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 Manna Minute 
Monday, December 30 2013

Most people use the end of the year to reflect on what they have accomplished during the year, how they have changed, and what they would like to do for the upcoming year.  As you look forward into 2014, what do you see? What things in your life would you like to be different this time next year?  What do you resolve to change?  

As a psychologist, I work in a daily constant - change.  People come to me and want change, but then don't want it.  I then say..."Why?"  What's your motive for change?

Most people don't know why they want to change, but they do.  It may come as a surprise, but most people want to change because they are in pain.  Pain?  Yes - you know when your body is hurting, you want it to stop, so you go see a doctor.  You get a shot, a pill, or an adjustment, and viola!  Pain's gone.  So, when you have that sort of pain again, you go back to the person who helped make it stop...

Same thing for you emotionally, relationally, and behaviorally.  If whatever you do makes you feel better, then you repeat the behavior.  If it makes things worse, you don't. 

So, if you are doing something that makes your life not so great, why would you keep doing it?  Why wouldn't you want to change it?  

Therefore, most want change to avoid pain.  It can be a difficult process, and sometimes the change for the better is painful in itself (see: my new workout trainer!).  However, isn't the pain from harmful behaviors that destroy relationships worse than the pain of making things better for yourself and those whom you love?

"Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.  Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”  John 5:2-6

Isn't that a question?!?  "Do you want to get well?"

Do you really want to change and be free from pain?

I'd suggest you see someone about that.  

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”  Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”  At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. John 5:7-9

Posted by: Genie Burnett, PsyD AT 09:21 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, December 19 2013
Hidden Leaders?

Leadership has many faces and forms.  One can think about all of the leaders that he or she has encountered: strong, silent, aggressive, dominant, wishy-washy, agreeable, get the picture.  However, I believe that there are many different hidden leaders in our midst…those with issues of acting out behaviors, particularly those with eating disorders.

Eating disorders…you say?  Yes.  They have the courage to do something different when their world may not be so healthy.   But aren’t they really sick?  Yes, they are.  They are typically in situations, or have been in situations, that have been difficult to tolerate, and are struggling with how to process and “deal” with them effectively.  Oftentimes, they don’t know what to say, or have the ability to communicate what they need, or aren’t being heard by others.  Instead, they act out their internal struggles in unhealthy ways, and force those around them to eventually “hear” what they have been trying to say. 

Many people with eating disorders have some form of leadership development in their families of origin.  They are not necessarily the oldest, but they are usually the child that is the most focused on at some point in their youth.  They learn that they have some form of power (although they feel incredibly powerless) and control by shifting their food intake, whether by restricting, bingeing, or purging, or a combination thereof.  They use their behavior to “voice” their feelings so that others see their pain.

What I have come to understand about those with eating disorders is that they have many skills and talents that are amazing.  They are smart.  They are funny (most extremely sarcastic and clever).  They are forces often not to be reckoned with.  They have learned that in order to be heard, they must DO.  Isn’t this what leadership is about? Putting thoughts, emotion, and passion into action?  And, when they are allowed the chance to do what is deep inside of them, they are no less than amazing

I have been blessed to watch so many young ladies and men who have struggled with eating disorders in their early years to grow up and become amazing women and men, amazing teachers, and amazing leaders.  They learn that they are strong, they are creative, they are on fire for what they believe is right.  There is something about the process of recovery that empowers them to say what they think, do what they believe in, and have such amazing courage to take charge of not only their lives, but impact others in the most inspiring ways. 

Those with eating disorders are leaders.  Just watch them go.

Posted by: Genie Burnett, PsyD AT 12:54 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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