“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!