Deanna Pledge, Ph.D.

Bloom Where You're Planted!










Blooming Blog

Transcending Place

October 22, 2011

Tags: power of place, transformation, change, perspective, coping, authentic self

When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves. ~ Viktor E. Frankl

Although the power of place and the situations in which we find ourselves are important factors in our mood, our creativity, and even our lives, none of these has to be the over-arching influence on how our lives are lived. As Frankl notes, sometimes we are challenged to make changes in ourselves.

Last week, we spoke about things that make you smile. You were probably able to identify a few things regardless of where you were physically or emotionally when you began the exercise. The gentle challenge of the exercise may have given you some experience of that ability to change yourself. And you have probably made many changes in yourself throughout your life, but consciously developing tools can be a positive part of that change process.

Using an extreme example to illustrate my point, consider the work of Viktor Frankl who wrote Man’s Search for Meaning which chronicles his experiences in a concentration camp and outlines his approach to finding meaning in all forms of existence. He emphasized his psychological strength and ability to virtually create his own reality as a critical factor in his own survival during that experience.

Now I’m not suggesting that any of us are in situations that mirror his experience, but we can still learn from his approach. Taking control of our own lives often starts as an “inside job,” rather than one which requires changes in our external lives or physical surroundings.

Historically as women, we have been unable to change many aspects of our own circumstances because of various constraints. Think of earlier generations of women who did not work outside the home and were dependent financially on their spouses. Even if they wanted to change their lives, they frequently did not have the available resources to do so. And the same continues to be true for many today. Details of what cannot be changed vary widely from one woman’s life to another, but the truth of being constrained by familial demands, relationships, and finances are quite real.

For this reason, I want to explore the possibilities that each of us brings from our own authentic selves. Identifying what is important to you or finding a way to express your authentic self does not have to mean that everything in your life changes to allow that expression. It is much more likely that everything actually appears to stay the same, but you are the one who is changing – you are blooming where you are planted.

The exercise from last week provides initial direction. This week I challenge you to begin thinking about how you can allow expression of your authentic self into your life. As we go through life, we all accumulate more and more roles and responsibilities however that doesn’t have to stop you from living your dreams.

Work on a picture of what you want for yourself this week and create that picture in words, in a drawing, or simply in your own mind. Visualization is the first step in creating a new reality or simply a new habit, activity, or event.

Enjoy!