How do we change...really change?
When we feel stuck or want to change something, it usually comes from the desire to improve or rid ourselves of something we don’t like, or that’s painful. When something feels out of sorts, not quite right, or you have a negative feeling or judgment about something, it’s an opportunity to investigate and learn from it.
Perhaps you’re inspired to change because you see others having or doing something, or being a particular way that sparks yearning in you. The world around us can motivate us to question ourselves and connect with our dissatisfaction.
You might be motivated by an inner stirring or unfulfilled longing. Actualizing a deep longing gives a sense of achievement and fulfillment. It’s important to feel what you do in life is meaningful, of use in the world. We might say that finding what we’re meant to do is part of incarnation, being here in the body.
You might be looking for a result, or something to be fundamentally different, requiring change to alter or transform it. Sometimes changing, or creating what we want, is more difficult than we expect. Change happens bit by bit. Personal development is measured in degrees; you become freer, have more happiness, and embody more of your essence. Unfortunately, many people rarely get the full picture of what’s needed to heal and grow, and then wonder why they don’t change. You’ve probably heard yourself or someone say, “I want to move forward,” or, “I’ve tried to change but couldn’t.”
Make Lasting Change Come Faster by Slowing Down
Paradoxically, lasting change comes faster when we embrace slowing down, going deeper, and being mindful. It is possible to move beyond “Been there, done that,” and change. We know from working with our wounded egos and personal programming that when we do the same old thing, the same old way, we get the same old results.
When you’re aware, you feel the subtle, inner stirrings that either inspire or direct you to change aspects of your life, guiding you to the True Self. You courageously engage in self-inquiry and start to recognize you do affect the course of your life. You grow more willing to take risks, empowering yourself toward creating desired changes.
Why Do We Resist Change?
Oddly enough, even though we wish a number of things were different, we often resist change. For most of us, fear prevents us from being fully ourselves and in the constant flow of movement. There are many known and unknown fears, as well as shame, grief, or sadness impeding the current of the Universe from flowing in our lives. We might fear what change will bring, or mean. Maybe you won’t like it, or you’ll need to leave someone, or physically move somewhere.
Because we live in bodies and the physical dimension, we tend to see and experience everything as solid, and therefore unchangeable. Your personality equates the solidness with safety, believing if you can predict life, then you won’t have to face your fear of the unknown. But predictability is an illusion, based upon unconsciously expecting or repeating past responses in the present moment. This narrow understanding of life often leaves you feeling powerless, with a false sense of ego strength that will surely be challenged at some point in your lifetime.
Trying to Control Everything
Out of our misconceptions about consciousness and God, we try to create a solid, seemingly secure and stable life. We resist the underlying and constant process of change. We think, “If I can keep things the way they are, even though I hate it, I’ll be safe.” Living in the ever-changing flow is embracing what Alan Watts called “the wisdom of insecurity.”
Our unhealed egos have trouble letting go of the illusion that we can control everything. We remain lost in our stories, and think change, and ultimately happiness, is beyond us. We keep chasing our tails, jumping from shiny object to shiny object, seeking fulfillment outside ourselves — rooted in misunderstanding, unprocessed emotions, and old programming.
Lasting change occurs when we integrate these distorted ideas and historical knots, loosening our tight feelings and views. With courage, tenacity, commitment, and skillful means, the disentangled Strands of Consciousness shift, returning our soul and psyche to wholeness, and fulfilling the change we desire.
Change Happens with Persistence & Surrender
As you deepen through this work and your desired changes unfold, you move past the “ah ha” moments, into an inner knowing. You travel inward to the hidden crevices that help make you strong. You name and understand your feelings, deconstruct your stories, and embrace your imperfections. Inner softening and compassion grow into self-acceptance, encouraging change.
You may see change as it happens or notice it later, realizing you no longer do “that thing” you wanted to stop doing, or you are doing what you’ve been wanting to do. Change happens with persistence. How long depends upon the depth of the issue and the time you’ve spent working on it. Or you might be ripe and ready, and things will change quickly.
It takes a certain amount of psychological and spiritual work to get beyond thinking our ego structures can run the entire show. At this turning point of growth and maturity, we surrender, which is essential in creating what we came here to be.
© 2013. Dr. Jennifer Howard. All rights reserved.
Published by New Page Books a division of
Career Press, Pompton Plains, NJ. 800-227-3371.
This article was excerpted with permission from the book:
Your Ultimate Life Plan: How To Deeply Transform Your Everyday Experience And Create Changes That Last -- by Dr. Jennifer Howard.
Your Ultimate Life Plan is the missing "how to" for getting unstuck and moving past your problems into a richer and more meaningful life. The distillation of Dr. Howard's 20-plus years of experience as a licensed psychotherapist and spiritual teacher, this "workshop in a book" is a roadmap to living your most happy, most authentic, most amazing life. Why settle for average, when the potential to live an amazing life is inside you, right now? This book will help you step boldly into your next, deeper level of happiness, wholeness, transformation, and success.
About the Author
Jennifer Howard, Ph.D., is the author of Your Ultimate Life Plan. A recognized thought leader on psychology and spirituality, Dr. Howard is a Huffington Post blogger, one of the featured experts in the national wellness campaign, Walk with Walgreens, and has appeared as an expert on numerous national network television shows. A life and business coach, professional speaker, and co-founder of the Healing Path Center, Dr. Howard maintains a private practice with offices in New York City and Long Island, and has an extensive phone practice.