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When Change Is Painful But Being Stuck Is More Painful

We have all been there. We are so resistant to change because it seems so troublesome. It costs too much. It is too disruptive. It is going to hurt some people. Our lives may even be turned upside down.

Yet we feel so stuck, without the change.

We are more resistant to the change if we feel that we can live with the status quo. We take these measurements in our minds, and we weigh the pros and the cons to the changes, and our hearts tell us that it is ok to let things be.

But we know that the day will come when we have to confront the truth. That we are feeling stuck. And nothing is working right in our lives. Everything seems to be falling apart, from our well being, our self-care, our work to our finances.

Somehow that day is not today. That day will be someday.

I know someone who has been stuck in his marriage for close to three decades, totally unhappy. And he and his spouse are not even living together anymore, they are not even on speaking terms. But they still have not spilt their assets or officially ended the relationship. They are both stuck in a place where neither can move on. The relationship may be beyond redemption and what is it about our resistance to free ourselves?

According to neuroscience researchers, the reasons why we resist change is due to Human Evolution. Our ancestors relied heavily on social belonging for survival for food and shelter and if they were ousted from their social group, the chances of survival are lower. So our brains register change as a threat to our well being. Interesting, isn’t it?

So in the modern-day that we live in, we see this adage: Change is a constant in life. Yes, we may know it intellectually, but emotionally we have not caught up.

So as people on the path of personal and spiritual development, the key things we need in order for the change to take place in a less resistant way are:

  1. Self-awareness — that indeed change is necessary. And yes, being stuck is more painful than the change
  2. Prep ourselves for the changes by intellectually drawing out a plan of how the changes will take place, how it will impact you and others in your life, what kinds of disruptions will happen and how to overcome them. Do all of these intellectually.
  3. Now, with the plans in place. We need to train ourselves emotionally. This is the trickier bit. And this is where the most resistance reside. In order to elicit a more positive response to the changes, we need to see and visualise the change on a daily basis. Set aside 10 mins each day to visualise the changes. Bring up feelings/emotions of the end outcome and how much freedom we are experiencing with the change.
  4. Point 3 requires commitment and discipline to stay the course. Some people may need additional help from a friend, a loved one or a professional who can be there with them, and counsel them through the process. Some our resistance has deeper roots connected to our past, childhood and maybe a whole lot of baggage, so they need to be overhauled so that we can lighten our load!

I am aware that I have made the above sound simplistic, but trust me when it comes to resistance, we do not need to complicate matters. We just need to convince the emotional parts of ourselves to get unstuck and let go and move with what we already know intellectually.

I have personally used this technique in countless areas of my life, from moving on in romantic relationships, working relationships, to moving homes. Because our brains think that change means a threat to our survival, I often feel and visualize myself thriving through it all which then lowers the resistance to change.

Try it, you may just find yourself in a more wholesome space.

© 2019 Shamala Tan

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