Are you feeling stuck in a relationship? Are you experiencing denial in your marriage? Are you feeling frustrated at work or with friends? If you are, you are not alone. There are so many challenging decisions that need to be made now while emotions are running on overdrive. It is during this period of time that you want to set the intention of learning how to hit the pause button to provide you with the opportunity to reflect effectively. Individuals have the tendency to quickly identify a problem and then jump to conclusions in an effort to rectify the situation and to decrease the period of discomfort. Impulsivity during problematic periods can lead to irrational and frantic choices, forced and unfavorable solutions, and increased pain and discomfort. If you immediately react to an uncomfortable situation, feeling, or event in a state of resistance or misalignment, becoming unstuck is an uphill battle. It is extremely helpful when you have to make difficult decisions to use the framework entitled the 3 A’s of Change: Awareness, Acceptance, and Action. Implementing this three-step process when attempting to solve a problem will become a valuable resource for you. Taking time to move through each stage of the dilemma will enable options to become more visible and will facilitate life-long personal growth and self-development.
The initial stage of problem solving is to create a space for awareness. It is essential to take time during this period to give conscious attention to what is going on, how the issue arose, why the situation is triggering you, and how you feel about it. Awareness requires setting the intention to be open to understanding the truth about the problem. It allows you to stand back from the uncomfortable situation with some objectivity. This stage gives you visibility, vison, and a possibility for different choices. It requires asking questions of yourself like:
- What is it about this that I am not seeing yet?
- What is it about this that I am reading into?
- What consequences such as losses or restrictions am I feeling?
Intentionally slowing down long enough to get a grasp of the situation, feeling, or event prior to reacting creates opportunity for reflection, openness, and curiosity. It gives you the power to make a thorough investigation of the situation and its impact on you personally before reacting. There can be no change without awareness.
After an appropriate amount of awareness work, you are ready to move to the acceptance stage. It requires an open and honest examination of the issue despite any discomfort that may arise. Acceptance involves honoring and recognizing where you are and who you are in the moment without any resistance. Focusing on accomplishing acceptance means that you have an emotional willingness to work through the losses and restrictions stemming from the problem in order to develop clarity. This stage requires additional time for you to take control of your life and to own the choices that are available to you. Some questions you might ask yourself are:
- What feelings are being brought up because of this for me?
- What choices can I make which will bring me peace with this?
- What do I want to stand for with this?
Aligning your mind, body, and emotions will provide you an opportunity to move through the challenging situation in a positive way. Once the stages of awareness and acceptance have been worked through, you can effectively propel yourself forward into action because you will experience an increased feeling of emotional balance and peace of mind.
The action stage of the framework is where you effect change. It encourages a thoughtful and intentional response to the problem. Rather than a knee jerk reaction, you allow yourself time to assess your choices and to move forward with a solution that aligns best with your feelings, values, and needs. Questions you might ask yourself during this stage are:
- How do I feel about moving through this?
- What resources do I need to move through this?
- What is the best choice for me?
Moving into action uses up the energy that was stagnating and naturally makes you feel better. Creating a process to identify your choices and to act accordingly is extremely empowering.
Everyone has the ability to define for themselves the difference between what is acceptable and comfortable and what is not. Implementing the 3 A’s of Change: Awareness, Acceptance, and Action when times become challenging fosters understanding, reflection, question seeking, acknowledgement, and the ability to move into action in a productive and forward manner. The three-step framework brings your mind, body, and emotions together and guides you to experience a well thought out response to a given situation. By taking these steps, options become more visible and you foster a course of action and an attitude that effectuates change and personal growth.
How will you use the three stage framework to help you change and grow?