If change were easy we’d have all morphed into spectacularly happy, successful and prosperous people by now, so why does the myth persist that all any of have to do is focus on what we want and like magic it will appear?
Besides the fact that change makes us feel uncomfortable, check out some of the reasons why change is not so easy.
Most of us are probably aware that if we want a better quality of life we have to change, to show up differently, to get a new perspective or a change of heart. Problem is none of us are comfortable with change and there are some very good reasons for that. One is that our brains are hardwired to resist change. And the second main reason is the software our brains have developed over time cause us to literally take the (neural) pathway of least resistance.
How many times have you decided on a new course of action like a new whizz band diet or exercise program? And how long did it last?
If you are like over 80% of the population, chances are a couple of weeks saw you revert back to your old ways.
Let’s look a bit deeper at why change is hard.
We don’t know HOW to change
On my journey to healing my childhood, many therapists told me I would have to forgive if I wanted to feel better and become emotionally stable.
My first question always was ‘How do I ACTUALLY do that?’ In my search for release I never came across any traditional therapist who could explain to me the exact process of how you let go and change. I tried everything that was suggested from letter writing, journals, mindfulness, expressing it and a host of other activities, but nothing happened. All I felt was anger that I didn’t want to let go of. Sure I could decide in my head and for a long time I believed I had let go of the pain. I was told to get in touch with my feelings. After a lifetime of blocking my emotions, that didn’t help me at all. I didn’t know how to change.
We are bogged down in unresolved emotions
Emotional pain is not easy to let go of. Emotional pain isn’t a thought. It is a feeling, so telling people to think their way out of it is ineffective and virtually impossible. We don’t truly know HOW to access buried emotions. When we experience trauma or emotional pain of any kind, instead of processing it, we bury it. We are told to get over it, forget them, move on, and other useless advice which actually helps to push it further under the surface of our conscious awareness. Those around us only have a limited tolerance for our emotional pain. We feel guilty for being so emotionally vulnerable and unstable, so we shove it deep down ‘where the sun don’t shine’. And there it stays. And we tell ourselves we are over it. But of course we aren’t.
We have a secondary gain issue
Secondary gain is when we subconsciously cling onto habits and behaviours that are in direct conflict with new behaviours or goals and with a reason that serves a purpose.
Conscious mind: “I am going to eat healthy food and lose my excess weight so I feel better about myself.”
Subconscious mind: “Oh no, that extra weight makes me feel safe from the advances of men as relationships cause pain. Pass the chocolate”
Conscious mind: “I really want to take my business to the next level.”
Subconscious mind: “Oh no, that will mean more work, I won’t be able to keep up, so I’ll sabotage myself by getting sick.”
Fear of change
When the mind is faced with the unknown it often chooses the known over that which is not. It is a safer path and just like secondary gain, this fear is designed to keep us safe. Wanting to feel safe is a major human driver of behaviour and a difficult one to side step.
This fear taps directly into the fear of failure, fear of rejection, of loss, of upsetting or hurting others and of the fear of success. The human mind hates fear and will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid it. And the way the brain is wired makes it all the easier to create resistance which in turn creates sabotage and procrastination. And we stay the same.
We believe our old programming
As children we take on beliefs and stories about ourselves and our attitudes towards life, like ‘I need to work hard, I’m not enough, I don’t deserve…..’ Believing our old programming to be true is one of the hardest blocks to get over, as these old ‘stories’ feel so real because they are often so deeply entrenched in our psyche.
And even though most of these ‘stories prove to be untrue at least intellectually, often we still feel them to be true and of course they affect us and hold us back in numerous ways. Beliefs are not easy to change, especially Core Beliefs as they seem like who we are and not simply how we think.
Truth is change is not easy, but it’s not impossible. To make effective and long lasting change we need to set a firm Intention and to have a no exist strategy in the pursuit of this change.
Change occurs when we start to unravel the stories that have limited us, but here’s the difficult part. That doesn’t happen overnight. We need to be prepared for the long haul and to learn how to rewire our brains for the results we want. And that all takes time.
The reason it’s hard to change is that we are rarely prepared for the effort it takes as we have fallen for the simple platitudes of positive thinking which can often lead to not taking the appropriate action to get the results we need.
Change is a given in the modern world so why not make it work in your favour by embracing it wholeheartedly and deliberately creating the type of change you want and if you need some help with that, let’s connect.