Paths to change
When are we truly ready for change?
How do we make lasting change in our lives?
Disinvesting from the past
Often our focus and investment remains in the past, our energy tied up in resentments. ‘No wonder I’m x, look at what happened to me.’
But we need the energy that we are placing into resentment for more useful things. We need to transform it to give flight to the creative magic that our lives depend upon. Energy cannot be destroyed, only transformed. Place your energy in two contrary investments at the same time and you will find yourself conflicted and confused. And so, liberating the energy that thrives in resentment is often the first step to making a commitment to change.
Invest in the present, keep an eye on the future.
All human beings resist change until they reach their point of readiness for change. Pre-contemplation becomes contemplation, which becomes choice and preparation, leading to action, perhaps relapse, support and maintenance and most likely another round of pre-contemplation on an ever upward spiral. Or so the theory goes.
In practice, the nuances of life often swamp the theory. Our inner mind’s hidden beliefs and our social peer group both affect us enormously whilst our limbic brain’s inclination to run from pain and run towards pleasure can push valid, coherent and logical plans to one side. People are a kaleidoscope of identities and aspirations, each competing moment by moment to control or to sabotage.
So what triggers a readiness for change?
I’ve suffered enough.
This is the moment we realise that the adaptations we are making to avoid confronting our problems are actually more painful or destructive in themselves than the problem they are supposed to be avoiding. With this realisation, that sometimes comes in an instant and at other times comes as a series of cumulative turning points, change becomes a must.
A lack of meaning to life
As we go through life, we have a tendency to shut down our imaginative facilities. We close off our own belief that somewhere out there are the people, the circumstances and the situation to meet our deepest needs. We lose hope and existential despair descends. At this point, we face a choice, an inevitable turning point: enter into destructive behaviours as a coping mechanism, or reach out for help and choose life.
Becoming aware that change is possible.
One morning, life shines and fog lifts. Perhaps the helping hand comes through a book, a coach, a friend, an inspirational talk… and the realisation arrives that change really can happen. It triggers an awakening and acceptance of wisdom that comes from deep within.
Reaching your turning point
We each have our beliefs about our own ability to change. Here are the words every coach wants to hear from their client: “I think I’m finally coming to a position from which I can believe it’s possible for me to change.”
We each reach our turning points at different times in life and for different reasons, but that moment is transformational. Movement occurs. Awareness floods in. Personal responsibility becomes as essential as breathing, and your uniqueness begins its ascent. At that moment, change takes place in an instant or it shifts gradually, evolving and settling over a period of time.