Why Change Doesn’t Happen
Are you someone who has attended multiple workshops, done lots of reading and felt like you’ve done a lot to try to change and grow but still feel stuck back at the places that have always challenged you? Then this post is for you.
Playing the Blame Game
The simple fact is that growth is a function of looking at the hard stuff in your life and taking responsibility for it. It’s not your parents’ fault that you are who you are today. It was partially their fault when you were a child, but you’re an adult now. You’ve had a chance to look at the programming you received as a child and it’s your responsibility who you choose to be today. Stop blaming and start taking responsibility for who you are.
Playing the Victim Game
Look at all the ways in which you assume you are a victim. You feel victimized by your parents, your partners, your jobs, your country, the economy, corporate robber barons, your health, your children, your life. And, sure, if you’re attached to it, you can find lots of good reasons to feel victimized by any random person on the street. But the fact is that energetically, you are drawing all of these people to you. You are responsible for what you perceive about them, since those perceptions are coming through your filters. So stop playing the victim. If you don’t like something – change it. If you can’t change it, then don’t engage it.
Running Away From Your Feelings
If you start to feel angry or sad or shameful or guilty or depressed and your first reaction is to shove it down and find something else to do, then you’re never going to grow. It is from facing these feelings, sitting with them and processing them that we actually manage to move through them. If, instead, you go off looking for a ham sandwich, you’re never going to get anywhere.
Engaging the Anger or Depression Rather Than the Underlying Issue
The two exceptions to the “sit with your feelings” instruction are with anger and depression. Both of these emotions are secondary emotions – which means that they both stem from not dealing with other emotions you are having. Anger is a response to feeling hurt or betrayed or abandoned or frustrated, etc. Depression is secondary to feeling impotent – unable to change something that is making you unhappy. Depression is also often anger turned inward – so that actually makes it a tertiary emotion in this case. When you don’t feel the pain of something and instead get angry about it, and then you feel that your anger isn’t getting you anywhere or you get angry at yourself for letting the pain happen, then you feel depressed. With both of these emotions, it’s important not to engage them directly – it is only a vicious cycle that feeds the flame and makes things worse. Instead, seek out the underlying emotions that caused these secondary issues and sit with those emotions. When you can process those, the anger/depression goes away too.
If you are not uncomfortable, you’re not doing anything differently. If you have any hope of changing, you need to be able to embrace being uncomfortable. If every time you feel uncomfortable you give up the new thing and go back to your comfort zone, you’ll never get anywhere. It’s like expecting to walk the Appalachian Trail and then giving up the minute you step on a rock. Get comfortable being uncomfortable and you’ll find that your ability to change increases dramatically.
Refusing to Change Yourself
We often want things around us to change, but are unwilling to change who we are in order for that to happen. We think that if we change our surroundings, the people in our lives, our jobs, etc. that this will create change but then find ourselves back in the same patterns over again. Real change only comes from within. When you change who you are and how you are in the world, everything else changes to compensate. Start with you.
Unwilling To Let Things Go
If you want change, but are unwilling to let go of what is in existence now, you’ll never change. Change is happening everywhere, all the time. If you are too attached to what you have to make room for what could be, you will eventually lose everything without having anything new to bring in. This is the nature of the world. Be willing to let go of what is, and accept what could be.
Fight or Flight? RUN!!!
Who are you when you get scared? Are you someone who steps up and faces the things that scare you or are you someone who runs at the first sign of danger? If you’re a runner, you’ll have a hard time finding your inner power, dealing with the tough issues and making changes. You have to develop courage in order to face your fears. You don’t have to do it all at once, you can take small steps, face small fears, and build your courage until it can support you in the larger changes, but you need to actually make progress on it if you are to ever have hope of making changes that stick.
Why We Don’t Grow
If you are finding yourself challenged by the process of trying to grow, there is only one reason this is happening.
When the Going Gets Tough – You Give Up
So long as you are not facing the dark places, the places where you are uncomfortable, the places that scare you, you’ll never change. If you’re not willing to take a risk, you’ll never stick your neck out far enough to find that new way of being. No one is going to do it for you. You have to do this for yourself. There is no shortcut. There is no other book that’s going to make it easier. You can spout “wisdom” all day long, but if you don’t apply it to your life, you’ll never find the inner peace, personal power and happiness that you are seeking. Stop looking outside yourself and start really asking the hard questions within.
You don’t have to make the journey alone. You can get help. Other people can’t do the work for you, but they can provide a shoulder to cry on, a new perspective from which to see things, and the support you need to keep looking at and dealing with the hard stuff. Friends who are on the same journey as you are a great place to find support. Support groups can also be helpful. Be careful to choose the right people to help you. If they are not growing too, then your growth might threaten them and they might sabotage your journey just to keep themselves feeling safe. If you are surrounded by people who are not growing or you haven’t really gotten anywhere with the friends support approach, then you might want to consider hiring a coach to help you. I am happy to speak to you about coaching services if you feel like it’s time to take that route. Give me a call 508-243-6257.