncture, rather than attempt to fix each others’ issues and challenges, is to simply listen to each other and see where we are…”}

“Self-destruction…[and the feeling that] I’m not worthy…[Making] poor decisions which prevent me from succeeding…[For instance] People say I’m a good actor, but I won’t go to an audition [because] I don’t think I’m good enough…”

“[I want] to get laid…It’s been seven years…”

“Taking up with people who are unavailable for relationships…”

“Letting people take advantage of me…Being a doormat…Not standing up for myself…”

“[I have to] stop being so confrontational…Stop letting myself loose control when I get angry…”

“I’m shy….I’m insecure…I’m afraid…I’m afraid to leave my bag unattended…[I have to] get over the trauma of fear of speaking publically…I freeze…I don’t act like myself…I am not myself in public…”

“I have self-esteem issues so that I keep my distance from people…I keep alone…stay in my thoughts…I’d like to change that, but am afraid to change it…”

“I am not proactive or aggressive enough on my own behalf…I shut down when I need to be proactive…I let the moment pass me by because of fear, and fear of conflict…”

“It takes a lot to get to me, but [once you do get to me] I am not the most forgiving…[And] I am impatient…”

“I tend to eat toxic snacks late at night…”

Facilitator mentions, {“For our purposes, a discrepancy is where there is a difference between what we say we want, and what we are doing…So, where might there be discrepancies around the concerns we’re citing?...”}

“Well…I say I don’t want to attract a certain kind of man, but yet, I keep winding up with the same type…”

“I say I want to get laid, but I don’t make moves on anyone…And, when people make moves on me, I find ways to get away from them…”

“I say I want a real relationship, but I keep hanging out with married men…”

“I want to be more proactive on my own behalf, but I’m not working to build any skills to be able to do that…”

What might constitute a menu of options for changing the unwanted behavior?

“[I might] have this preliminary conversation [about] changing my truth narrative…working toward believing in myself…”

“[I might] do breathing exercises…I could breathe, and work myself up into not getting into the slump [when I feel myself about to shut down]…”

“To surround myself with others who I look up to…hopefully, not waste [energy]…begin to think differently…[Gather] information, knowledge, feeding myself…Enlightenment…Taking a spiritual journey [to] understand and see the value in myself…[Do some] yoga…”

“Stop keeping myself at a distance [from other people]…[And begin risking] revealing real stuff about myself [to others]…”

“Confront the fears I have, and turn the fears into action…”

“Be more open, more verbal…Let people know what I’m thinking, so there’s no room for misunderstanding [or] misinterpretation…”

“Pushing myself towards my worthiness…To [begin to] honor myself as equal…”

“Asserting myself…speaking up when things happen in the moment…Or, at least leave a bookmark, letting them know, ‘Listen, we gotta’ talk [about this]…’”

“Going out on a real date…Stay[ing] away from people who I know are not available…I haven’t been on a real date in a long time…”

“To listen more…Surrounding myself with people who get it…”

“Being more engaging…More with people [than by myself]…”

“I can drink a lot of cold water [in the evening]…I like cold water…And, I can stock things I like that are not toxic…like a pear or an apple and cheese…so that, if I don’t want to resist the temptation to eat late at night, I can do so without it being [so] harmful…”

Facilitator asks, {“So, what are our next steps?...”}

The assembled agree to begin taking up behaviors from the menus of options they’ve cited and keep each other posted on our progress.  All agree that the exercise was a useful one.


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