Maybe we all start out thinking that life is about changing the world around us to suit our wants and desires.
I spent many years of my early career trying to change the organisation I worked in and the culture that was very different to my values and how I wanted to operate. Eventually I realised that actually I needed to make a change for myself and I left and went to work in for an organisation that was aligned with my values and the people worked the way I wanted to work. Life became easier and filled with more meaningful challenge and growth and I felt like I belonged for the first time.
I came across this quote a few years back that I love and for me sums up the concept of change.
Yesterday I was clever and I wanted to change the world, Today I was am wise so I am changing myself – Rumi
We all have points in our lives where we feel the world is not the way we expected, and we become unhappy/unfulfilled. To step forward and begin changing yourself is to take responsibility for your own happiness and well-being. Often it seems easier to just accept ourselves as we are and to continue to feel helpless in life’s ups but especially in life’s downs. We perhaps give up for a time and just let life roll over us.
If we accept that our happiness is our responsibility not our partner or spouses, not our friends and family and certainly not some higher power or some automatic right of being born….. we have progressed to take ownership of our well-being.
For me taking responsibility for my well-being beyond the basics involved training as a yoga teacher, putting into practice daily yoga and meditation and stretching my learning further into the core of my life.
I learnt over the years that beating myself up over my mistakes was damaging rather than helpful and meant that while I was being hard on myself I was less compassionate to others. Once I learnt to approach my lapses/less desirable behaviours without shame and instead to be curious about how I could adapt them I softened and became more able to connect with others who wanted to share their own struggles and ideas about their future.
Changing our habits can sometimes seem daunting, especially when they are habits that have been with us since childhood. Some of these patterns are deeply held and we don’t even know why they exist anymore, although at one point they made sense to us. These might be over eating, worrying constantly about the future or the past, being unable to maintain healthy levels of stress or exercise or putting off dreams of success or lifestyle.
Changing long held habits can be done with small amounts of change in our daily routines. Part of the trick is to replace them with small actions which are easy and do not require any recollection of ‘the right’ behaviours.
Finding your true motivations and tapping into these to produce change is something that I find fascinating and I love it when I see my clients gain ‘Aha’s’ which enable them to see things very differently and come up with options and solutions which they had never thought of before. Even better when they implement them and feel the benefits daily.
Is there something you have not been able to change or some dream you have yet to realise and are not sure where to start? Lewis Carroll said it best I think.
“Begin at the beginning and go on until you reach the end: then stop”
I believe life is too short to allow yourself to stay stuck rather than being willing to take risks and try something new. There is always someone in your life who will support or stretch you to change the world around you by changing yourself.