If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living. ~Gail Sheehy
Change is a process, and, while not particularly easy, it can occur with more grace than we sometimes realize.
I’ve always been of the mind that if something is occurring in my life that I don’t dig, it’s on me to make a change. Sometimes these changes have been small, like figuring out my body really likes it when I eat protein for breakfast; other times, the changes are not quite so… uncomplicated.
It is often these larger, more complex changes that we avoid and resist; I know I certainly have.
I’ve had lots of opportunities to evaluate my change (and change-avoidance) habits, and have recognized some tendencies that do not support my intention for shifting those experiences.
Creating change for ourselves is a skill, and like all skills, it can be developed with some effort, focus and practice (yea, I said it).
Here are 3 tips to help you let go of your resistance to change and assist you in continuing to build this very necessary skill:
1. Be specific and be clear
It is difficult to begin to create change when what we want to change is vague or ill-defined.
Let’s say, for example, we recognize we are not feeling fulfilled by our job. This is a great start.
Unfortunately, some people stop here, and begin to pine for their dream position. Once they realize they are unhappy with their current situation, the emotion overwhelms them, and they descend into an unpleasant mindset of entitlement, should’s, and worry.
Clarity of mind means clarity of passion, too; this is why a great and clear mind loves ardently and sees distinctly what he loves. ~Blaise Pascal
Alternatively, an excellent next step would be deeper self-exploration: How did I end up in this position to begin with? In what way am I feeling unfulfilled? How would having a different job create more fulfillment? What exactly am I looking for?
There are many possible responses to these questions (and many more possible questions!), and asking them creates a huge potential for a greater inner awareness about our motivations.
Investigating our (sometimes hidden) inner motivations will assist in clarifying and specifying our future goals. There is definitely an appropriate time to imagine our dream job; visualization certainly plays a strong role in manifesting our future. However, it is not a stand-alone technique.
This is a big one, and just generally a really awesome gift to give ourselves, regardless of what we’re talking about.
That said, creating change requires looking at our “stuff.” It is necessary to do so with as little judgment as possible, while still being brutally honest. Getting caught up in, “I should’ve…” or, “Why didn’t I…” simply stops any forward momentum we had going.
Self-blame is not a motivator; it is a tiny prison. Opening the door requires the willingness to put the blame aside. We have nothing to atone for, no spilled milk to cry over. We can give ourselves permission to be human, and imperfect, and continue on our journey without the self-condemnation.
That said, it is also possible that self-judgment is a step along the road to creating change. Sometimes we have to experience the unpleasantness of this behavior many times before we decide to change it. On it’s own, though, self-judgment creates no flow; it just enhances stagnation.
3. Leave your excuses behind
There’s no space in this skill-building for blaming others, or rationalizing our behaviors, or making excuses.
For example, it is certainly understandable to respond in kind when someone lashes out at us; however, is that behavior supporting our intention to express kindness and compassion towards others?
I wouldn’t even mention this except for the fact that our own logic (read: rationalizations and excuses) is so seductive. We’ve been listening to it for most of our lives, and it is very familiar and comforting, like a favorite blanket.
Don’t fall for it. The goal is to look within and explore our own behaviors. It would be pointless to expend time and energy justifying the behaviors we want to change during this process.
Excuses are the tools with which persons with no purpose in view build for themselves great monuments of nothing. ~Steven Grayhm
Our personal power lies in our ability to make conscious decisions about our lives; specifically, our behaviors and our reactions. We, and only we, are responsible for our emotions and responses. We are capable of creating change in our inner world, which is then reflected in the external one.