Friction to Fire
It’s amazing to me that the things that are simple physics, like movement creating friction, work as much in the human psyche as they do in the physical world.
I heard this quote from John Maxwell but I’m certain this is not John’s idea, as this phenomenon applies to all things:
"Movement creates friction."
You have certainly felt it too. As certain as the friction between my thighs in a fresh pair of corduroy jeans, is the friction between two people when one is trying to move. And the closer the relationship, the greater the friction.
When two people are in a relationship (friendship, marriage, co-workers) and one of the members of that relationship start to “move” you can bet it’s going to cause some friction, especially if the “mover” and the partner are not equally ready.
For instance, you’re ready to throw out every bit of sugar in the pantry but hubby is not on board and is not ready to give up his nightly Twinkie-fest. Or you want to break out and try a new career, but she would rather you stay in the job you hate because the dental plan makes her feel secure. Maybe you have been doing a lot of inner work and your growth is causing friction. It happens and what I want you to know is, it’s normal.
When you are ready to take a risk, try something new, or level up your life, you can bet it’s going to cause some friction with those around you.
Are you feeling that friction right now?
Here are few tips to help relieve the friction.
1. Be aware that just because you are ready doesn’t mean that those around you are, and you can’t make them ready. Your poking and prodding will only cause them to recoil and resent. So, stay on your path, include them in your life, but don’t nag. If you’re ready to start eating healthy and hubby isn’t, that’s fine. It’s your body and you choose what goes into it. Find a way. Don’t make a big deal, don’t complain about cooking extra. Find a way, not an excuse. Do not let them be your excuse.
2. I’m going to assume the “move” you are making is a positive move. You want better health to add years to your life and life to your years. You want the new job or to start your own business to enjoy your days on this earth, make and impact by using your gifts, and build a better life for you and your family. You’re dying, clicking away at a job that leaves you feeling empty. You’re doing some deep inner work because you’re ready to leave your old story behind and create a new, brighter and happier future for your family (even if they don’t exist yet). You’re doing these things to be better.
You need to move as effortlessly as possible toward your better and allow them to feed off of your energy for a while. Make what you’re doing something they want to be part of. I don’t mean purposely make them jealous. That’s the wrong energy. I mean, show them that eating better is giving you more energy and it’s worth the sacrifice. Show her your plan for your new dream job; what exactly will that look like? She doesn’t want you to be miserable she just wants to feel secure in the change (note: dreamers often marry realists...keep that in mind, speak their language not yours). Show those around you that doing the deep work of finding out who you really are makes you a more compassionate, fun person to be around, not a finger-waggy pain-in-the-ass. And don’t fake it. If you’re faking it, you’re on the wrong path yourself.
3. Give them time. How long did it take for you to get where you are today? How miserable did you have to be to get you to move? How long ago should you have started but you didn’t? Give them the time they need. That may be longer than you and that’s ok.
When Rob and I were newlywed’s I was in a Bible Study with a group of women who were all a good bit older than me…by about 30-40 years. One night I was voicing my frustration that I always felt that Rob and I were in such different places, spiritually. I was raised feeling like Jesus was my bestie since before I can remember. Rob was raised in the Catholic tradition, and his relationship with God, while not non-existent, was much different than mine. It felt to me much more distant than mine. (Yes, I hear myself….and yes, I’m rolling my own eyes…and yet I go on….) What a wonderful mentorship I had from these women. You know what they told me to do. Read him scripture every morning until he and Jesus were also besites. NO! They said, “Leave him alone.” And I did. For once in my life I chose to listen. Did I change what I did for me; bible study, morning devotions, going to church (which he always did with me)? No. Did it change my relationship with God? No. Me and Jesus still hung out, but I stopped worrying about Rob and let God do that. I did me. He did him. And God did what God does. Through the process, and through the years, I feel like God raised Rob up and brought me down a bit (it was needed if you can’t tell), and we met in the middle. Who was I to think I had his life and especially his faith all figured out.
We may do life with the people around us but each of us is only responsible for us.
Notice that all of my advice has nothing to do with changing the other person. All of it is you and how you handle the situation. You can’t change someone else. But you can, instead of getting frustrated, come from a place of grace. Know that you have arrived ready to change before those around you and have grace as you move, knowing you’re about to create friction for them. How about instead of being irritated about how it affects you, get empathetic for how it may affect them. I bet you’ve been on the other side of that friction at some point.
But here is what I want you to hear. No matter what, if your heart is saying to create the movement, do it. You may be called to something so you can be the silent, compassionate, force in your family or circle of friends. If the movement creates too much friction and the steps here are not working, it’s not always a sign to stop. Maybe you and your spouse need to look into getting a counselor, or coach through the process. If your friends are giving you grief because your new, more positive way of living, is harshing their vibe. Fine. Start to look for a new tribe with a new vibe.
Here is my favorite part! You get to choose the energy of your movement. Your energy in this movement will determine the energy of your friction. Friction can light fires. Fires can burn a village or provide warmth and light. If you’ve been given the desire to move, follow that desire with compassion for those around you. Follow it knowing your energy will burn or provide light. Choose to be light.
Committed to your success,
Jen Mulford, CHHC, PT, CES
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