Have you ever gotten to a point in your life where you want to make a change but you just don’t know how?
I personally believe there are a few key factors that you must keep in mind in regards to the process of change. Understanding these factors may help you invoke the change you seek for your life:
· Society /Religious Influences
· Self worth
· Gift / take balance
· Being realistic
· Cause and effect
· Past’s purpose
Let me explain.
Society /Religious influences
At times, there can be so much pressure to live up to others expectations that it may interrupt self progression for your life. In the process of growing up, it is inevitable to follow the direction of your parents, peers and/or religion. Out of habit, as an adult we tend to get stuck mentally in the childlike mindset of wanting to please the individuals we care about; so much so that we fear pursuing our own personal desires if it goes against the grain. It can be really difficult to provoke change and our own lives if it goes against the belief system in which we were raised or if we believe it will disappoint the people we look up to. I would not be the person that I am today if I did not take risks/go against the grain. I have made choices that my mother disagreed with due to maternal concern, I have lost friendships due to peers not understanding my difference in opinion and I have even grown spiritually in a way that completely challenged the religious background in which I was raised which resulted in me leaving the church. None of these changes were easy for me but the power and strength that I developed from making my own life decisions and the lessons learned from living my life my way help to me to confirm, within myself, that which I was truly capable of.
Here is an exercise to put things into perspective:
1. Look back on each transition that you’ve had in your life (going to college, starting your career, having children, getting married, etc.)
2. Ask yourself if each transition was provoked by anyone other than yourself (parental influence, keeping up with peers, religious requirement, etc.)
3. (This is the hardest part; be honest with yourself) If anyone other than yourself influenced one of your life decisions, realistically as yourself: Would you have made the same decision, at that point in your life, if the outside influence was not present?
4. Looking at your life, how many decisions have been of your own accord? How many current goals are you pursuing that have been provoked by somebody else’s desires for you?
The above exercise is not meant to point blame; being completely honest, regardless of the influence of others, I believe every choice you make you must take responsibility for. It is your choice to go with or against the grain because only you have to deal with the consequences of the choices that you make. I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason, so no matter what you have been through, remember that it has helped shape you into the person that you are. However, by no means does this mean that others influence is always a bad thing. I also believe that some people are put on our life path to encourage personal growth, development and self awareness. Even I have been guilty of allowing others to make decisions for my life. Truthfully, at the time, it was easier than making the decision myself; due to fear or even to give myself someone to blame if the situation didn’t work out in my favor. I now know that it is my responsibility, to myself, to take control of my life and make decisions based off what I believe; I cannot make changes based on what’s best for anyone else/ following in someone else’s footsteps or based off what’s been engraved in me to believe. I know make changes in my life based on what feeds my soul.
In taking steps towards change you have to know yourself. It’s easy to list your strengths but can you admit your weaknesses? If you understand your weaknesses, you can accommodate for them. For example, I have a hard time staying on task. I usually have more than one goal in mind at a time and I have a bad habit of jumping from one project to another. This usually leads to me getting less done, being more stress and spending more time than I would like completing certain tasks. In accepting this not-so-productive quality about myself, I can put things in place to try to compensate; like making a list to break down what needs to be done for each goal, then breaking that list down in order of importance and even setting suggested deadlines to get each task done.
No matter what steps you take to accomplish your goals, knowing your downfalls and compensating for them will save you time and decrease stress during times of change.
This topic hits close to home for me; knowing and believing what you deserve in life will make a world of difference in the decisions you make for yourself. Life can be hard at times and through the struggle we can lose our self-worth. You have to instill in yourself that you are worth it; no matter what IT is. Know that you deserve love, you deserve happiness, you deserve peace and you deserve whatever it is that you desire; know that you are worth it. Believe me, when I say, you will only invoke the change that you believe, within yourself, that you deserve. If you don’t truly believe you deserve change, what motivation do you have to pursue it; as soon as things get hard you’re more likely to throw in the towel if you don’t believe in your worth. Believing you deserve what you’re working for will motivate you to keep going even when the odds are against you; even when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel or when your first attempt doesn’t yield the result that you planned, you ‘ll keep pushing forward until you achieve your goals.
Know that no one, other than yourself, can put value on your worth. In knowing this, in return, know that no one can take your value from you. People can cause you pain emotionally, mentally or even physically but this should never devalue what you believe you deserve for your life.
Give / take balance
I don’t believe that anyone intentionally takes from someone until the well runs dry with malicious intent. Although for those of us who are givers, we have inevitably run into someone who fits the above category at some point in our lifetime. Usually this experience leads to the giver not only limiting who and how much they give in the future but, in my personal experience, it led to me no longer asking anyone for anything; out of fear of unintentionally making someone feel as used as I felt in the past. This imbalance of give-and-take can actually be destructive to the natural flow of the change process.
Giving is a part of who you are. There’s an authentic feeling of joy, from the soul level, when you give from your heart. Unfortunately, most limit giving only to individuals that they care deeply for. Consider the feeling you get when you put a smile on someone's face as a result of a genuine gesture from your heart; with no expected compensation in return. Now imagine how rewarding it would be to dedicate your life’s work to accomplishing this feeling on a daily basis; the joy that would result would be immensely satisfying to your soul.
