Choosing Change #3: So what’s my reasonable contribution to your change process? (Part 2 of 2)

Thanks for reading the Introductory post about Choosing Change, Choosing Change #1 and Choosing Change #2.

In the previous post, Choosing Change #2: So what’s my reasonable contribution to your change process? (Part 1 of 2), I asked you to consider the question above and introduced a concept called the “66%-33% Solution.”

With the 66% part of the solution, we explored how your work with your Higher Power could profoundly impact your ability to experience change as you engaged in therapeutic behaviors and therapeutic processes to ignite and enhance your own self-growth and subsequently move you away “from The Path of Unhealed Wounding.”

When on that path (and without engaging in the 66% part of the solution, that is, working with your God to identify and implement functional behaviors to permeate your being) we stymie our change process and are likely to think and do things from desperation or deviousness that harms ourselves and/or others. Thankfully, by employing inspired and empowered therapeutic behaviors, we read about how we could achieve a much different, positive and productive outcome for our own self-efficacy.

But obviously, theres a whole 33% missing in the equation. In this post, I’d like to pick up where we left off and elaborate about whats a “reasonable response and responsibility” that your “neighbor” could contribute to your change, healing and growth process. Lets take a look at that now but before I do that, I’d like to remind you of the definition of the 66% Part of the Solution, which is:

The 66% part of the solution refers to our personal responsibility to identify and develop therapeutic characteristics, values, behaviors and actions, in concert with our God, that provides psychological sustenance, change, healing and growth to ourselves.

When engaged in this part of the solution, this helps us to move from “The Path of Unhealed Wounding,” where unfortunately, some of us acted like “Unhealed Wounders” toward ourselves or with others. So let’s take a look at the definition of the 33% part of the solution.

The 33% Part or “The Path toward Wounded Healing”

The 33% part of the solution are the therapeutic characteristics, values and behaviors in action that I deliver toward others who are proximically near (“my neighbors”), that communicates to them that I’m committed to “respond with reasonable behavior” that provides for their psychological sustenance, change healing and growth, without abandoning my ability to care for and be therapeutic to myself

So what does the 33% part of the solution look like in action? A great introduction of it is conveyed in the continuation of the story connected to the Two Greatest Commandments, which is called “The Parable of the Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:25-37, TNIV). I’ve included the parable below:

“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus.“Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.

35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

This is such a beautiful story because when you consider the 66% part of the solution, the Good Samaritan connected with his Higher Power, who informed, led, guided and empowered him to identify then respond reasonably and responsibly with behavior in accordance with the values and beliefs that made sense to him that he had chosen to live by.

Because of the integration of his values, as determined by a conscious contact with his God, he launched into action and demonstrated behavior that was appropriate for the situation at hand. This behavior is informed, reasonable and is just what the situation deserves in order to demonstrate the 66% and the 33% part of the solution.

So in total, when faced with a catastrophic situation where someone needed help and assistance, where their life lay hinged in the balance, the 66% “way of life” led the Good Samaritan to identify then implement a “reasonable response” that profoundly contributed to the well-being of the person victimized.

Sixty-six percent plus Thirty-three percent equals in total the healthy response that was needed, evidenced by a man who chose to live a healthy life marked by healthy behaviors that made sense and are appropriate to the situation. It reflects a response wherein nothing is left out (100% is “perfection” and none of us, no matter how hard we try should attempt to deliver that; thats abandoning ourselves and reality!).

To further elaborate of the Good Samaritan’s response, allow me to share with you an excerpt from my book Cultivating Love: When Secrets Surface, where contextually we’re looking at the therapeutic behavior, contribution or reasonable response that any “Samaritan” could contribute to his or her spouse as a response to the behavior of unfaithfulness:

“No one needed to tell the Good Samaritan what to do when he observed someone who was hurt. He saw a hurt man, he felt pity, he approached the person in pain, and he creatively used his resources in the crisis moment to alleviate pain. He used his strength to get the man to a safe place and most importantly, he took care of him.

