Welcome back! This is part two of the post where I introduced Towanda. If you missed that, you can check it out by following this link. If you had made the decision to read on, lets give it a name.
First, you need to be WILLING to acknowledge that you have some character defects or areas that need work in your life. Remember, if you’re perfect you were supposed to stop reading – so the fact that you’re still reading this suggests that you’ve already accepted that you need some work and you’re willing. YIPEE!
Second, go ahead, name it! Be creative and have FUN with this! A couple of my friends liked the sound of Towanda, but they changed the first letter to correspond with their first name. If you’d like to do that, you could too! Here are a couple of examples: Lowanda, Kowanda, Awanda, Jowanda, Dowanda. It doesn’t matter what you name it, JUST give it a name so you can CALL IT OUT!
Third and Last, now you’ve got the name. Grab a piece of paper and a pen. Write the name that you came up with for your character defects at the top of the piece of paper and then below the name jot down character traits you’d like to attach to that name. If you’re experiencing writers block, feel free to look at Towanda’s list if it helps, she’s definitely got a lot of defects to choose from….UGH!
Now that you’ve identified your NEW unwanted friend, what do you do when she/he is triggered and all her/his character defects start to move through you. Keep in mind that the character defects are often individual – they do NOT always come out at one time. So be watchful, your ‘towanda’ may be sneaky and could creep in very quietly.
Before I share with you the steps to take to deal with your ‘towanda’ there are two things you need to do.
1. You need to PREPARE. What this means is create an accountability group. It doesn’t have to be huge – believe me, who wants to share this information with EVERYONE (except for me?!?!?). However, you need to let a couple of people know what you’re doing, people who you can trust and who will be honest with you. Know this, you need to be willing to receive truth from the people in this group, even when its painfully ULGY! This is VERY important, so don’t overlook it. Who will you share your unwanted friend character traits with?
2. Keep watch DAILY-EYES WIDE OPEN. At first it might seem to be a lot of work and you might miss your ‘towanda’, but over time it becomes easier to identify. Let me give you some examples of what you might be looking for:
- You feel a storm raging within you, your blood starts to boil, or your stomach is in knots.
- You get upset about a situation or with a person
- Things just aren’t going your way, the way you planned or expected, you may feel frustrated and irritable
- You’re having a bad day, you feel angry, you’re upset.
- You have the urge to talk negative about another person with a friend or co-worker – you are gossiping
- You’re feeling depressed and want to have a pity-party, be the victim
- You are impatient with others and nobody seems to do anything right.
- You are feeling disappointed. Others/situations are not meeting your expectations – you feel let down
If you start to feel any of these things?? FLASHING LIGHT – Lightening BOLTS – DING DING DING – your ‘towanda’ has been triggered AND is awake!! What do you do NOW? Immediately!! Let me suggest the following 4 steps that have worked for me………
1. ACKNOWLEDGE that you’re feeling your ‘towanda’. It’s OK! We are NOT perfect, we are a work in progress, we are human and unfortunately your ‘towanda’ will stay alive as long as you do. Your goal is to identify it and by acknowledging it, you’ve accomplished step one.
2. CALL IT OUT. I know this sounds silly, but actually say out loud what you’re feeling and speak against it. Let me give you an example of a situation:
You wake up with anxiety in your stomach, your mind starts to race about everything that needs to get done. You don’t know what the outcome will be in a certain situation so you are playing out every possible scenario in your mind, you are stressed out and worried that things may NOT work out how YOU think they should.
You acknowledge THIS is your ‘towanda’ – NOW you need to call it out, speak to it, say something out loud like this, “I am trying to manipulate and control this situation. I have the ability to control myself and no one else, I will simply do my best, the outcome I have NO control over.”
What you’re doing in this step is calling out the character traits of your towanda and speaking truth against the situation. To put it simple, identify the negative – then turn it around and hit it with positive!
3. PRAY. Go to God first. Share with Him your struggle, your situation, your feelings. Ask Him to reveal to you His will for your life and ask Him for the strength to operate according to what He wants for you. Humbly share with Him the areas where you may be wrong in your attitude, motives, and actions. Thank Him for His unconditional love and share with him the many things you’re grateful for. Lastly, be patient……..wait on Him. Continue to ask for His guidance and praise Him while you’re waiting. REMEMBER: He has PERFECT timing.
4. Tap into your ACCOUNTABILITY. IF you’ve worked the first 3 steps and are STILL feeling the ickiness of your towanda – call upon one of your accountability partners. Share your struggle and ask for insight. Be open to hearing something that you may have overlooked. When we are in the midst of a struggle, when we are angry, upset, or hurting we can easily overlook the characteristics of our ‘towanda’ – outsiders looking in, who are honest, can help uncover things we are not capable of seeing on our own.
That’s it! These steps ARE working for ME and I am grateful. Don’t get me wrong, Towanda STILL comes out (my husband and kids will confirm this) and I STILL have issues, BUT now I face them HEAD ON by following these steps.
What I’ve realized, since I’ve been doing this for several months, is that I often don’t get to step 4. I feel 100% better at step 3. AND, IF these step are “out of order” my issues can be blown out of proportion, I can add fuel to the fire by telling others my ‘dreadful’ story and be deceived about the reality. The REALITY?? I need to take an honest look in the mirror FIRST.