Change is difficult! We all have had the experience of being where we are,
not liking it, but unable to mobilize ourselves to do anything about it. People
who are smokers, overeaters, gamblers, diabetics, frustrated workers, in
bad relationships, etc…..have all had the experience of “knowing” they
should change their behaviors or situation, but the knowledge alone not
being enough to do anything differently
. The smoker knows they should
stop, the overeater knows they are increasing health risks, as does the
diabetic, yet information does not make anything different happen. These
otherwise intelligent, rational beings, know how to solve many of life’s
problems, but when it comes to behaviors attached to hidden emotions, it
seems like their usual tools for coping just don’t work! Often they criticize
themselves, for “knowing” better but just can’t pull the trigger on change.
“What’s wrong with me”! That’s what we say to the self, but the truth is it is
not a matter of what’s wrong, it is a matter of understanding a little about
the process of change. One element of change is called AMBIVALANCE.
Simply put, every change we consider carries with it a voice in the head
that can see a reason not to change and a reason to change. This is the
normal experience around change and feels like to opposing forces of the
same strength pushing and pulling at each other. Frustrating! It’s human
nature to want and not want two things at the same time.
What can we do? First, acknowledging and accepting ambivalence as a
“normal” part of change is a good start. Second, going from this “either/or”
thinking bounces around and around with no possible solution, unless we
open it up and start to consider “this AND that.” See what it feels like to say,
for example, instead of “I know I am overweight BUT just can’t stop eating”
(black-white/either or thinking) to “I know I am overweight AND I just can’t
Discover the difference yourself with this more inclusive
thought process. Words affect the brain and body, and most people
experience an openning up in their head and relaxing response in their
body, as they have stopped “pitting” the two thoughts against each other.
Good place to start, and more to come on change in future Newsletters
Happy and Peaceful Holidays!