In step 3 of realigning to your true essence, release, you began the first stages of the remove & replace process, the last stage of realignment, by identifying your unsupportive emotional states and by asking how useful they are to you. Once you have determined their usefulness, or rather harmfulness, one of the ways we explored how to diffuse an unsupportive emotional state was in shifting your perspective to learn new ways of relating in your world.
The remove and replace stage goes a step further in that you now need to identify the situation, circumstance, environment or person that triggers your unsupportive emotional states and take intentional action to remove and replace it or them with something that is healthy and supportive of your growth and healing.
Let me be clear. I am in no way advocating that running away from your problems is the solution. Quite the contrary. You cannot eliminate a problem without confronting the problem first to understand where it came from and what its consequences are. Rather, what I’m advocating is that there may be a situation in your life that only exacerbates the problem and that stepping away from such situations can provide clarity and space for growth and healing.
When we are wounded, we develop strategies, behaviors, attitudes, beliefs and emotional states to help us make sense of or manage the pain and resulting effects. Despite our attempts to avoid or ignore facing our wounds head-on, life has a way of reminding us of our unresolved issues and so we tend to get into situations that trigger us into unconsciously re-enacting our wounding resulting in us relating in unhealthy ways.
In my case, my abandonment, trust, and sexual abuse issues caused me to stay in relationships longer than was healthy, to manipulate intimate partners in an attempt to control their love for me, or to sleep around.
Below are some examples of taking action to remove oneself from an unnecessary or unhealthy situation, circumstance, environment or person.
Declutter to gain clarity and organization
Leave a relationship to heal your inner relationship
Switch careers to pursue your passions
Quit smoking/Go to rehab to detox your body
Move to a new city to be in an environment you enjoy
Seek counseling to increase self-awareness and learn healthy coping strategies
I recognize that a complete cutting off is not possible in every scenario but some shift or change in how the situation is managed can have an equal beneficial impact.
It also goes without saying that attempting to remove oneself from an unhealthy situation or environment without seeking a deeper understanding of how you got there and why you remained there without the aid of counseling, therapy, transformational coaching or a support group may result in a relapse from the allure of the familiar and comfortable, albeit unhealthy.
What you’ll need:
Safe & quiet space
I Part one of the remove and replace process is to identify the situation, circumstance, environment or person that triggers your unhealthy and unsupportive strategy, behavior, attitude, belief or emotional state. For example, being in a relationship with an alcoholic, addict or abusive partner.
II Part two is identifying how you relate in that situation, i.e., how you behave, respond, believe or feel. For example, feeling trapped, unable to be yourself, feeling unloved, feeling manipulated, engaging in constant arguments.
III Part three is brainstorming actions you can take to change, shift or remove yourself from the situation. For example, couples counseling to learn how to communicate better, joining an Al-anon support group, leaving the relationship, getting counseling to learn how to erect and enforce boundaries.
IV Part four is brainstorming things, activities to replace the situation or to support you as you engage in methods of shifting or changing the dynamic of the situation. For example, taking up a hobby, joining a meetup group, joining a support group, creating a self-care routine.
V Part five is choosing one thing and taking action. Decide on the smallest action you can take either from step 3 or 4 and do it.
VI Part six is reviewing your results. Once you've taken action, notice what changes occur as a result. Reflect on whether these results are helping or harming you further. Perhaps you need to harden your resolve and stick with what you've chosen because it will take a little time to doing things differently than you've done in the past or perhaps you want to try a different action.
VII Part seven is repeat. Whenever you identify you're participating in an unhelpful situation, repeat these steps to find a way to remove and replace in order to create a different and move supportive experience for yourself.
The last 2 parts of the remove and replace process can be repeated as many times as required to resolve the situation and feel at peace.