Many folks claim they want to heal. However, what they actually seek is less pain and suffering. This is an important distinction.
Many folks hunger for a magic bullet to alleviate their discomfort, the frustration they experience at work, at home, even at play, and, of course, in their relationships. They search for the quick fix: a chemical remedy through a prescription or over-the-counter medicine or a non-chemical-(usually) socially-acceptable remedy as in food, alcohol, television, sex, or surgery or son-surgical procedure. All of this is done to mask their discomfort and treat their symptoms. Pop the pill. Eat the food. Take the drink. Have sex. Experience the procedure. The discomfort disappears. They may move back to some sense of normalcy, but certainly not towards healing. How so?
Healing can be scary
True healing can be scary and threatening. Why?
True healing requires more than feeling normal again. True healing requires us to ask (and answer!):
1. In what ways do I contribute to my own discomfort? How am I responsible for the situation (mental, emotional, spiritual, psychological, social, financial, health, etc.) in which I find myself?
2. Which of my thoughts, beliefs, preconceptions, values, expectations, assumptions, “stories,” choices and actions are responsible for the imbalance, dis-harmony and unhappiness I’m experiencing in my life at work, at home at play or in my relationships?
3. Am I willing to make the necessary life changes, including taking action to reduce and eliminate my sense of imbalance, dis-harmony and unhappiness?
Simple, right? But, not easy, which is why many folks often think, or obsess, about change but rarely take positive and sustaining action to effect true and real change at 9:00 Monday morning. As one coaching client told me early on in their change process, “I’m thinking about getting ready to get started.” Hmmm.
Ego and change
What’s the real deal about healing? What stands in the way of most folks’ willingness to change is ego.
Ego is necessary. Ego supports us as we navigate how we live our lives. Ego includes our personality, our individuality. Ego helps us to pretend we are individuals. Ego helps us remember where we left our wallet, what we need to buy for dinner and what time the team meeting is. Our ego defines our thoughts, beliefs and assumptions.
Ego believes that its ultimate responsibility is to keep us safe and protect us from harm of any sort – mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and/or psychological. The lenses through which the ego views the world tend to see the world as scary and hurtful. Because of this, we spend much of our life defending ourselves against others whom we perceive as judging, being critical of, or threatening us in some way, shape or form.
Consider (honestly): how many of our moment-to-moment thoughts are healing or loving thoughts? How many are fear-based, judgmental or negative thoughts? For most folks, it is the latter. If we’re being honest here.
Remember, our ego’s job is to feel safe and secure. When we contemplate changing our (ego’s) beliefs, thoughts, “stories” and preconceptions, etc. about our life and living in the world, our ego becomes scared. In subtle and insidious ways, our ego works to insure that we continue to think, believe, and behave exactly as we have in the past. Why? Change is hurtful to our ego; it wants us to feel its acting on our behalf, to keep us safe, by “not acting,” i.e., not changing, not healing.
Our ego believes that even our most painful, self-sabotaging or limiting beliefs which we cling to are necessary because the small (or great) amount of pain that we experience as a result of these thoughts, actually protects us from a much bigger pain – a “death” in some way, shape or form.
When we consciously consider creating true and real change, we assume there is something bad or wrong about our current thoughts or beliefs (and resulting behaviors). This triggers our ego which goes into protection mode. We spend lots of time beating ourselves up for thinking we are, in fact, bad or wrong for what we have been thinking or believing, or how we have been behaving, for much, or most of, our lives.
Allowing and resistance
For true and real change to exist, we have to allow our beliefs, our thoughts – whatever they are – to take shape in our minds. Then we observe them and allow them. We do not judge them. We don’t beat ourselves up over them. This action quiets the ego and our Inner Judge and Critic – who wants us to feel small, invisible, scared, wrong and bad.
When our ego understands there is actually nothing “wrong” with our thoughts or beliefs (they just “are”), resistance fades. We grab hold of the freedom and the opportunity to introduce new thoughts and beliefs and, with these, we create the capacity to make new choices, and take new actions.
We created most of the limiting and painful beliefs we hold about ourselves and the world during our childhood. We employed whatever resources we had at that time, so we could feel safe, secure and garner mommy and daddy’s (and later, others”) love, attention, acceptance and approval.
Our beliefs worked then as children and as we matured through adolescence to adulthood. However, many, if not most, don’t work so well now. We need to update them.
The bottom line is that we can change our words, our thoughts and our beliefs. We can, in fact, change our lives at work, at home, at play and in relationship by creating new, supportive thoughts and beliefs by choosing to do so and then taking action that supports our new way of thinking. That is healing.
If you really do want to heal, that choice is yours to make. What better time than now?
Some questions for self-reflection:
- What stories do you tell yourself that keep you from making true and real change in your career, home, health, play or relationship areas of your life? Do you recall having any of these beliefs when you were young? What beliefs prevent you from experiencing change in your life?
- Do you ever follow your intuition, your “gut?” Do you trust your intuition? What’s that like?
- Do you constantly beat yourself up? Why? Would you allow your friends and colleagues to speak to you the way your Inner Judge and Critic speaks to you? Do you constantly judge yourself as bad, wrong or not good enough in some way? Why? Really, why? When did you first start doing that?
- The average person has 16,000 thoughts a day. Would you characterize the majority of yours as healing (love-based) or killing (fear-based)?
- Did you ever simply observe your thoughts without getting caught up in them, or in a “story” about them? What’s that like?
- What one or two debilitating or limiting beliefs would you like to update right now? Can you do it? Will you? What will support you? What barriers will stand in the way?
- What one or two baby steps can you take this week or next to make changes in your life by creating new thoughts and beliefs about your Self and then taking action?
- What beliefs do you have about: career, teamwork, meaningful work, money, health, men, women, relationships, appearance, fun, chores, children, personal or spiritual growth, marriage, clothes, hair, pets, etc.? Do these beliefs bring you true and real happiness (be honest) or pain and suffering (be equally honest)? If the latter, why do you continue to hold these beliefs and allow them to run your life? If the latter, how can you begin to heal yourself?
(c) 2020, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful. Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.
What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”
I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.
I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com
You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda