Change is hard. It’s f*king hard. It hurts. Kicking all your rocks uphill. Breaking the cement of your hard-wired broken brain. We don’t particularly like to think about changing either. We want to be accepted for who we are. We want to be loved as we are. And there’s something very important about that, about being content with yourself at your essence.
But, as with everything in life, things are not so black and white. The eternal paradox exists in the background. In the ying and yang of it all, we notice that we can and must love ourselves at our essence. And, yet still we can be longing for continued growth. After all, we evolved through forward motion. And, naturally, we desire forward motion in our own inner-worlds as well.
Even the most broken of us. The most self-sabotaging among us still long, deep inside for change. Still strive for it, even if many futile attempts have failed.
So, what makes it so gut-wrenchingly and painfully hard to change?
What is the resistance we immediately feel when we make a choice to change for the better?
By the time we grow to adulthood, we have developed patterns of behaviour, biological patters (including our nervous system), and brain pathways that we have used for years. These patterns have helped us survive. Somehow, someway, sometime, they assisted us with something. Maybe they helped us avoid pain, maybe they made us feel important, maybe they protected us from a perpetrator, maybe they made existing in our family of origin manageable. Maybe they just made life less boring. Because these patterns served an important purpose for us in a particular place in time, they became associated with our survival and our identity.
Our pathways are primal. They are part of us, and in turn they form our identity. Most of the time these pathways take the form of subconscious limiting beliefs or fears. And, it is our subconscious that drives our behaviours.
Growth, healing, and change is about uprooting these limiting beliefs, but first we must become aware of them. Discovering them is often shocking, terrifying, and transformational. It can happen little by little, in layers. Or, it can come crashing down on us in a moment through a major change or life event that forces us to re-evaluate who we are and what it all means.
Often times, we are naturally driven to re-evaluate this subconscious emotional world. We are always being guided toward change. Evidence of this is common in statements like “What does it all mean?” or, “I don’t even know who I am anymore”. These phrases represent a deep longing for something vast, a re-imagining of who we truly are. A calling toward our true self and deepest desires. A calling toward change. Moving out of societal and familial expectations into what is truly right for us on a spiritual level.
But we resist this change. Not because we don’t want it, but because we fear it. We fear what it will do to us, and to our relationships. We fear what it will say about us. We fear what it will mean for us. We tend to have deeply rooted meanings associated with changing for the better. And, at a visceral level, change can even mean death. Death of life as we know it. Death of ourselves as we know ourselves. And death brings grief.
But when we can face the change, the transformation, the grief, then we can be open to the morning dew on the other side. The metamorphosis of the self. And the feeling of being anchored right where you are supposed to be.