One of A Kind Transformation
"I have found that his four-step process works even more powerfully when applied to the human heart."
A long time ago, I met a U.S.Marine, and I’ll never forget something he taught me. At the time, I was feeling quite overwhelmed. We recently became friends. He asked me what was on my mind, and then said, "You don't seem yourself lately." I was somewhat surprised and embarrassed by his observation because I thought that I was hiding my "pain" successfully.
I expressed my gratitude for his concern and mentioned that I was feeling confused, saddened, and even panicked. He then asked me, “What words are you saying to yourself just before you start experiencing each of those feelings?"
I was surprised by his question. I didn’t know how to focus on this or anything else. Right then, I wanted to know how to get rid of my feelings or move past them. This had become my new reality; my way of living. "How can I feel the opposite: content, confident, and peaceful. How can I feel better now?", I asked myself.
I wanted to hear the exact words, not knowing what they could be, that I needed, to change how I felt. I really hadn’t thought about the inner monologue that was occurring in my mind.
Then he said something I'd never forget, “For what it’s worth, the first few words you say to yourself, after a crisis that results in a loss, determines everything that comes after.” He paused, waiting for my response. I stood there silent not knowing what to say and looking straight ahead, when he continued. "I was trained as a Marine to do something that I didn’t know growing up and I have never learned it anywhere else. It’s helped me immensely in every crisis I’ve faced since, especially when it's resulted in loss.”
I slowly stood up, signaling that I had to step away. Then he jumped up, placed his hand on my arm gently and stared straight into my eyes. He continued, “Wait, Just hear me out for 5 minutes or less, I promise.Okay?” I blinked a yes, with tears of anger just beneath the surface. “Listen. Really listen because I really care about you”, he said.
I realized that in order for me to truly move forward, I had to reflect upon what couldn't be changed. I had to find how to collect and comfort myself. "A Marine is taught to save lives. People view us as machines as if our function is to come in and mow everything and everyone down…to win…and to move on. No feelings, No emotion. Not true.” He continued to stare at me.
"The truth is that a Marine is taught to save lives. In a crisis, we get sent in first." I have found that his four-step process works even more powerfully when applied to the human heart.
He then continued:
1) Our first job is to assess. We focus on stopping the loss, stopping the bleeding, getting help, and finally to protect.
2) I’ve learned that if my heart hurts, I need to pause within the moment. I need to stop the situation that would cause me further pain.
3) Once I have stabilized the situation by putting up a boundary, I need to secure myself and let myself know that I will be ok. So those are the words I want you to keep saying, "I will be ok. Now and eventually, I will be ok."
4) Then seek help: Help figure things out, help to accept what cannot be changed, help to change, help to get better. I am here to support you if I can, but if needed, you must seek expert help." he said.
I stood there stunned. A four-step process. I realized quickly that my inner monologue needed to change. One important step I still needed to do was to Pause Within The Moment and place a strong boundary that couldn't be melted away by the minute. Right now I needed that help.
It would be hard to move forward and use these methods, because I had not thought about it in that way before. I didn’t have to use his exact way either, but I could incorporate at least one thing that might work for me.
I repeated back to him "Pause in the Moment, Put up that Strong Boundary and Slowly Move to a Safe Place. By doing so, this will allow me to concentrate on Taking Care of My Mind, Body and Heart." I smiled and sat backdown.
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