He gave freely and generously for the care of the wounded person and he promised to render additional assistance at a later time to ensure the patient’s progress was effective and complete. Because of the spiritual values that he had chosen to live by, he understood the situation, what was needed in the situation, and he acted, and acted, and acted, until the need was met.

The Good Samaritan discerned the need, put the “pieces of the puzzle together” in his mind (which demonstrates sizing up and understanding the situation accurately) then acted accordingly with his strength as his mind and his heart told him this was the right thing to do.

The Good Samaritan also understood the “step-by-step” process of what it takes to facilitate healing, from start to finish, and he did this not out of compulsion, coercion nor manipulation but from a place of mercy, love and compassion for someone who needed the concrete expression of the values that he had chosen to live by.

In the conclusion of this example or Parable, Jesus affirmed that the behavior of the Good Samaritan is the accurate expression of how we are to love our neighbor (who is always the person in closest proximity to us).

On a side note, did you ever think that the Good Samaritan loved the wounded man in this way because this type of assistance was rendered to him as well, maybe in a moment in his life when he was wounded and in need of assistance?

– Or –

…Perhaps he was once an “Unhealed Wounder,” and because of the values he had discovered from his Higher Power, he began to travel through life living a life of amends (Steps 8: “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all” and Step 9: “Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others).

Perhaps he became honest about the way he was living life as an Unhealed Wounder (Step 1), connected with his God who helped him become a Wounded Healer (Steps 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10), which prompted him to live a resolved life regarding how to respond to people in pain (Step 11 and Step 12). 

Perhaps this is the origin of what it means to be a “Wounded Healer.” He loved his neighbor as himself, or, he loved this way because he had been loved and treated in this way (Step 12: “Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message forward to practice these principles in all our affairs”).

Even if this didn’t occur, the Good Samaritan did the right thing because the situation deserved an empathetic and a reasonable response, because he understood the situation at hand.

This is what it is going to take. If you want to become a Wounded Healer (versus an “Unhealed Wounder”) you’ll take seriously the opportunities you have to become skilled at delivering and living by values that are marked by “The Path toward Wounded Healing,” where Love, Understanding, Compassion and Self-Control to name a few characteristics are seen and delivered frequently” p. 309.

By the way, the word that Jesus used in verse 28 for “live” (Zao – “Do this and you will live“) when translated does mean “to live as if you’re recovering from an illness,” which is the behavior the Good Samaritan demonstrated in light of the values he lived by.

So the Good Samaritan implemented solutions that helped the person in need. So once again, I have a few questions for you to consider: If the situation arises in your life or relationship where therapeutic responses are needed, how will you respond? What’s the “reasonable response” that you’ll provide, because the situation deserves it? Have you assessed what therapeutic behaviors are appropriate that will facilitate a therapeutic outcome, perhaps with the ones you love? What are the specific, measurable, concrete and fruitful behaviors that are needed to provide psychological sustenance to the other person? Their life, and possibly the life of a friendship or marriage may depend upon your accurate assessment and delivery of those necessary values!

But you know what, here’s the second, if not most important part of the 33% solution: the Good Samaritan’s actions ensured there would be “a healthy balance” with the behavior demonstrated in the 66%-33% solution. We see this in the four simple yet easily overlooked words in verse 35: “…and when I return…” Why are these words so profound and how do they constitute a reasonable response and reasonable contribution toward the change of another? As we close this post, let me explain.

Remember, what makes the 33% part of this solution work is that we’re committed to “respond with reasonable behavior” that provides for their psychological sustenance, change, healing and growth, without abandoning our own ability to care for and be therapeutic to ourselves

What’s valuable here is that the Good Samaritan (who could be you and me), provided a therapeutic response which didn’t cause him to overlook, be distracted from, nor abandon his own personal goals that were important to him. Simply put, he came to the assistance of another, without losing the ability to come to his own assistance. He balanced rendering (versus refusing) appropriate care to others, while also applying the same standard of delivering healthy care to himself. You may ask “how is McGill reaching these conclusions?” Glad you asked!

