We often initiate change from a place of deficiency. I’m out of shape; I need to go on a diet. I’m unhappy at work; I need to find a new career. I lost my job; I need to find a new one.
That’s a common and normal motivation for change. It’s also rarely effective over the long haul.
Why not? Because when we approach change this way, we actually unleash two competing energies: one seeks change, and the other promises to punish us if we don’t succeed. This results in a state of internal dissonance, which is what happens when we hold competing beliefs about something. In time, the prospect of punishment and accompanying feelings of fear and guilt and shame overwhelm our good intentions. Our souls are like a stringed instrument with two strings just off, vibrating in that way that makes the oscilloscope bounce all over the place.
That state of clashing energy won’t sustain us in the long term. Deterrence maybe works in the criminal code, but it’s rarely good for our souls. We’re better off changing from a place of internal harmony. I know that sounds touchy-feely, but don’t worry, we aren’t going to hold hands and sing Kumbayah. We just need to learn to make change from a place of being internally in tune.
Trying to make change under the glowering specter of judgment doesn’t promote harmony. If we don’t move past the initial shock of the wakeup call and get to a more sustainable internal place, then achieving the change we want is going to be a tough slog of one step forward, two steps back. Sucking it up and gutting it out can get us a long way, but it won’t get us all the way home.
How about we try something different? How about we try the kind of change that comes when our souls get on the same frequency as our dreams and plans and intentions? How about we make changes by responding to a genuine internal urge to be and do and have what we want?
We can do that by practicing Change Without Judgment.
To be continued.