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Understanding the 180

The 180 is often open to mis-interpretation. It is pretty easy to get lost in the details and lose sight of the underlying concept.

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Fundamentally, it is all about personal empowerment and rebuilding your self esteem. It is not about manipulating your spouse and when this is not understood it interferes with the results. The goal of the 180 is to become the type of person that you want to be. Here's what I understand to be the fundamental basis for it:

1) Master your thoughts.

Ultimately, you determine what thoughts you give attention to and those thoughts will set into motion the dynamics that will affect you. If you tend to focus on the negative you increase the probability that you will become your own worst enemy. It is important to realise how your thoughts create your expectations of the future. By increasing your positive focus you will increase the chances of bringing in positive energy to your life. This does not mean that you're being unrealistic or naive. It simply means that you are choosing to focus your thoughts and energy on success instead of failure and on the good parts of your life instead of the bad. You want to cultivate the thoughts that you want to have through positive affirmation.

2) Adjust your attitude.

Our attitudes determine our thoughts which translate into intentions which leads to actions. We can be very realistic about the challenges we face, but still form the inner resolve to focus on our belief that we can overcome obstacles and bounce back from adversity. To do so takes belief and patience with ourselves, sustained motivation and energy, accepting our personal responsibility, and willingness to perservere. If your attitude is peaceful and positive then you are in the best position to have the focus and energy available to find solutions. Grace under pressure displays your courage and fortitude even when you are fearful and anxious.

3) Practice acceptance.

Acceptance is something to do for yourself when you are ready to let go of the anger. When we can't accept the situation, we have less energy to spend on the present because we are holding on to bitterness about the past. Acceptance does not mean condoning what has been done or passively enduring mistreatment. It means that you are ready to move forward unencumbered by bitterness or anger.

4) Look for the lesson.

Experiences can lead us to new growth, understanding, and maturity. It is important for us to examine and redefine these experiences to be able to discover and access our hidden strengths and resources that we didn't know we have and learn about ourselves.

5) Continue to nurture yourself.

Make a commitment to continue to nurture yourself so that your energy and vitality will remain high. You are not being selfish to honour your needs, but are providing new growth and fresh perspective.

6) Examine your character.

As humans we all have strengths and weaknesses. It is important to be able to do an honest self appraisal so that we can be real about ourselves. We are all responsible for our character, qualities, and actions and for the effects that they have. As conscious beings, we are also able to acquire those qualities that we desire and it is up to us to use them beneficiently.

So there you have it. My personal understanding of the conceptual basis of the 180. The above represents a strategy to take with our lives, and the 180 list provides us with the tactics. Keep the strategy and end goal in mind at all times and alter the tactics as necessary.


Self Care Tips:

  1. Whatever you focus your mind on becomes real, eventually taking over your awareness. Therefore we make efforts to "change our mind": from pain over to relaxation; from guilt and blame to self-acceptance and gentleness; from fear of the future to being in the present. Accept yourself treasure your idiosyncrasies and foibles. Remind yourself of your strengths, gifts and your proven loyalty to yourself over the years, on a daily basis.
  2. Simplify: during more stressful and low energy times, keep life simple, attending to say 5 or so activities per day.
  3. Keep occupied as much as possible make a schedule with exercise in it, stay in contact with friends, make new acquaintances / friends, list things you can do. Know that to begin anything is often better than to think. So keep busy while waiting for something to happen.
  4. Now is the only time there is. Don't spend too much time dwelling on the negatives of the past or the perceived problems in the future. Likely these perceptions re past and future are false or distorted. Come back to the present constantly.
  5. Keep one focus, not 4 or 5. Do one activity at a time, and engage in it, enjoy it rather than becoming anxious re everything you have to do. (Keep lists so you can let go of outstanding things).
  6. Make sure of good sleep habits, diet, and exercise.
  7. Forgive yourself daily and relax. If unfinished activities pile up, it is not that you are slow, lazy or stupid. You are likely expecting too much at that particular moment. Stick to 2 or 3 priorities shelve the rest.
  8. Make use of thought-stopping. Order negative thoughts to go away or put them aside.
  9. Stop once per day and ask yourself "What do I need right now. What can I do for myself today to help me."
  10. Don't be a victim. Do things for yourself to feel effective and in control. Don't give in to self-pity.
  11. Remember what has worked for you in the past. Likely beneath all the doubts, fears, recriminations, and self-criticism that are swirling around your head, you hear a few faint and muffled words of your own good advice telling you what is good for you. This counsel may be barely audible, but listen carefully to it. You already have everything you need to be happy, including the wisdom you have developed over your life so far.

How the 180 applies to your WS:

The 180 isn't supposed to be a manipulation tactic magically designed to win your WS back - and when it's used that way it doesn't work. It's designed to help you become strong enough to detach and begin building a life without them. If you truly let go of your WS and move on - then (and probably only then) they might actually appreciate what they've lost. If you make empty threats, set boundaries you have no intention of defending, and only "pretend" to move on - your WS will continue to assume you aren't going anywhere. And they'll be right.

Your WS is probably accustomed to them being your main focus. By changing how you usually behave or respond you will change the outcome as they have nothing to draw upon to sustain control over the situation they're creating. When you don't behave in the way they expect, you don't feed their vision of what should be happening. Eventually, they'll have no choice but to see that things aren't the way they thought. Once it's clear that their established and trusted patterns won't work they'll have to decide on a better way of dealing with the reality they are creating. It helps knock them into the real world and offers them them opportunity to clarify what they really want to do. It may not necessarily mean that they will commit to the marriage, but it still helps you regain confidence in yourself and the personal empowerment that you need to make it through whatever your future holds. The 180 is about regaining your control through the chaos, pain, and drama. This isn't a game, this is your life. If you do the 180 for the purposes it was intended, you can't lose no matter the outcome. Focus on what you can control - yourself, your own choices, your own well being, your own life.

~ SerJR

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