Even though the Good Samaritan was initially attending to his personal responsibilities, he paused and implemented measured but appropriate behaviors that rendered therapeutic care, attention, help and service which resulted in demonstrating healing behaviors at the right time, in the right measure in order to achieve the right outcome. Just as quickly as he made his contribution he returned to other matters that required his attention. He was capable of being responsible with his neighbor, but he was also capable and responsible toward the agenda he was initially focused on.

Too often, when people “get on or volunteer for a trip around” the Karpman Triangle, they’re unable or they refuse to tap into the strength, guidance or counsel from their Higher Power, their program or some other therapeutic people or processes that are available to them to be able to pull off a Good Samaritan response.

They seem to experience difficulty coming to the assistance of others because they’re not coming to their own assistance effectively. Unfortunately, the Victim stances, Rescuing behaviors and Persecutory responses fueled by resentment or entitlement cloud their vision and subsequently their ability to provide reasonable responses toward others when “their neighbor” most needs a reasonable infusion of care from them. There is another way and we’ll look at that in amount.

karpman-triangle-mcgill

The Good Samaritan’s expression of love to his neighbor wasn’t over the top, nor was it identified by overextension, overwhelm, guilt trips, shame attacks, nor the inundation of unreasonable requests. The Good Samaritan acted out of his strength and value system, and was empowered to help others while equally helping himself. His actions were “Equality – Empowerment” Triangle responses, which reflected a desire to use his energy to implement healthy “Functional Adult ” and solution oriented responses that originated and flowed from his 66%-33% solution focus.

equality-empowerment-triangle-dr-ken-mcgill

We’ll talk more about the utility of the Equality-Empowerment Triangle (McGill, 2014) and how it could positively impact your choices, your life and your relationships in future posts. What’s valuable about it now is that it empowers us to think about different options and alternatives that we could implement to the problems at hand, then purpose to be responsible regarding fulfilling those options, while using our power wisely and effectively to negotiate healthy outcomes based on values that make sense to us.

Speaking of negotiation, don’t get me wrong; I’m all for the negotiation of need fulfillment where you and your neighbor communicate and collaborate about the needs that you wish to develop that will facilitate healing, but the principles of the Equality – Empowerment Triangle suggest that you’ll both need to take equal responsibility for the development of behaviors that are mutually beneficial and healthy. Expecting your partner to contribute more than his or her fair share toward your change, healing and growth than you’re willing to contribute toward your own change, healing and growth is a set up for the Karpman Triangle dynamics where very predictable Victim, Rescuer and Persecutor outcomes that are neither therapeutic nor functional will be experienced.

So to that point, the Good Samaritan bandaged the wounded person up, but he didn’t abandon his own goals by building a hospital for him. The Good Samaritan paid for lodging for the person, but he didn’t overextend himself by building an Inn for him. The Good Samaritan paid for food for the person in need, but he didn’t build a restaurant nor a chain of eateries for him. The Good Samaritan acted with balance, perspective and provided just what the person needed, no more, no less. He operated out of balance, from his abundance, didn’t try to do too much, and most importantly, didn’t get caught in the losing game of “should’s, must’s and ought’s,” which tend to fuel Karpman Triangle-like behaviors versus the solution-oriented behaviors which are located on the Equality – Empowerment Triangle.

What makes this story work is the full circle that we have now traveled. The victim, who experienced true pain and suffering to their person while traveling on the path of unhealed wounding, needed to engage in a form of self-care in order to heal.

