There are certain truths about change that, even when brought to the front, often get overlooked.
The First Truth
We resist change.
Even when we want it we push back against it with the force of a warrior, erecting every obstacle and roadblock to do the things that we know we want to do. We resist change even when we’re mired in toxic habits and distractive behaviors and self sabotage. It makes no sense.
Except it makes perfect sense. We cling to the status quo because change is uncomfortable. Change puts us in the world of things we do not know and we long for control. We want to know whether things will work, how they will work out, what will happen, what will the future bring, how will we get it done.
The irony of this is that even when we desire to change, even when our current behavior causes us pain and we see a pain-free path laid out before us, we resist change and cling to what we know.
I will say that again because it’s so important and this is a truth that we often overlook:
We cling to the status quo even when it causes us pain, and even when we have a strong desire to change.
The first step to changing a destructive pattern is to acknowledge this truth. To accept that we all do this. That resisting change is human nature.
The Second Truth
The second step to changing a destructive pattern is to acknowledge the second truth.
We cling to the status quo because it serves us. Even if the status quo is a destructive pattern, it serves us.
We derive benefit from it. Even if your current behavior is causing you pain, you are also profiting from it in some way.
When I use the word “profit” here I do not restrict its meaning to financial. There are lots of ways to profit from action or thought pattern.
The Third Truth
Until we can see how the behavior or thought pattern that we have been truly engage in serves us, we will continue to enact it. Because until we can see what it gives us we cannot grieve the loss that we will feel when we let it go.
And what you release you must acknowledge and grieve. Otherwise remnants of it stay within you. Keeping you stuck.
Every pain we wish to avoid serves us on some level. Until we bring that into our awareness and acknowledge it, we won’t be able to effectively shift the pattern for good.
These Truths Apply to All Change
These three truths apply whether you’re trying to quit smoking or drinking or social media.
They are truths that apply if you’re trying to eliminate thought patterns like frustration, overwhelm, indecision, or anxiety.
These truths apply if you’re trying to change your home, career, start a new project, or hire an assistant or new enployees.
And they are truths that apply even if the thing you’re seeking to change is a physical pain that seems related to symptoms in your physical body.
- What is the status quo I’ve been tolerating?
- How is it serving me?
- How am I profiting from it?
If you are committed to change, you must commit to doing this inner work too.