If you want to master your life, first must come your willingness to master change.
Which is harder staying the same or changing?
Change is an ever present and constant force of nature. The nature of the physical is change.
When we are resisting change we are looking to understand and gain knowledge. Life is our journey of inner growth.
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 saying to ourselves to slow down and take a moment to understand the circumstance.
When we surrender to change, we are in the natural flow of life. The journey to the mastery of change is the journey of inner evolution.
Master change the productive way
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 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 counselor 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 preach.
The hardest lessons have been learned while raising my own two children. In some ways, I had to throw out most of everything I “knew” from my family of origin and learned a different way to be as a parent.
Combining what I have learned through my life journey, as a Licensed Professional Counselor, and studies at the School of Metaphysics, I have developed and continue to practice and hone the following steps of mastering change.
I hope my journey can offer some form of understanding for your own life.
Benjamin Franklin said “death and taxes are inevitable” and I say “so is change”. Remember the nature of the physical world is change.
Everything that is created in the physical world within moments begins deteriorating and therefore 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 improving personality qualities, change and its mastery is part of that process.
What are the steps of mastering change and how can we best use this information to become our ideal self?
10 steps to master change
(Disconnect from your world – yes even digital).
Be present in the moment.
When we take the moment to become still we have an opportunity to really understand our own thoughts. Our thoughts are who we are.
To change our needs is to be honest with where we are. We can’t master change if we can’t master ourselves.
What are our thoughts and beliefs? These have produced the reality of our today. Our inner thoughts have manifested the world that 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?
Stillness was not something I thought possible for myself. I was a huge multi-tasker with a short attention span.
My memory and concentration were very poor. I began to learn how to calm the mind and still the constant thoughts. What occurred was the connection to my inner self.
This led to wanting more of that time of stillness where peace seemed to reside.
A little mind training helps us get into the right perspective for adapting to the changes that life brings:
2. What is the story or event?
Write down the story or situation without judgment to self or others.
This is the time to really express everything that might have occurred not only in the content but adding details and emotions.
Allow truth and honesty to be present. It is so important to be very honest not only with what has occurred but how you feel.
I experience this when I looked at the past and it’s lasting effects. Carrying and reliving these stories had major effects on relationships and my connection to others.
3. Observe your emotions if you want to master change
Sit with the emotions and observe. Not only is it important to understand thought, emotions have equal value.
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 denied emotions then we are essentially denying a part of ourselves.
For me expression of emotion resulted in being hurt or ignored by my biological father.
My mother had issues with mood regulation. She would be up and joyful and then depressed and withdrawn.
I internalized that emotions were not to be trusted. My emotions would be shoved down and ignored or burst out uncontrollably. This only further validated that I could not trust them.
Reflect on where I have experienced a similar situation/emotion.
Where did this happen to me in my childhood? Where did I do this to myself today?
Where do I do this to other people today or in the past? Now is the time to be open and allow what memories to come to you.
The only way we can understand how to work with and master change is to know the details. In reflection we can see similar patterns, maybe habits or behaviors, and any limiting thoughts.
As an adult this poor understanding of pain and emotions lead to food addictions, activities that numb the pain, and mentally checking out from situations. I had to explore why the childhood trauma affected my ability to connect, open to intimacy, and trust others.
5. Identify limiting thoughts
Identify any ego minded interpretation, limiting thoughts, and underlying beliefs holding understanding back.
These ideas have helped you 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 survive many events in your life.
This time look at these thoughts, behaviors, and ideas and ask if they are still serving you? Do these thoughts align with the idea you have for your change or creation? If not how can this be modified?
There were many thoughts that limited my ability to love myself.
Thoughts around that I was not worthy of receiving love. These thoughts in my teenage years lead to some very dark places.
As an adult I was constantly working to measure up. If I could prove I was good enough then maybe someone would love me.
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 you 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.
This was a difficult step for me because I did not understand acceptance.
In reality I wasn’t accepting myself; therefore, I did not understand how to accept the situation.
I had to come to terms with loving myself today as I am. Loving myself in a way that I do not have to measure up for another. Accepting that my life today is just exactly where it needs to be.
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 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.
I forgave my childhood trauma so that I could live. I did not want to survive anymore; I wanted to thrive. I wanted to be free. Forgiveness is about me.
8. Ideal action
What do you want to evolve?
What do you want in your life?
Decide what thoughts you want to bring to the future? Now we can decide the course of action in a state of response instead of reacting.
We have a choice.
And as we choose, we understand any effect or consequences of that choice. Every choice has influence.
I chose to have a different life. I chose to raise my children differently. I chose to have a loving and lasting marriage. I chose to create a life that nurtured and loved myself and my journey.
9. Monitor your thoughts and behaviors
Catch negativity and bring thoughts back to the ideal (best possible version you would like to be).
This takes attention to your present moment and internal thoughts. Especially when the negative self-talk begins quickly. Stop and bring the focus back to what you want to create.
I would constantly say “I am sorry” over every day things.
I would have Inner talk such as, “I am so stupid” or “Why can’t I do that?”
My understanding of my thoughts was about lack of self-love and I was creating the life around me confirming my lack of self-love. I was the only one responsible to change this. This had nothing to do with anyone else.
10. Gratitude and thankfulness
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 has value, and a lesson to be learned then 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 the lesson in every situation then we will cause inner change and evolution, we can have positive impact on our families, communities, and in the world.
You can be the change maker.
This was significant for me. I was always learning even in good and in difficult times, who I am today and is the reason I spent my life helping others.
My parents did their very best and I am grateful to be able to connect with others knowing the pain they experience. It gives me a greater depth in loving others along their journey.
Being a change maker
There was a great therapist named Dr. Murray Bowen who developed Family Systems theory in counseling.
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.
(Hold your thought or idea of what you want in your mind. Hold steady to the change that you want to create no matter the difficulty that might arise.)
When the changemaker stays steady on the course, the whole system will adapt to the change.
Even wonderful changes and positive movement can sometimes scare people. They prefer to stay in the known hell then to move into peace. Hold steady on your vision of that change so that you can see the end result.
Since the 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 the physical nature.
This is a journey worth taking. Finding your path on how you create and master change in your life is an important skill in creating the life you want.
Leo Babauta of Zen Habits shares a method and six week program for dealing with life struggles in his book Essential Zen Habits: Mastering the Art of Change, Briefly