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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Embracing Change

It is always amazing to me how much we resist change, even when it is inevitable. Even when we are miserable and can barely hang on to the status quo. Is it that most of us always see the glass as half full? Are we truly eternal optimists and simply hold on to the belief that things will naturally get better? Or are we so stuck in existing patterns that we just don't know how to get unstuck? At moments in my own life I have felt like all I was doing was hitting my head against the wall, in the same place, over and over again. Why is it that real change appears more as the "Big Bang Theory", exploding into our lives and successfully imploding our current lives in the process?

We all know that we are changing constantly and that there is rare truth in the old adages "Nothing in Life is permanent; and the only constant is change".  Change is around us all the time. Our bodies remind us of it daily and yet we seem to resist it, even fear it. Only when events are out of our control or we just can't bear another moment of sameness and repetitive self-destruction in our lives do we face change and willingly embrace it.

Last July I knew I had to embrace change. I couldn't keep living my life in the same old way. I was too unhappy, had too many things wrong with me and was affecting too many people with my misery. A real pattern of anger...and fear... about the happenings of my life was influencing all parts of me from the inside out. I thought I had contained it, and done a good job of it for years, but it was an illusion. And there were so many obvious manifestations of my failure to contain it from the choices I was making about my life to the way I spent my free time. The most obvious was my weight...let's get real, my obesity.

I used eating as my way to contain the anger, frustration and fear in my life. I literally swallowed anger whole, barely chewing. I swallowed fear with each sweet. I forced down frustration with large quantities of any food I could find. I then got stuck with the habit and never got rid of the pain.

Many times I have attempted to change my habits but only superficially, and they only worked temporarily. Each time I started thinking, "This is it, today is the first day of the rest of my life". I truly believed by going on the latest diet or exercising regularly I would magically and permanently change myself. Truth is it just isn't that easy (although who in their right mind would EVER say going on a diet is easy!). So how do you do it? How does one go about changing themselves, fundamentally and permanently? It is obvious but not so apparent to me...or to most of us, it seems...We have to change from the inside out.

There is a great quote I came across that seems to sum it up- "If you want to change your life, change your mind". This past year I have set about to do just that, change the old stuck and nonconstructive, even destructive, patterns in my mind.