When you make a change, something has to go. (Raymond Chandler)
Most of us desire some major change in our lives; perhaps in the area of health, or finances, or relationships, or any/all of those. What we need to realize about any major change in our circumstances in life causes other changes as well. And, if a major area of our life changes something else has to go away. That usually involves an actual change in our very basic identity. We humans do tend to identify with our circumstances, and begin to define ourselves by those circumstances.
To quote David Burns, M.D., author of the multimillion best-selling book, Feeling Good, “Negative thinking patterns can be immensely deceptive and persuasive, and change is rarely easy.” To change a deeply rooted part of your identity can be very difficult. Oddly enough, even if that identity is negative; say an identity in which you secretly feel inferior to others, it can seem very strange to suddenly feel and function as highly confident person. You might feel very strange . . . like something is not right. You will likely also feel a sense of loss, if your old identity stars to leave..
We might be very uncomfortable with something or many things in our lives; but for many people, the struggle to survive and overcome is the pattern in life to which they are accustomed. To actually achieve real victory over the illness, or the lack of purpose, or that lack of finances would involve a very large and profound change over a “comfortable” life pattern (i.e., rut). It would also be similar to the death of the self that you have known much or all of your life. No one wants to experience a loss in their life, especially the loss of your familiar self.
Humans rarely embrace change in their lives. It can feel strange and uncomfortable, and even a positive change can cause many people to sabotage that change so that they can return to the familiar. I have experienced this myself, and I have known many friends who have as well. It can feel as if you are not being you; at least not the you that you have known all of your life. You can choose to stay the course, grieve the loss of the old self, and embrace the new self; or you can sabotage the positive change that has come into your life and return to the familiar and somewhat comfortable old patterns.
Prepare yourself to feel very differently about yourself. Frequently imagine yourself having strong confidence, feeling healthy, being successful in fulfilling a passion in your life, and being unapologetically fulfilled in life. See what images come up for you as you imagine others’ reactions to the new you (not all will be positive). Imagine what you will think and feel as a result of the changes in your life and sense of self-worth. Think of how you can impact others with your new self.
Go ahead, become the you that you were truly created to be.
Christopher Knippers, Ph.D. February 22, 2017
P.S. For those of you who are also big fans of the book, Letters f the Scattered Brotherhood: “Stand at your full stature, and deny anything that is not of God!”