Change is an ever-present and constant force of nature. When we are resisting change, we are looking to understand and gain knowledge. When we push against something, we have the potential to learn more about that event and/or person.
Our resistance can be a way of telling ourselves to slow down and take a moment to understand the circumstances. When we surrender to change, we are in the natural flow of life. The journey to understanding the steps of change is the journey of inner evolution.
I have given my life to learning to cause productive change; to evolve.
My education began early
I was born into a family where abuse was rampant, and then in my grade school years, I was given a second chance in a loving and consistent home. My early adulthood was fraught with emotional pain. The bright side was that through it, I began to understand how I could break family patterns and evolve my way of thinking. I wanted to move beyond merely surviving to flourish and thrive.
I became a counsellor to deepen my understanding, and started helping others understand this journey as I put things into practice in my own environment. Life has given me many opportunities to practice what I preached. The hardest lessons have been learned while raising my own two children. In some ways, I had to throw out most everything I ‘knew’ from my family of origin and learn a different way to be a parent.
Combining what I have learned through my life’s journey as a Licensed Professional Counsellor, and my studies at the School of Metaphysics, I have developed and continue to practice and hone the following steps of change. I hope my journey can offer you some form of understanding for your own life.
Everything that is created in the physical world, within moments, begins deteriorating and changing. We humans seek out change in this ever-present drive to see what we want to create in life. Whether you want a different body, a successful business, a creative lifestyle or improved personal qualities, change is part of that process.
So what are the steps of change, and how can we best use this information to become our ideal selves?
9 steps to change
Move into stillness
Disconnect from your world—yes, even the digital one. Be present in the moment. When we take a moment to become still, we have an opportunity to really understand our own thoughts. Our thoughts are who we are, and to change our needs is to be honest with where we are.
What are our thoughts and beliefs? These have produced today’s reality. Our inner thoughts have manifested the world we have created around us. If we have not taken this inner journey to slow down and understand, reason and accept our thoughts, then how do we truly know where we stand?
Observe your emotions
Sit with your emotions and observe. It is not only important to understand thoughts—emotions have equal value.
Emotions are messengers. What are they telling you? Allow them. They are not good or bad, they just are. The emotional system allows you to connect in a deeper way with the things that are most important to you. If we deny emotions, we are essentially denying a part of ourselves.
Reflect on when you have experienced a similar situation/emotion. Where did this happen to me in my childhood? Where did I do this to myself today? Where did I do this to other people, either today or in the past?
Be open and allow memories to come to you. The only way we can understand how to create change is to know the details. In reflection, we can see similar patterns, habits or behaviours, and any limiting thoughts.
Identify limiting thoughts
Identify any ego-minded interpretations, limiting thoughts and underlying beliefs that hold your understanding back. These ideas have helped you get to this point in your life. These are not ideas that should be examined with shame and guilt. Many times, these ideas were created (in a sense) to help you survive many events in your life.
This time, look at these thoughts, behaviours and ideas and ask if they are still serving you. Do these thoughts align with the ideas you have for your change or creation? If not, how can they be modified?
Accept the lesson
What is the lesson learned in this situation? Ask yourself, “What is it about this person or situation that I value or appreciate?” Can you accept the situation as it is right now?
Many times, to be able to see options for change, we must move into acceptance. This allows us to accept all parts of the whole. We become more open to possibilities when we can accept where we are, the journey to this point and what we have learned along the way.
This state is about you, and not the other person or event. Forgiveness, including self-forgiveness, is a state of release that allows you to move forward. When we can move into the state of forgiveness, we allow for release.
I work daily with people who have lived through childhood trauma. This journey to forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person or situation. It has everything to do with you.
Decide on a course of action
How do you want to evolve? What do you want in your life? Decide what thoughts you want to bring to the future. Now, you can decide on a course of action in a state of response, instead of simply reacting. You have a choice. And, as we choose, we understand any effect or consequence of that choice. Every choice has influence.
Monitor your thoughts and behaviours
Catch negativity and bring your thoughts back to the ideal (the best possible version of yourself that you would like to be). This moves attention to the present moment and internal thoughts, especially when the negative self-talk begins. Stop, and bring the focus back to what you want to create.
This is a powerful state of being that allows the understanding of the lesson to permeate the self and body. In this state, we can appreciate the journey and the understanding of the lesson. If we hold that everything in life—whether we see it as negative or positive—comes with value and a lesson to be learned, we can learn how to respond instead of reacting to events in our lives.
Gratitude can help us hold that space where we can see the lessons faced in every situation. When we learn to see them, we will cause inner change and evolution, and we can make a positive impact on our families, our communities and the world. You can be the change-maker!
A journey worth taking
There was a great therapist named Dr. Murray Bowen who developed Family Systems Theory in counselling. He described what happens when someone makes a change in a family system. The change-maker can create change in the system, although the system will no longer be in homeostasis. There will be pushback from those around you to have you return to the way you were before the change.
When the change-maker stays steady on the course, the whole system will adapt to the change. Even wonderful changes and positive movement can sometimes scare people, as they prefer to stay with what’s familiar instead of moving towards peace. Hold steadily to your vision of change so you can see the end result.
Since our physical nature is change, when you choose to stay the same, you are pushing against this natural flow. This resistance can cause disruption, exhaustion and disharmony. When we learn to move with the natural flow, we begin to harmonize with our physical nature.
This is a journey worth taking. Finding your path towards change in your life is an important skill in creating the life you want.
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