‘Taking’, on the other hand, hold such a negative connotation. However, in moderation, the act of taking can promote the change you seek. Consider the concept ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and apply it to any change you seek in life. Like I stated previously, I believe some people are placed in our lives path as assistants to our journeys. These individuals, like guardian angels on Earth, are meant to help us during our times of need. As you meet these individuals on your journey you start to build your destined ‘village’, or as I like to call them, your tribe. Each tribe member will be divinely blessed with different attributes that may be useful to your journey.
Due to past experiences, I used to suffer in silence as I would face the same challenges over and over again in my life. It took me awhile to open up to the concept of receiving help. It started with allowing someone to even know anything was wrong; I opened up just to conversation in an attempt to lighten the load. In return, I found there are individuals in this world who actually give and expect nothing in return. I had to consider that a part of the change that I asked for resulted in someone giving to me because they felt it in their heart to do so. Not only did this bring genuine joy to the individual who helped me but it opened my heart up to trusting others again; not to mention, it help get me back on the divine path that I was seeking. Finding the balance in give-and-take not only made my process of change smoother, it even sped up my process.
Along the process of change, in order for a smooth ride, you must be realistic about what you want for yourself, who you are, what you deserve and what you need or don’t need in order to get to where you want to be. They say no dream is too big and shoot for the stars so that you never sell yourself short. However, what they don’t tell you is how many steps it’ll take to reach your dreams. Keeping in mind that it takes smaller steps to reach your bigger dreams may prevent you from biting off more than what you can chew.
One thing I struggled with, with the change process, was being flexible with the time it takes for change to occur. I would set deadlines for each step of my process and if I didn’t reach each deadline in the time frame that I set for myself, I would stress; this proved to be very counterproductive to the process. It took me experiencing this type of ‘set back’ to understand that I wasn’t quite ready for the change that I sought. During my time between, when I thought I should be done with a goal and when I actually accomplish my goal, I learned several life lessons that prepared me for the change that I sought-after. I now understand and respect Divine timing; just because you seek change, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready for the change you seek. Be patient, be realistic and the process of change won’t be as stressful.
Cause and effect
During the grace period that I spoke of in the previous section, the process of change may require you to do some ‘pre-game work’ to prepare yourself for the change you seek. For example, if you seek to develop a healthy romantic relationship in your life, you will be required to take the steps needed to end any non-committed, mutually beneficial arrangements you may currently have. Though that example was simple, the pre-game changes that may be required may not be (i.e. emotional baggage release, perceptional changes / opening, healing from past traumas, etc.). Keep in mind, the more complex the goal ahead, the more complex the pre-game strategy. If there is something you have asked for and you have yet to receive it, ask yourself, have any past memories or individuals came up currently that you refuse to deal with? Successfully surpassing the strongholds that arise during the process of change may be the key to successfully making the change you seek.
Just like the pre-game, there is a post-game to the process of change. Keep an open mind to the fact that any change in your life may affect other areas you didn’t plan for. Once again, be flexible, one change may inevitably send you on a chain reaction of changes. More times than not, the end result will put you in a healthier place then where you started, with more wisdom and understanding than you can imagine; enjoy the ride.
Going hand-in-hand with the previous two sections, it’s important to understand the purpose of your past and how it can affect the change you seek in the present. Whether you label your past experiences good or bad, each experience has taught you something about what you do or don’t want out of your life. These experiences shaped your perception on life and therefore shape how you react in the present.
However, when we are in the moment of any given situation we tend to perceive it on an emotional level. Putting emotions aside, I personally don’t believe in a bad experience; I believe each situation to be an opportunity to learn. Although, it may be hard to put emotions aside while currently involved in any given situation, that’s the beauty of reflecting on your past; without currently being in the situation, you will, more than likely, be able to see the lesson at hand, like an outsider looking in, and develop a realistic conclusion of the situation.
Caution: past unhealed traumas may bring up unhealed emotions. Do not run from this feeling. Remind yourself that you are no longer in your past situation and tell yourself that it is okay to let go of the emotions that you have held onto from the past. Understanding the growth that resulted from surviving your past trauma, will allow you to successfully heal, release your pent up emotions and allow yourself to move forward with your life.
Of course we don’t want to live in our past, this will prevent us from moving forward in the present but I personally believe understanding your past, will prevent you from reliving it in the future.
In Conclusion, in order to stay ahead of the process of change, remember to:
· Stay true to yourself
· Accept your truths
· Know your worth
· Build your tribe
· Establish your goals
· Open your perception
· Learn from your mistakes
The last thing you’ll have to do is walk in the new light that you have created for yourself. Once you’ve completed this process once, it’ll be a little easier when it comes time to do it all over again; in a new area of your life. Change is one thing that is inevitable and resistance is just a stall tactic that makes the process longer and more difficult. Life is hard enough; make it easier on yourself, by accepting the inevitable.
I hope this article helps you to better understand the process of change. Stay tuned next week to the Four Wise Monkeys Blog and meditate with me on ‘Invoking/Accepting Change In Your Life’.
Sending you all love and light on your healing journeys!