MP3 Audio on why we resist the very change we desire
Fear of Emotional Change mp3 (30min)
I don’t want to condemn the possibilities for self help because just about any technique will work provided the desire to change is strong enough to overcome the obstacles. My point is that many of them don’t provide a comprehensive approach to deal with the obstacles and resistance that can show up. This leaves the person without the proper arsenal of tools and sets them up for failure.
If self help the way it is being done was really that effective it wouldn’t be such a growing industry. Rather it seems that the self help industry is much like the diet industry where most people go from one to the other without long term solutions.
Here is a simple example of a self help suggestion that is a set up for failure: “Let go of being right,” or, “Stop being critical.” Implementing this “simple” change can do wonders when it is accomplished, but these are difficult changes to implement by themselves. Most people will struggle or fail with their attempts, here’s why.
I use these two together because they have the same obstacle. A person that criticizes is operating from the assumption that they are right. This point or view isn’t just about finding fault with others; it also props up a person’s ego. When a person believes they are right they feel better about themselves. It has the effect of building a person’s self esteem, and produces an sense of self acceptance in their mind. A positive self image is served and a person feels good about themselves when they believe they are right even if it is at another person’s expense. Probably the most powerful element in being right is the positive emotion one feels
For a person to drop their criticisms they would have to let go of their ego’s version of their positive self image. They would also have to move away from the good feelings this creates. That is not easy to do.
Add to that most people’s minds are conditioned to work in duality. Their unconscious mind is likely to assume that if they are not right, they must be wrong. When their mind assumes they are wrong they project unconscious self images of being a failure. This is an emotionally unpleasant association that is to be avoided. Letting go of being right is more than walking away from a mind set that feels good, it means walking into an emotion of feeling bad. This isn’t the only option but most people’s mind’s automatically split behaviors into right/wrong and good/bad associations.
A person may want to change, but the emotional consequence is too high. Often a person will try to stop being critical, fail, and then beat themselves up for failing because of an emotional obstacle they didn’t see. These unseen obstacles in the mind make progress with self help techniques slow or non-existent. A decision to change a behavior isn’t likely to be effective if there are subconscious agreements that associate this change with being unhappy.
An effective way around this obstacle is to first develop an emotional base that isn’t founded in being right. The free session on Gratitude is a simple practice that builds a secure emotional base needed to make other changes. When the mind doesn’t have to cling to an imagined self image to feel good it becomes easier to let go of being critical.
To assume that you can adopt a different thought process without changing the beliefs that form your thoughts is a naïve approach to making real change. An anorexic person doesn’t drop the belief that she is overweight just by thinking the idea “I am thin”. You might feel like you have done something for the moment, but behaviors and core beliefs probably haven’t moved any.
Can affirmations work? These are the phrases you consciously tell yourself over and over until you actually become aligned with those thoughts. Can these work for some people? I suppose they can but most people do not have the patience and discipline to continue with them to be effective.
I vividly remember a man describing his experience with affirmations in an effort to overcome his insecurities. Each morning in front of the mirror he would tell himself, “I am a man, and a man is a wonderful thing to be.” When he did this all the beliefs of unworthiness in his mind would counter back with judgments that his affirmation was a lie and that he was stupid for saying it. He felt like a fool. His core beliefs were speaking loudly against his positive affirmations. Each time he affirmed his new thought his old beliefs would assert themselves and counter his efforts. He continued saying the affirmation and after 2 years he stopped feeling foolish. He no longer felt like he was lying into the mirror. I personally don’t have the patience for this approach.
Putting on a positive attitude or adopting positive thinking without changing the underlying core beliefs isn’t likely to bring sustained change. It is a lot like putting a new coat of paint over material that is rusting and peeling. For the new paint to really take and be lasting you first need to clean up the core belief structure underneath.
"Suggested exercise During a low stress day periodically take a break from what you are doing and write down the internal dialogue in your head. You are to look back over the writing and ask a series of questions to assess for any patterns and habits."
This part is a good opportunity to become aware of your thoughts and patterns. Greater self awareness will allow for greater opportunity for personal change. However he also asks you to make some assessments whether what you have written is positive or negative. This is a little dangerous as it can open the door for our inner judge to be harsh on ourselves. Here is part of what he suggests.
“As you look at your writing, answer this question: What kind of a friend are you to yourself throughout the day?”… “You’re the one who talks to you, all day, every day. What kind of friend are you? Are you actively creating a toxic environment for yourself, contaminating your experience of the world? Or are the messages that you send yourself characterized by a rational and productive optimism?”
This assignment has a potential upside for some people IF they are able to read what they wrote, AND they can see the beliefs behind the thoughts without believing them!, THEN, they have an opportunity to dissolve these beliefs. However not many people will be able to do this the first day out. Besides, these suggestions aren’t offered nor are the steps to take in dissolving a belief.
Becoming aware of the internal dialogue is a step in expanding your awareness and an important step in permanently changing the emotional quality of your life. You can’t change something until you are aware of it. However you want to have effective tools and skills available for dealing with what you find in your internal dialogue. Probably the most important skill is to refrain from letting the critical voice in your head take you down with self judgment. In Audio Coaching course I provide number of exercises to neutralize the sabotaging voice in our mind.