In all the squares of the Change Cycle, I believe that Square 4 is the least understood. This is the square where all of your hard work in Square 3 has resulted in a peaceful place where things are easy. But The Promised Land can be built on false promises. If you are someone who thinks that happiness is a destination, then you are setting yourself up to never experience true happiness (been there, suffered that). If you believe that The Promised Land can be reached having the perfect house, the perfect family, the perfect car, and a closet full of size 4 clothes, you are missing the boat—because there is no perfect anything, at least not by society’s standards.
I believe that my life is perfect for me, but it’s far from perfect. This is the truth of Square 4. The Promised Land is built upon promises you make to yourself and then keep through a daily practice of taking care of yourself, accepting your life (and your teen’s life) as it is, and being very honest about your expectations, without judgment. Does this sound crazy? Well, it’s no crazier than thinking you can control every aspect of yours and your teen’s lives.
How does this look on a daily basis? Once you have mastered the circular movement of Square 3, and you’ve actually reached a place of “All is well” in at least one area of your life (marriage, work, parenting, or health), it’s tempting to think that it will always be this way. That is The Promised Land trap, because nothing ever stays the same — and that’s okay. In the change cycle, Square 4 is right before Square 1 for a reason; just when you think you have it all figured out, then life will throw you a curveball. Even though I am in Square 4 with my family (my relationship with my husband and girls is rock solid and takes very little effort to maintain), circumstances will still intrude upon that tranquility.
In my life, right now, I have curve balls flying at my head fast and furious. For instance, my youngest just tried out for club volleyball, yet she is still recovering from her concussion. Old Terri would have spent countless hours worrying about what will happen if she’s not 100%. What will she do if she can’t play volleyball? How will I run a volleyball center, if my own kid can’t even play? There is nothing that will tell me the answer to these questions. All I can do is follow the doctor’s recommendations, help her with her exercises, or supply pep talks when she asks.
All we can do is address issues as they arise—and have faith. Instead of pushing her to do her exercises and be vigilant about protecting herself, I say those two magic phrases for teens, “How can I help?” and “Honey, everything will be okay!” Sometimes, I feel like I’m saying that last one to myself, as well.
When life catapults you out of the apparent safety of Square 4 back into the uncertainty of Square 1, mostly what you need is faith. Practicing that faith when times are easy in Square 4 starts with a focus on all the things for which you are grateful. This is the way to true happiness: appreciate the small things that you do have, right here and now. For me, in this moment:
- I am grateful for my vision of helping girls and their moms see their own magnificence. I’m grateful for having the tools to help them band together to make Girl World a better place. I don’t have the exact map of how this will happen, but the vision is clear.
- I’m grateful for daily texts and or calls from my four girls, no matter how far away they are.
- I’m grateful for my husband, who believes in me, even when he doesn’t understand what the heck I’m talking about!
- I’m grateful for my Pride of friends who talk me off the ledge on a daily basis. When I’m filled with doubt, they’re filled with calm support or pithy comments that turn tears into laughter.
- I’m grateful for all the support that we have received in building our 850 Elite Volleyball Academy and Girl Power Station wellness center. People are coming out of the woodwork to help make this happen, because it’s so long overdue.
There’s so much more for which I’m grateful, but just writing down these five things has made my Promised Land feel like an oasis. What are you grateful for? Write it down, right now, and create the possibility of carrying your Promised Land with you, no matter what’s happening around you.
If you need a little help getting to Square 4, go here! If you want to learn about our 850 Elite Volleyball Academy and how we teach the importance of the credo, “Attitude Is Everything”, go here www.850elitevolleyball.org .
Until next time, please be kind to yourself!