I’m not artistic or handy, so I’m always amazed at people who can refurbish old furniture. Maybe you know someone who has that skill. They might start with an old table that they found in a pile of garbage on the side of the road. At the beginning, the table looks a piece of trash.
But then they get to work. They might start by sanding off all the chipped paint. Then they repair one of the legs of the table that is broken. Then they repaint the table, maybe a bright yellow color. Maybe they add some flair or a new feature to the table. By the time they are done, the table looks awesome. If you didn’t see the whole process, you wouldn’t believe where the new table came from.
Sometimes when people are struggling with an area of their lives, it can help to take something else in their lives that they already have, and repurpose it into something else that helps with their problem. Like the old table, you’re starting with something you already have, but then you go through a process to repurpose it for something else.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. Lots of people struggle with self-compassion. Maybe you are harsh with yourself when you make a mistake or don’t live up to the standards you have set for yourself. Perhaps you tell yourself all sorts of terrible things that you would never tell a friend.
Telling yourself to just ‘be nicer’ to yourself doesn’t really work, because it’s a completely new thing. You might not know where to start. Instead, what if you repurposed something that you already have—your compassion for others? Think about how you would engage with a close friend when they make a mistake, or struggle to live up to the standards they set for themselves. What would you say to them? What do they need? How would you support them? What kinds of things would you think, do, or say?
Then take that compassion that you would have for a close friend, and repurpose it into compassion toward yourself.
Or perhaps you are struggling with discipline in an area of your life. Try as you might, you just can’t seem to have consistency in your eating habits, your exercise, or your work. Instead of just trying to ‘be better,’ might there be a way to repurpose something you already have? Is there anything in your life that you are disciplined and consistent about? Maybe you make it a priority to have a family dinner with your spouse and children at night, or perhaps you never miss a certain TV show each week. What steps do you take to be disciplined in this area of your life? How do you make sure it is a priority? What steps do you take to achieve consistency?
Then take that discipline that you already have in one area of your life, and repurpose it into discipline in the area of your struggle.
Discussion: What is one area of your life that you are struggling with and would like to change? Is there a way to repurpose something that you already have, and apply it to the new area?