"I am sure the title for this post caught your attention. I use the sponge as an analogy and will make sense shortly, I promise." -Kimberly Sprintz
Someone not long ago asked me what helped me change my life; I, of course, replied with, "How much time do you have"? Most of us know that dramatic life changes are not easy to make and take many years of planning and working toward the outcome we have determined to be our goal. The important thing I did have time to explain that specific day was, "I was ready to make the change happen," and that was honest.
I had been in a very abusive relationship for nearly a year. During that time, I lived in fear, suffering terrible abuse compounded by my drug and alcohol abuse. I had good people in my life that loved me who tried to tell me that the person was no good for me, was abusive, was keeping me away from them, that I needed help...the list goes on. Nothing said was incorrect; it was exactly right and what I needed to hear, yet I stayed anyway. The reason was I just was not ready to listen to it or act on the truth. I was in an abusive relationship with a narcissist who would eventually harm me to the point that I was near death, although at the time, I would never have believed it. I was what I call a "filled sponge."
I was a filled sponge, filled with the lies I told myself and lies from others.
A filled sponge is unable to absorb anything because it is FILLED. Even though the sponge can absorb large amounts of liquid, it will reach a limit. I was a filled sponge, filled with the lies I told myself and lies from others. I had overvalued another person at my own expense and was so depressed and scared I felt helpless, useless. I convinced myself I could be better, do better. I was setting myself up to fail, I had abandoned myself in a relationship, and I was slowly dying inside. I was getting therapy at that time; I was in a CODA support group, so I heard the truth, I was attempting to be better and do better, yet it was not powerful enough to motivate me to leave. I was a filled sponge, incapable of making the truth I heard a part of my life; I had no personal value to myself. I only valued someone incapable of loving me.
By attending meetings and counseling sessions, I believe I was ringing out my "sponge," but it was not enough to accept the truth. It took leaving the relationship several times, only to return to the same scenario again until the last time I made that choice. The last time I was in their presence, I nearly lost my life, and I will spare you the details. However, I can tell you my stubborn soul had to endure that abuse before I could finally listen to the truth and believe.
I was finally able to "listen" and "hear" what everyone had been trying to tell me, but I won't lie and say I immediately got better, and life was suddenly amazing, far from it.
I was finally able to "listen" and "hear" what everyone had been trying to tell me, but I won't lie and say I immediately got better, and life was suddenly amazing, far from it. I had to go through rehab, find sobriety, go to therapy several times a week. I had to make amends to my friends I had abandoned because my controlling ex would not allow me to contact them. Some forgave me; others didn't, and that is okay. Why? Because I needed supportive people who were "ready" to be in my life. I was filling my sponge with the truth; I was finally working to heal my life. I found the help that showed me I could believe in myself and have self-confidence again. None of this would have been possible had my sponge remained filled.
I share my story to show you that you can make different choices no matter your current situation, and your outcome will look different and can be better. I tell you this in case you are very upset and angry because someone in your life won't take your advice. Maybe you know someone using drugs and alcohol and will not get the help they need. Maybe your child is making terrible choices and suffering severe consequences, and you are worried for their life. All of your feelings are valid, whether you make poor choices or try to help someone else. Just remember, people, change when they are ready. Some of us will take serious consequences before that day comes; some will continue to be enabled by well-meaning friends and family who constantly sweep in to save us before those serious consequences happen. We can't change people, but we can make small changes every day.
We can't change people, but we can make small changes every day.
Small changes made to move toward a long-term goal are PROACTIVE. Sometimes, the changes we can make are redirecting our thoughts, taking a walk instead of reacting, getting up instead of sleeping, and talking to someone instead of remaining quiet. I value the little steps; they have helped me during my life significantly. Don't underestimate what ridding your sponge of unhelpful thoughts and behaviors can do; even the slightest change can get you to a better life.
Some questions to consider:
What aspects of my life are unfulfilled?
What false beliefs do I have about myself and my life?
What keeps me doing the same thing repeatedly?
What small step could I take today that will get me closer to where I want to be?
Do I need to get help to make the changes?
I hope this post finds you at a place in your life where you have room in your "sponge" for change, to hear new information, and perhaps motivate you to press on. You are worth it, and you can make your life unforgettable. All you need is inside you, and sometimes we need some light to find our way.
Founder & Director
Women Empowering Women Support Groups