We often hear about people making resolutions on New Year’s Eve. So you’re probably wondering why I’m thinking about it in October. My balance and other motors skill are affected by my cerebral palsy. A few years ago a friend suggested I make an appointment with her acupuncturist. I was thrilled how much my improved after my first treatment and decided to see her on a consistent basis.
Although Anna immigrated from the Ukraine thirty years ago, she still speaks English with a heavy accent. At a recent appointment she surprised me when she said, “I think I’m going to take some speech classes, so I can learn to speak better English.” Curious about her decision to try to improve her communication skills, I asked her why. “Maybe I could get more clients and friends if I was easier to understand.”
But with her next breath she started to talk herself out of her new goal. After telling me she didn’t have time to take classes she finally admitted she didn’t like school when she was a kid. She said “I can get better by myself.”
“If that were true” I argued, “you would have done it already. We don’t hear ourselves the way others do. For instance, my speech is affected by my cerebral palsy. Unless I hear a recording of myself talking, I forget how I sound to other people. I hear myself the way I hear others.
She was surprised when I asked her, “ Do you hear yourself roll your R’s?
Puzzled, she asked, “So what do.” “I think either taking a class or having A mentor would be helpful. They can point out speech patterns you need to change and give you moral support when you get discouraged.
Instead of increasing the number of people she can talk to by learning to speak clearer,she told me she really didn’t need to talk to strangers. She communicated just fine with her clients. I didn’t tell her but I cringed when I thought about how restrictive that would be.
As my treatment continued, she explained the pain I have in my arm when I straighten it. Last year, when I started to have trouble with it, I stopped doing things that involved stretching. For example; brushing the back of my hair and putting on my tee shirts . Unfortunately, my decisions about how to avoid pain caused my muscles to get shorter.
There aren’t any painless answers. If I want to regain some mobility and keep my independence I need to follow her instructions.
Personal growth takes a lot of work and dedication. In order to achieve your goal it’s helpful to:
- 1. Know your reason for working for it,
- 2. What happens if you don’t try to improve your situation?
- 3. Who are to be your cheerleaders?
Please share your why and what keeps you going during the long haul.