Walking through the experience of incarceration is one of the hardest things you will ever do.
And getting THROUGH it is exactly what I mean. You cannot get stuck in one of the levels if you want to change your life and legacy. The steps toward healing will turn into a cycle of self-destruction when you don’t beat every level. Too many families have been destroyed by incarceration because they get stuck in Shock, Denial, Anger, or Grief and cannot find their way out. They decide that this is all that they will ever be. Dreaming stops, bitterness sets in, and discouragement thrives. First, they stop dreaming. Next, they stop believing they can change their lives. Finally, hope is snuffed out. This is the unhealthy form that Acceptance can take. When you decide you must “accept” that this is all your life will ever be and you better get used to it, you have fallen prey to the Victim Mentality side of Acceptance.
But there is another way, a healthy way, to move into Acceptance.
The healthy Acceptance acknowledges what caused you to arrive where you are – all the things that have happened to you AND all the things you have done that created the life you are now living. It is never all someone else’s fault that you are where you are. The healthy acceptance is when you can see clearly your part in building your story to this point. If you never see the power you had in bringing you to this moment, you will also never see the power you have to move out of this moment. When you see this clearly, you have taken on the Victor Mentality side of Acceptance.
Acceptance is the first step in the cycle of Self-Improvement
There is a HUGE difference between the 2 sides of Acceptance. The victim mentality takes you back up through all the levels over and over again as you live the Cycle of Self-Destruction because you have decided you are a victim. As a victim of your circumstances, you continue to make poor decisions that land you right back into Shock and then down the levels until you reach the place you always get stuck. If nothing ever disrupts this cycle, you will continue to live your life in the heaviness of helplessness. However, if you come to the place of recognizing both the trauma that happened to you as well as the trauma you caused that have brought you to this place, you can overcome it and move beyond it. This is the life of a victor and the first step into the Cycles of Self-Improvement. (I will describe this in detail in my next few blog posts).
As you move out of grief and into Acceptance, self-responsibility and honesty are the keys that will move you toward a better future for you and your family. Acceptance, the next stage for each of you, can provide an opportunity to bring transformational and generational change. But you must not forget that Acceptance can present itself in one of two forms – Victim Mentality or Victor Mentality.
Without Acceptance, we miss out on achieving our dreams
If progress stops at any of the normal stages of healing and overcoming, an individual becomes “stuck,” and that phase becomes a lifestyle instead of part of their journey. When individuals stop learning and progressing, they fall into unhealthy patterns of thinking and responding to their environment. This represents the victim mentality, defined by cycle repetitions and continuous self-defeating behavior. The attributes of the phase in which they are stuck become a permanent part of their character/identity, and attitudes of hopelessness and helplessness continue to rule their lives.
The TYRO Model of Change (click here) shows a person he or she can choose a path out of victim thinking, take control of their life, change their outcomes, and move to a place of victor thinking. Victor thinking is taking ownership of decision-making, developing self-awareness and recognizable stability, and practicing mindfulness. When this happens, TYRO Transformation occurs. We then become value creators instead of value extractors. Without that transformation, we stay asleep to our potential and miss out on achieving our dreams.
In the Acceptance Zone, if you are aware that you have a choice – that you don’t just have to accept the life you are living now as permanent – you will be able to recognize you have hope and opportunities for a better future. This is a critical moment in your journey toward healing.
Acceptance can lead to either repeated cycles of self-destruction or to the beginning of cycles of self-improvement.
The Acceptance Zone
If the acceptance is viewed through a lens of unresolved grief, the Acceptance Zone becomes your excuse to continue to fail. From this vantage point, it seems hopeless to try to do anything differently. Feelings of hopelessness and negative thinking patterns become reinforced as you view your situation as irreversible, permanent, and acceptable.
You become convinced that there is nothing you can do to change your family legacy, so you embrace this lifestyle and connect your identity to your circumstances. This pattern leads to repeated negative behaviors, with negative consequences that continue to reinforce your belief that you will never overcome all the challenges before you. Cycles of poverty, incarceration, fatherlessness, and other destructive cycles continue to be repeated until, hopefully, something interrupts this pattern and causes you to realize that you do have a choice.
The Acceptance Zone is the place that offers hope for change and the opportunity to learn to dream again. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? You get to learn to dream again. All the dreams that you stuffed down and buried so deeply under your pain and anger will come alive again! The road to the cycles of self-improvement begins in the Acceptance Zone.
If you have the support, services, and opportunities to begin to recognize that you can overcome helplessness, hopelessness, and a victim-mentality (where life just happens to you and you have no control over outcomes in your own life), you will see the path to becoming an overcomer. You will begin to see yourself as someone who can successfully steer through any challenges you are facing to build a better life for you, your husband, and your children.
Your Story is waiting to be lived.
To move out of the Cycles of Self-Destruction, you must recognize how the events of your life have contributed to your current state. This zone is the first you must enter victoriously as you move into your new lifestyle of self-improvement. If you cannot accept that fact that you CAN do better, you CAN overcome this, you CAN change your world and the world your children are living in, then you never will. Your story is waiting to be lived. You have an incredible opportunity to live to the fullest of your potential. The only thing that can stop you is YOU.
Change the way you see yourself – from a helpless victim to a powerful force. It’s the first step toward transformation. Is it risky? Absolutely. No risk, no gain. But living your life safely stuck in a hopeless place is a far worse fate than making a few mistakes as you walk toward your destiny. Failure is not fatal, and it is never final. Accept the possibilities to unleash your potential and run after your future.
I am really looking forward to sharing the levels of Self-Improvement with you in my next blog posts!! You will be ready to take on any challenge after you know what to do and how to do it.
I believe in you. If I can do it, you can do it.
I am rooting for you!