Deciding to create a change in our lives takes courage. It often takes a new mindset, a new set of tools and a brave willingness to see ourselves differently. Human beings prefer their comfort zones. However, now and again we make (or are forced to make) the decision to move on; to grow, learn and make a “change” to how we think, feel and behave.
Change might happen quickly or slowly. There may be an abrupt event that occurs or there may be a process to change. Examples might be helpful here:
-A heart attack might help me quickly change my lifestyle choices.
-Hangovers, a DUI, damaged relationships and a lost job might eventually make me stop drinking.
Regardless of how the change comes about my being able to maintain it will depend on many factors.
1. How willing am I to experiment with new tools?
2. Am I clear on the new beliefs required to back up the new ways of being?
3. Has my subconscious mind accepted the new beliefs and identity?
4. Do the people who love and care for me (the apples in my apple cart) support the change?
One of the biggest challenges for people who create a change is dealing with the apples in their lives. Apples might be a spouse, children, extended family, friends, co-workers or employer. Apples do not necessarily support the change even when it is a move in a healthier direction. Sounds crazy right?
It might sound crazy but the reality is that our relationships are set up and held together through shared experiences. When one person changes, even for good, the apple cart begins to rock.
Why is this?
A) Becoming healthier means that other’s need to re-adjust their views, their judgments and their expectations.
B) It also often means that others now have to have a good look at how they themselves operate within the relationship. If a significant other has historically been the “stable” partner with a loving caretaking or even a grudging caretaking role, that identity will need to be fine-tuned.
Learning to see someone through new eyes is a challenge. Learning to see ourselves in relationship to how the other has grown is a bigger challenge. It rocks the apple cart. We can end up with bruised apples and even, apple sauce.
Why is this?
The subconscious mind will always prefer the path of least resistance. Everyone has a robotic subconscious mind. Sabotaging behaviours from partners are often an unconscious need to change things back to the way they were. Even if the old way was painful there was some level of stability in the lack of stability. That is, everyone knew what to expect and how to respond.
Responses from partners (and others) is one of the reasons that change can become a very private experience for many people. Creating a shift in ones identity is challenging. Dealing with the reactions from outside sources often compounds the challenge, when loving healthy boundaries are not set. When measures are not put into place to take care of the apple cart we can expect that some apples might topple off, get lost, or simply become bruised.
Often the focus and energy during the change process is extremely internal. Ah-ha moments are being experienced, a toe is being dipped into the water as new ways of being are rehearsed. Often the external environmental cues from others are misread or ignored completely.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when creating a change is to assume that the people around them will understand and support the change. Even positive changes require others to make some shifts or adjustments. Acknowledging and planning for this reality has to become part of the change process.