The Mystery of Change


“How many times have you told yourself that you cannot change: “I am too old or too set in my ways”.


How often were you faking when you said, “Why should I change for you!” Were you really being honest with yourself or were you really scared of change. Just leave things the way they are. I don’t bother anyone is always at the forefront of our mind, but maybe it is really that we do not understand how change works. We might get an idea of what change looks like and think, that looks easy but we find ourselves still repeating the same behavior. After a while we tell ourselves that there is no need to change because we do not want to admit that we continually fail at it. Who really wouldn’t want to change negative behavior for something that gives us good feedback and makes someone else happy? There is a way to change but it takes understanding the minute details how the process of change occurs. Remember it is not an academy award event, it is a process’ the following steps will help you to see where you are in the process of change.


1  Denial: The first stage of change

When we are faced with looking at ourselves, we tend to want to turn things around so that we can confidently find someone else to shoulder the blame for our bad behavior. “You made me act that way” is a typical statement we might say. Also “There is nothing wrong with me or it’s not my fault” seem to pervade our thinking. Our defense systems rush to the front of our brains to prevent us from imperfect. If we let any knowledge in, then all our fears from childhood will be confirmed. We were not good enough!


2  Brain awareness: The second stage of Change

After so many repetitions of the same behavior without any difference in our thinking, we begin to realize that something is off and maybe it isn’t the other person. Something is beginning to happen; our denial is beginning to weaken. Our repetitive behavior is not working the way it used to; there is a knawing feeling inside of us that gives us the message that it is something that we are doing that is causing this pain. It becomes like a gut feeling that we cannot get away from. As we begin to analyze our own behavior, we begin to understand cause and effect. Now in our minds things seem to become clearer. The way we are behaving can have a negative effect on our lives. Remember, this is all just beginning to become conscious to us.


3  Confusion: The third stage of change

Now that we have accepted the fact that we were in denial and that we intellectually understand that we created the behavior that we disliked what happens next? The old system of behaving doesn’t seem to work any longer, yet we have nothing to replace this behavior with! We are now thrown into a state of confusion. We cannot move forward without the security of new behavior. What will happen? We retreat to our old behavior with a sense of defeat. Before we understood our actions, we were often unhappy but ignorant to what caused this unhappiness. Now that we are aware of this unhappiness we become stuck in a limbo of fear and anxiety, as we cannot move forward. We do not know the answer to change.

(Why did I start this process?)
Confusion is our hardest state to face. It causes us to flip flop back and forth to stages 1 and 2, without mercy. We can numb ourselves with various addictions or habits to keep down the anxiety, but to no real avail.


4  Heart awareness: The fourth stage of change

What are we going to do? We feel so confused since nothing seems to go right for us and we do understand why but we keep up the repetition of negative behavior, yet it doesn’t work. Still each time we go through a repetition with that knowledge of failure, something inside of us begins to understand. At a much deeper level then our intellect, we begin to know what will work. We begin to feel differently, for now we can no longer fool ourselves with our distorted thinking. Our hearts can feel the truth. We are not just observing our behavior we are feeling it. Do you know that feeling inside that tells you” I am beginning to understand.”

The seeds of change are beginning to take hold.


5  Acceptance: The fifth and final stage of change

Now there is no question about what we are experiencing. We aren’t even that tuned in anymore to the change. When we stop and look we can see and feel what the other person is saying to us. It is usually other people who say, “Do you know that you do not yell anymore when I confront you?” We feel the acceptance in our heart and we now know that we can be in control of this behavior.

There will be times in this process that we will regress but our new behavior will prevail because we know that we are fighting our resistance. We can change!

Comments 12

  1. At some point in your lifes journey your going to come to that fork at the end of the road. This may happen at the age of 15 or at the age of 55 but one way or another the road your traveling on will end. There is only one question you will have to ask yourself, and that is what type of man do i want to be? Will you take the road less traveled ? or will you like so many others before you go down the other road ?. Just like everything else in life it all comes down to making choices. Change is possible but you have to walk the walk as they say and not talk the talk. You have to ask yourself are you sick and tired of being sick and tired ? If you truly are you will know and will not have to second guess yourself like so many other times before and if not you will continue down the road your going repeating the same old song and dance making up excuses for your unwholesome behavior. Its funny the amount of bullshit we tell ourselves to be able to keep on this path the lenghts we will go to coming up with every reason why we do it and then saying sorry a million time over. Well i got news for you sorry gets old and after a while people dont want to hear it, not even are loved ones. Change is possible but it does not happen over night. Change is a continious process that takes effort and desire. Like anything else in life you have to be “hungry”. You have to want change bad enough to occur in your life you simply can not just wish or pray for it doesnt work that way. Everyone is different only you yourself will know what you must change. I feel that change is both mental and physical and in order to change we can not just change one thing about ourselves we have to change a number of things. Everything is connected in one way or another and the dominos fall down one by one. Do not let fear or temptation stop you from changing you must remember even though you feel alone your not the only one out there we all have are battles in life to fight. Once you know what it is you must change about yourself make a comittment and a promise to yourself. Dont make the promise to your wife, girlfriend, kids, bestfriend etc they are not the ones who need to change you do. So live and let live dont worry about anyone else or what they think all that matters at the end of the day is how you feel and think. In order to change we first must learn to forgive. Often times people have no peace in there lives because they have no forgiveness. We must learn to forgive ourselves for our past actions and bad behavior, humble yourself forgive others even when they themselves do not deserve it and you will have the peace you so long for. As people and as a society i feel we have gotten away from our roots. Todays world is very cutthroat it seems more like kill or be killed. Whatever happened to the golden rule you know the one they use to teach in grade school. Whatever happened to having morals ? Well the sad part is you canot change the world it is the way is is for right now anyway. The only thing you can change is yourself. Be the change you would like to see in the world. Take whatever it is you want to change and make it you goal make it you project and your hobby stay focused on it. Its ok if you need to ask for advice or help after all your not superman but you could feel like him once youve rid yourself of all the negative garbage in your life. Start today right now maybe we change the way we eat start eating healty youll feel better physically maybe join a gym get in shape work out. Go to the libary and maybe buy a book or to about whatever it is you are struggling with. Afterall if you want to defeat your enemy you have to know your enemy. Learn what makes you and your body feel good. Fight the urge dont be afraid to talk back to yourself and say NOOOOOOO!!! Everything begins and ends with the mind and the way we think. Start to recognize those negative thoughts and feelings and deaal with them as they arise dont let them fester only so they can come back another time. Have patience with yourself and those around you that you love try to show a little more kindness and love dont be afraid to help someone out even if you dont know them, over your seat on the train or the bus to the elderly or woman, hold the door open for people behind you, say please and thank you. Sit down to dinner with your family without the tv, radio, iphone, ipad or fucking facebook around and actually listen and talk to one another. When in a fight or argument learn to breath and speak in a calm tone to one another or walk away if you have to before you hurt the person you love. Its the little things in life that matter. Stop letting your fear pride and ego get in the way it is not easy but change is possible and change happens slowly so put the bat away and stop beating yourself up lets go out there and show people that actions do speak louder then words.

  2. I totally can relate to this. How long we run and run to avoid ourselves. The road less traveled was one of my inspirational books when I suffered depression and lived inside a big black hole. I was so stuck in quicksand and did not think I would ever get out. A lot of looking inside lead me out and showed me the way. I struggle lots still.. but I know forgiveness and peace is what I am still looking for.

  3. A status the relates to the process of change:
    “I question, does life get better after high school? The days now are just dragging, getting out of my comfy bed, depriving myself a few hours of sleep, to force myself into a place where I don’t belong, finding nowhere to it into, with the only thing I have is my intellect, which pisses the hell out of people because I talk too much, but it the most opportunity for me to be able to say anything meaningful where I’m actually speaking my mind. Honestly, with little to talk to, it feels like being in isolation. I can’t find anyone who has anything in common with me because I’m that rare person. Spending weekends in front of a TV really did do damage to my mind. Then I spend my time prepping for BS like the SATs, and doing homework because grades are the only thing to mark any kind of success. A lot of times I see myself as a loser because I’m always alone, which I don’t mind sometimes, but it gets tiring when I have a license/some free time but nowhere to go. Not going to prom isn’t helping the situation either. It’s like I’m ready to life some life and hangout a bit, but I don’t really have anyone to hangout with, which I’ll take some responsibility for being annoying and unapproachable a lot of the times. I’m not trying to give the idea that I’m some kid who’s about to crack because he’s depressed and needs people to worry, I’m passed that point and no longer wish to go back to that pathetic point in my life, but I’m really annoyed where life going, like it was said in the School of Rock, I’m living ‘the dumb days.'”
    My own issues may be a result of my own reluctance to accept the fact I refuse to accept the fact I have the potential make friends, but I make myself unapproachable. I have been thinking about what Larry has said. I’m barely at the second step, thinking it’s both an inability and my own stubbornness.

  4. Sam, I have read your stuff before snd even though you are a good writer you never seem to get out of that placve of being lifes’ victim.. I wish that I was at least smart. I am in the stage of confusion because somewhere inside of me I know that I can be smart but I don’t let me get there

  5. I try everyday to change for the well-being of myself mentally. With certain aspects of my life, such as word choice, I have overcome the second stage of change, for the most part. I have began using the word exactly less in conversations in order to take an active part in a conversation. However, with my life in general, I still need to overcome change and begin the process of doing so. I need to change my bad habits of addiction to spending as well as obtaining a job. WIth this said, I feel as if I am a constant disappointment to my parents because I am jobless. They often remind me of my “bad habits.” Which then creates me to want to spend more because it makes me feel better about myself after my family has made me feel awful about myself. It is like a catch 22. I am trying hard to get a job but can’t. Changing my bad habits would make my well-being better overall. I would be happier with myself as well as my family. My family would not be so negative towards me constantly.

  6. Oh this nausea. This damn nausea. Thank God for the nausea. Something’s up, I can feel it. How different than it used to be. Before it was all noise. Shame, guilt, regret charging from the rear; fear and anxiety poised to attack from the front. I got quiet, stopped making messes, minimized the damage in the day and made amends where needed. Cleaning up the past, slowly but enough so that the tapes stop playing, the intrusive thoughts don’t bombard me but sometimes they whisper for my attention. Today there is the quiet space, space for the nausea, the confusion. Thank God for my mother, my bipolar mother. Her experience shows me how easily the insanity, the blanket of denial can be pulled over my head. If I’ve learned anything it’s that I need the help of others, a trusted voice to pull me back from the insanity. I need the encouragement, I need someone to put courage into my heart to continue to do the right thing sometimes. The feelings will follow the actions. Please, God, I just need to not make a mess of things while I walk through this. Will you walk with me?

  7. Change the magical word that sounds so simple. I know that I have automatic responses and feeling to things that trigger me. Having had PTSD I go into my trauma mode every time I feel myself being attacked emotionally. Some how physical pain is simple. I never cut – but I would punch myself in the face till I was black and blue. I realize that I am constantly punishing and sabotaging my biggest challenge of loosing weight.

  8. I don’t like change. I don’t like things that I cannot control. I have been fighting all the things I could not control for so long that even when I was aware of this “habit”, this behavior, I fought the very acceptance of it. That was who I was, but not who I want to be. Yes, it takes discipline and courage to change – to keep yourself in check and to love yourself even when you don’t like what you find. And acceptance is more than a fight or flight response…it’s beyond instinct…it requires self-awareness and perhaps more. But with acceptance, the good seems to outshine and the negative fades. The head and the heart are two parts of me that have been in conflict for some time. The head has taken over to allow the heart to heal, but now my heart is stronger. I’m scared but I know I must walk forward with confidence and most importantly trust in myself. Change is inevitable whether we like it or not…but change is not bad…change is good. Sometimes, change (or the process of change) is the only thing that forces us to get out of our own way!

  9. I can’t tell you what I am denying. I can only have faith that I am in denial. The record is clear. The wreckage caused by my drinking is all the evidence I need. I refused to see the signs, heed the warnings. So now I know that I don’t know. What to do with that? I’m told in Program that it is the “easier, softer way”. My take on that is I have a choice; I need to make a decision between humility and humiliation. Humility being the slow, gentle realization that what I though was, was not, or humiliation, the sudden, abrupt shock that I’m naked in front of the world. The intensity with which I experience change is inversely proportional to the tenacity with which I cling to old ideas. My ideas, my pride; the termite infested foundation on which my house is built. So this is it, I’m confused, old ideas undermined and nothing firm to grasp. I fall back to old, acceptable addictions. Video games have been replaced by fantasy baseball. The adrenaline rush of anger pays a visit now and then and my old friend obsessive thoughts is a constant companion. I share it, like I’m doing here, with trusted friends. Mostly what I get back is, “Just do the next right thing, the feelings with follow the actions.” Good enough.

  10. Funny. So I’m writing this post because Larry says it’s part of my treatment. What I come up with is the post above, you know, the soap box stuff. And just as I’m about to hit the “Submit” button a little voice in my head says, “What about procrastination?”. Ya, that’s my fucking problem! I’m so full of shit sometimes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *