You are going to do it this time, you are going to lose that weight, dust off your resume and get out of your soul sucking job, stop getting into dysfunctional relationships and a myriad of other changes that have to be made. Perhaps you grab a self-help book or take a course. You read through all the great advice they have on the topics and you implement a few, but then you don’t lose weight, you don’t get a new job and you find yourself in yet another bad relationship.
Why do we repeat the same cycle year after year and for some of us decade after decade? It’s not what you’re doing – it’s what you’re not doing.
You can’t move forward until you dig deeper and root out and rectify underlying beliefs, fear, and lack of worth and on and on. When you pull a weed out of your garden and the weed grows back, it’s because you did not make sure the whole root was out. You just pulled off the top. Reading self-help books and implementing a few well-intended tips are just cropping off the top of the weed.
What does it take to make real transformation? Pull that pesky weed up by the root.
Check your ecology. How often do you step back and just observe? When we are in the middle of an issue or thought process it’s hard to totally see what is happening because we are too close. You can take a moment and ask yourself a few questions:
Is this behavior, belief, thought, emotion, serving me well?
Is this an empowering or disempowering belief?
How does what I am feeling right now effect my relationship with others?
Just a few simple questions will help you check the consequences of your thoughts and feelings. Which in turn can help develop strategies to disengage from a belief system and ways of work that do not serve you well or move you forward.
Transformation is a continual process of letting go. What do you need to let go of to make real change? For me it was the stories I told myself about why I could not create a life I could love. Once I realized my stories were holding me back I changed them to be more empowering and less about who had wronged me and how badly I had been treated. I stopped using my stories to blame others and put the responsibility on me. (Where it belongs.)
Think about how you would describe yourself. Do you see yourself as a victim or a martyr? Do you think you are unlucky or maybe no one likes you? Think about your experiences surrounding how you described yourself. How often did this “story” about you show up and you are able to say, “See I told you so, no one likes me.” Perhaps what is happening is your reality is chasing that story. If you don’t want to accept responsibly or you want to live in the past you are hiding behind your story.
Decide what is true for your life. For many years I could not understand why I felt the way I did after too much time spent with people. I thought there was something wrong with me and so did others. I was often called a snob or seen as shy. Neither of which is true. I have since discovered I am an introvert, which was a relief. But the biggest turning point came when I decided to be true to my nature. I no longer feel the need to live up to my extroverted friend’s level of energy, which made me tired, cranky and resentful.
When we shape-shift into what others need us to be or what we think they need us to be we drown out our true self. This can lead to all types of devastating consequences – overeating, drinking to excess, depression and etc.
Take empowered action. When we base a decision or action on a belief or emotion that is disenfranchising then we will make decisions that won’t move us forward. Once you take steps to move from faulty beliefs and the approval of others, empowered action is what comes without much effort.
As you make changes in your life there will be those who try to sabotage those efforts, whether covertly or overtly. So surround yourself with others who hold similar beliefs and have common outcomes in place. Also, understand why others may try to sabotage you and what you can do to minimize their efforts.
When you change others get nervous because their behaviors, emotions, feelings, etc., have been formed around yours. This is especially true in marriages and longtime partnerships. Expectations of behaviors are formed after many years and this make us feel safe and comfortable with our world. If I and my partner spent the evening after dinner watching TV and eating ice cream I know what to expect. If suddenly my partner decides to go to the gym after dinner my feeling of balance is changed. I might start to feel bad about myself because I need to change as well – so I engage in behavior that will sabotage my partner’s desire to become healthy.
Creating a life you will love or personal transformation, whatever that looks like to you, is a process. For me it was a two and half years of working through the five steps above. Is it hard? Yes, it can be. But in order to make real change – changes have to occur.
Shelly is a personal development strategist and founder of The Rescue Yourself Project helping women over 40 step into their unique selves so they can create a life they love! A few years ago, she found herself living a life that wasn’t of her making. Deciding that wasn’t what she wanted she ran away from home and spent eight months “re-branding” herself. Today Shelly helps women find their unique selves by becoming experts about their values, strengths, passions, goals and purpose so they can design a life they love.