Many clients often present this question after years of seeking out support from professionals, self-help books and support groups. Often times, there are roadblocks to benefitting from counseling and/or self-help. Blocks such as
- the belief that you do not have control over your thoughts and feelings
- absolute exhaustion or fatigue from symptoms of depression
- fighting against the reality of your situation
- lack of energy or motivation
- False beliefs that lead to resistance
- Feeling stuck in old habits
So much of the answer to this question relates to the individual person. However, I can encourage this:
- Get Inspired by something
Increase your energy by increasing inspiring moments in order to “act as if.” There is a certain amount of pretending involved in this combined with discovering and doing the things that get you curious, interested and a bit excited. Elizabeth Gilbert, in all her brilliance, talks about finding a spark in her most recent book, “Big Magic.” As she puts it, doing a reverse cat scan; seek out the smallest things that bring you to curiosity. Then DO THEM, with a persistent faith that they Will lead you to the pot of gold.
- Challenge False Beliefs
Battle negative thoughts, such as “It’s not gonna work,” with New Intentions, like “I can do this.” In the documentary, “What the Bleep Do We Know,” physicists explain how we become addicted to our emotional states and thoughts. To follow through with implementing a change means we must sit with a literal “withdrawal” that is similar to a heroin addiction. The knowledge of this scientific fact might help you to cope with the discomfort. Know that it will pass. Imagine the benefits for you; the efforts are worth the discomfort.
- Fake it till you make it.
The practice of Doing Something Different is the key to changing these negative habits or patterns in our behavior. We actually create new neural pathways in our minds leading to the new beliefs by pretending initially.
- Radically Accept
What we know is that getting angry or upset about a situation prevents you from seeing what is really happening and then taking the steps needed to change the situation. The cycle of this anger causes more pain and a sort of paralysis, it does not improve the situation. The concept of radical acceptance suggests that we accept what we cannot control and we refocus on what we can do right now. This method brings clarity and inner peace and without it, we simply cannot push forward.
Perhaps there is a good reason why you want to control right now rather than learn. Maybe there is something you fear in opening to learning. Then begin by owning your part in making the change. Then, focus on inviting love, kindness and compassion. The intention here is OPENNESS. Opening your heart and opening to Learning. Without this opening, we are not allowing space for change.