“I want my life to change.”
Do you, really?
It’s a blunt question, I know (so take it with a grain of gentleness).
It’s an important thing to ask yourself:
Do I really want to change, or am I saying that I want to change while really secretly deep down hoping that if I just say I want stuff to change, the external stuff will change and then I, myself, won’t need to do anything differently?
The thing is, true life change will require stripping away layers of our armor, defenses, and resistance to change. True change is usually painful, fumbling, and not much fun.
I am reminded of this question whenever I run up against my own Resistance. If I tell myself that I want to be more compassionate towards someone who is unkind to me, what (usually) happens the next time they piss me off?
Probably, I’ll go straight into an old fear pattern, such as thinking that if they would only be different, my life would be okay. The change isn’t immediate. Even when I remind myself that I’m trying to practice compassion, my resistance is right there to tally up the fifteen bad things they did and how I didn’t do any of those things and…
That’s how change really looks. Whenever you read someone’s glowing account of having shifted their life in 2.5 seconds, I guarantee you it was preceded by a time period of resistance. People tend to speak more of the A-ha than the resistance that preceded it, and how lost and hopeless that resistance can often feel.
True change means sitting with deeply, deeply uncomfortable feelings.
True change is a sort of death of an old self.
“Risk annihilation!” my Coach, Matthew Marzel, would always encourage. He meant, “Risk annihilation of an old self, to give birth to the new self that’s trying to become.”
Annihilation feels like death, because it is, and I don’t know anyone who thinks death is cozy.
This is why courage is so important: Feeling the fear (you’re not going to get out of that part), lean into it anyway (what else are you going to do–stay stuck?), transform (that’s what happens when we meet our edge).
You need courage to risk annihilation, to strip away the armor, to be with the crap that arises.
So you say you want your life to change? Excellent. The opportunities really are all around you–and not a single external thing needs to happen in order to for you revolutionize your life.
Take a deep look. The paradox is that when we stop expecting it to be easy, it usually becomes easier. When we stop expecting immediate changes, changes tend to happen, faster. When we stop expecting that there won’t resistance, it becomes easier for resistance to dissipate. Go ahead: risk annihilation.