When we experience chaos, trauma, drama, or adversity in childhood repeatedly, it becomes a part of our norm. Our norm provides a sense of safety and security. Anything outside of that whether healthy or unhealthy, good or bad, seems out of the norm. We even have statements that normalize and reinforce certain experiences to keep us from rocking the boat, creating necessary change, or as John Lewis (great civil rights activist) said “good trouble."
As an athlete, you may be used to a challenge. It’s a norm of sports. When we couple the norm of sports with the norms of our household/family/culture, we can become so used to tolerating and surviving certain people, behaviors, patterns, habits, interactions, cycles, and experiences. We can become used to trauma.
A way we heal is to reframe or perspective shift. Another way is to distinguish what we need to keep and what we need to throw away as we access new levels of growth. Chaos can be reframed and redefined as a challenge or opportunity in order to shift to healthy chaos. As we make that shift in perspective, we can begin and maintain the process of throwing away unhealthy chaos and keeping the challenge, the fun, the opportunity and the benefits of healthy chaos.
Charted below are examples of healthy vs. unhealthy chaos. If we’re already use to chaos, we might as well make the best of it; we might as well put it to good use. Healthy chaos empowers us to grow and evolve, while unhealthy chaos keeps us stuck.
How do you engage in healthy chaos?