The Samaritan got him to the Inn, but the wounded person, if they wanted to heal, had to eat, rest, engage in physical, psychological or some form of therapy or therapeutic behavior in order to create and experience therapeutic outcomes in his life. He had to do his part and cultivate his part of the 66% solution for his own self-care, which would eventually inform, empower and help him to determine what fair and equal actions (33%) he would “pay forward” to the neighbors in his life, again, without neglecting his own self-care. Have you thought about what you need to do in order to regain your strength, so that when strengthened, you could be the Good Samaritan to others?

So we close with more questions: If you happen to need therapeutic outcomes in your life, whats your responsibility to your own change, healing and growth? What will you do if there isn’t a Good Samaritan in your life? What will your self care look like? Are you making unreasonable requests from the “Samaritan” in your life to do more for you than you’re doing for yourself? If so, what do you need to change or augment in order to be responsible for your own need fulfillment?

If you’re a partner who wishes to provide healing to your spouse, what are the consistent, committed and appropriate behaviors that you’re contributing so that the wounded person you’re caring for will experience healing? If you’re overextending yourself, where do you need to wisely pull back, so that you could reengage consistently with purpose and resolve? 

I’m going to leave a picture with you. Literally. Its an entry and a picture from a previous post (#51), but it describes how you and your God, or you and another person could create something beautiful out of “nothing.” It’s literally the word picture for our English word “Wisdom”:

Dr. Zodhiates defines Wisdom (Sophia) as “Skills in the affair of Life, practical wisdom and wise management as shown in forming the best plans and selecting the best means, including the idea of sound judgment and good sense.”

From this, I’ve shortened and shared my definition of Wisdom, which means “to become skilled in living.” As the word also implies, Wisdom describes a person as becoming an “expert in any art, craft or trade.”

This has led me to further conceptualize and describe Wisdom as any person standing before a blank canvas, who creates (with God’s leadership, help and guidance) a beautiful picture that depicts their life one “behavioral brushstroke” (one decision, one conversation, one Good Samaritan response, one day, etc.) at a time.

Think about it, with each breath we take, God grants us the ability to create something out of nothing, or to create something beyond our past trauma, pain, loneliness, brokenness or hopelessness, simply because we have breath in our bodies. This may mean that we need to access the appropriate people or processes who, when added to consult about the canvas in our lives, gives us hope, meaning, purpose, inspiration, guidance and resilience among other benefits.

I’ve come to realize that learning to apply the appropriate “brushstroke” at the right time to achieve the right outcome in my life will reflect whether or not I’ll demonstrate wisdom or if I’m becoming skilled in living.”

So I have a question (or two) for you. Where in your life might you need to grow in wisdom? What person, process or behaviors might need to be added to consult or provide counsel about the “canvas of your life” where their involvement with you will not only reflect a wise outcome, but also reveal to yourself and to others that you’re becoming the 66%-33% Solution focused person that God wants you to become?

Is Patience, Gentleness or Self-Control (or another characteristic, value or intimacy need) in the “next brushstroke” that you’d like to apply to your life canvas? You and your partner (hopefully in concert and informed by your Higher Power) get to choose what behaviors you’ll create or apply to the canvas of your lives, one behavioral brushstroke at a time, which hopefully and eventually will reflect a picture full of vision, hope, restoration, growth, change and of course, Wounded Healing.

IMG_5786

In our next couple of posts, we’ll talk about how to practically grow these helpful and necessary characteristics in the garden of our lives, in order to experience change, healing and growth.

Thanks so much for reading these posts. Future posts on Change will be labeled Choosing Change #4,” “Choosing Change #5,” “Choosing Change #6” and so on.

Also, as time permits, please visit the other blogs written by Dr Ken McGill: Daily Bread for Life and “3 – 2 – 5 – 4 – 24″ for additional information that could be helpful. I welcome your comments below or via email and your favorites, your retweets and your “+1’s” if you have a brief moment and find the information helpful. Again, it is my desire to provide the very best info for your consideration.

Dr. Ken McGill


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