One thing I’ve come to appreciate is the power of outside people and energy who keep me going and growing. Whether you’re in recovery or simply trying to keep from going backwards in life, outsiders are essential for growth.
The second law of thermodynamics says:
“Everything in the universe is running down,
running out of energy, and becoming
less organized and more disordered.”
This is only true however, in a closed system (according to Henry Cloud in his new book Boundaries for Leaders). This law is true IF things are left unto themselves and shut off from outside intervention.
In a closed system – you are on your own, isolated from others, and shut off from any form of outside input and support. The result? You become run down, run out of energy and become totally disordered in your life.
THE GOOD NEWS! If you adopt an “open system” approach to life allowing outside energy, outside templates and wisdom to speak into your life, you stem the tide created by this second law of thermodynamics.
To grow, change and thrive during times of deterioration, adversity and stress you must stay open to outside help and input. Only then will you have the capacity to endure adversity and thrive in the midst of chaos and stormy conditions.
My list of outside resources, people and support is long. There are so many who have helped me stem the tide of this second law and kept me growing during this extended time of repair and recovery. Left to my own devices, I can’t imagine where I’d be today.
Here is a partial list of the energy sources, templates and outside support people who have had input into my life over the past two years:
- Doctors and nurses
- Home care workers
- Occupational Therapists
- Insurance specialists
- Spiritual mentors
- Enduring individuals
- [who else would you add?]
I left off family and friends on purpose not because they are not a critical part of the support system but because they are more a part of the closed system. During stormy times, you need more support than just what your family and friends can provide. You need that extra “push” and “expertise” those outside your system can provide.
Even though Henry Cloud is talking to leaders, the principles he speaks about are true for all of life and relate to anyone who finds themselves stuck and in need of help to get through whatever you’re going through. Listen to what he says,
“So think about this question: How much do you open up to outside sources of information, feedback, support, energy, expertise, etc? Your answer might reveal why you feel stuck and why the laws of physics have been working against you. The closed system you’ve created is winding down and getting messier. So what can you do?…plug in to sources outside of yourself…”
“The physics are clear: close down, and get worse. Or, open up and get better.”
Close down, hold everything in, don’t ask for help, try to make it on your own, keep the pain inside, don’t share your story, hold on to your hurt, believe no one understands or cares, and things will get worse.
Open up, ask for help, let survivors tell you their story, let go of your bitterness, offer forgiveness, seek counsel from others, admit you can’t do it on your own, get honest with how you feel, commit to doing things differently, and get better.
Which do you choose?
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