Change creation is the main focus of my career.
Being in the business of change is challenging and rewarding. The most important part is identifying what you want to change. This sounds obvious but it isn’t really.
As a rule identifying that things aren’t working is much easier than identifying the cause. It’s a little bit like an archeological dig through a person’s belief systems, internal paradigms, and accepted misperceptions. Even language is laden with personal meaning. Dissecting that meaning can provide invaluable insight into the etiology of a problem.
People tend to feel discomfort or a lack of happiness but for the most part this doesn’t move them to change. Usually they ignore it or misapply the reason behind their discomfort. After a while that uncomfortable feeling or lack of happiness causes the person to do something that really shakes up their system. If it shakes it up enough then things can fall away and change is possible.
When a person gets to change in this way it is generally very painful.
I encourage a more peaceful, compassionate way to change. This requires an active relationship with your sense of comfort, similar to responding to cues that you are hungry, tired, or in need of exercise.
There are cues that can direct your response efficiently. When you are hungry your first cue may be a loss of energy or focus, or it may be irritability (hypoglycemia). Then if you ignore this you may get a stomach ache, increased confusion or irritability. You can follow this trajectory for other physical needs like sleep deprivation or exercise. The earlier you pay attention to the clues the earlier you can right the course.
Things that need changing in your personality, work, or relationship follow the same course. Developing mindfulness and compassion as a style of being in the world will provide opportunities for the cues to present you the necessary information and to
Sometimes what obstructs our change is exactly what needs our attention. It’s often the thing you want to hold on to that is the thing you need to let go. This is not an absolute rule, but rather a guideline. When you want to hold onto a situation or relationship because you interpret it defines you in a positive way, but to keep it you have to deny your authentic self, then this becomes an obstruction rather than an asset. This kind of equation results in negative habit reaction patterns, self sabotage or destructive behavior.
This is actually the kind of change needed that brings a person into a counselor or psychotherapy office, a personal growth seminar, or groups like EST, Landmark Forum or Avatar. The person feels very uncomfortable, has a general sense of what she feels is wrong, feels powerless to change her situation and is at the end of her rope. She is desperate to find the answer and seeks guidance.
The process through this is sometimes bumpy. Often the best guidance is within yourself. Paying attention to those cues, listening to your quiet inner voice, and allowing your instinctive knowing to lead the way will get you to the necessary information more quickly and with less drama. It is the most efficient way to allow a peaceful and compassionate change to present itself to you. With this you can shift you perception, paradigm or habit to fully meet you true need.
Facing your fears is the often the fastest way to bring about change.
The issue that what you are afraid to change may well be what needs to be changed is a bit counter-intuitive and it is hard to look at or face. Our knee-jerk reaction is to run in the opposite direction of our fear, to avoid what we fear, but turning to face your fears is the most healing prescription and often results in lasting, healing change.
Talking to friends or a counselor can help you to clarify what you need. Seminars and groups can open a pathway.
It’s important that in these conversations you take the lead in the course of the discussion. Sometimes others mean well but they are projecting, seeing through their paradigm rather than yours; it is important to go through the discussion thoroughly and with a sense of reverence toward your inner feelings, fears and personal meanings to things. Through this process you will be able to decipher the clues so that you may let go of that which doesn’t serve you and hold onto that which defines you in an authentic way.
You hear the words catalyst for change to describe an event that shifts you so that you can change. The generally accepted definition of catalyst is a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change ; or a person or thing that precipitates an event. Change in your environment or thinking is a catalyst for redefining yourself in a more authentic and true way. So that you can be your true self.
If you are struggling with something that just doesn’t feel right but you aren’t sure what the real problem is, see if there is something that you could change that brings you complete peace. If it is related to a change in definition then you may be on the right track for responding to the cues that are available. Face your fear and shift that definition. See what develops as a result of that change, that shift in perception.
See you tomorrow.
June 11, 2011 at 7:44 am
This is a really good one.
I was doing EFT with a couple of patients today and we were discussing how hard it can be to find the “real” issues to tap on, the ones that are going to make a true change. Your guidelines offer a helpful path.