Change Requires Real Commitment

“I've never seen any life transformation that didn't begin with the person in question finally getting sick of their own bullshit.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

Real change requires commitment. People who find the impetus to make lasting, significant changes in their lives usually do so because they can’t stand the way things are and will do anything to improve them. I’ve seen several clients who had a glimpse of what their lives might look like if they were able to move beyond their depression or anxiety and scampered quickly back to the uncomfortable status quo. “Better the devil you know…” etc..

Why? This doesn’t make sense. Wouldn’t everyone rather be happier? Not necessarily. The uncomfortable feeling of not doing anything to move forward or be happy is unpleasant. But it’s familiar, and therefore somehow comforting. A depressed individual will often live within a self-defeating life infrastructure because they have been trying to survive life rather than thrive in it. Also, the fear of change and improvement carries the risk of alienating or even offending the strong personalities whose negative input may have installed or reinforced a limiting life circumstance in the first place. Of course, these personalities are very often family members. Some theories suggest that this includes ancestors (see “It Didn’t Start With You” by Mark Wolynn).

Another aspect to this resistance to change is the realization that if you no longer have the excuse of the depression, the PTSD or other condition, you’d have to change other aspects of your life. To be eased out of these conditions can feel like having the crutches kicked away – now you have no excuse not to walk. Exciting to some, but scary to others.

But just as you can be accustomed to living with depression, anxiety and PTSD, a life without those and other symptoms can become normal and familiar too. Very often, habits change by themselves without any real effort being made. Very often it will be family members who notice and report changes to an individual undergoing this work. Maybe they are not as quick to express anger or show impatience with other drivers in traffic. Sometimes, a close friend will be surprised to hear more laughter than usual or the suggestion to go out and be sociable rather than stay at home. Clients have reported less tendency to drink alcohol or smoke pot to control anxiety. As much of the work is built around practicing Presence, learning to anchor good feelings becomes second nature. The goal is to fall in love with life.

Elizabeth Sloan