Do you know what it feels like to be stuck? Are you spinning your wheels with the same stories rolling over in your head, again and again? In The Book of Secrets, Deepak Chopra says; “It’s impossible to be new and old at the same time, yet we all wish we could stay the way we are while changing in ways we desire. This is a perfect formula for getting stuck.”
I think many of us can relate to wanting to make a change. I desired change for many years, but I just didn’t know how. I thought about change every day, yet every day I found myself in the exact same spot as I had the day before. I longed to make a big career move, yet I was terrified of losing the financial security I had grown so accustomed to. I was worried about what my husband would think, I was worried about what my mother in law would think, I was worried about what my friends would think, and I was worried about what my boss would think. I was worried about everyone except myself.
That feeling of stuckness was so familiar that for a long time I feared I would be that way forever. Sometimes even with strong willpower and motivation, we can’t effect change, and we keep on being stuck. Did you know that our bodies are actually programmed to repeat conditioned behaviour and to cope with situations in the exact same way that we’ve coped with situations in the past? This means that the program of our bodies is working against us and will continue to cycle the same old actions again and again.
And the bad news gets worse: The program that most of us are running off of is one that we acquired from our parents, society, and those around us. We behave the way we behave because of outside circumstances. And that might not be a bad thing – we might even have had great childhoods, but we could still be living a story that we didn’t exactly invent. We might be living a story from things we’ve inherited. Deepak says: “Each of us needs to see that we are living the aftereffects of someone else’s old choices.” So with the odds stacked against us, how then do we change?
You’ve got to be willing to let something go in order to make a change in your life. The more you can let go of what’s holding you back, the more rapidly and exponentially you’ll allow yourself to shift and change.
In practical terms, what does this look like? For me, a big part of my inability to change was rooted in keeping up this image of perfection I had created for myself and the outside world. I didn’t want anything to change except I wanted to change everything. I’d made a career out of using control tactics to ensure a certain outcome for my life, so letting go of the ‘perfect me’ terrified me. But as I started to listen to my own feelings, and hear some of the stories I was telling myself, I was able to see that what was holding me back was really just my own fear. No one else was holding me back, but me.
Deepak writes about an infant who’s been crawling for months and starts to explore walking. As the baby finds her legs and takes her first steps, she has to let go. She doesn’t know if she’ll be successful at this new thing called walking, but she tries anyway. The baby lets go, tries, falls, and gets back up again.
This is what we have to do as adults when seeking change. You see? You have to let go of something if you want to change. There won’t be any space for the new until you shed some of what’s holding you back. You can’t stay with the old if what you crave is new. So what can you let go of? What stories are you telling yourself? Are you hanging onto an image of yourself and your life that may not be working? Are you carrying trauma that is ready to move? Can you shift your perception of some of those stories? Is where you’re at right now an opportunity to tell a new story and see with new eyes?
The good news is that the science is clear that we aren’t necessarily stuck with the programs we’ve accumulated. Awareness is the first step in shifting your energy. Ask yourself the tough questions that maybe you’ve been avoiding, allow yourself to acknowledge what’s coming up for you inside, and begin to let go of any stories that no longer resonate with you.