Okay I just sat down to write a response to this question which I posed yesterday.
“Do you know something you should probably change about yourself but are resistant to change because you are afraid you will also lose something else core to who you are?”
…and the essay turned out to be much longer than I expected. But I think it turned out very well. If this is a question that resonates with you, I encourage you to read it all the way through.
So that thing about yourself that you know you should change, but don’t because you are afraid if you do, you will lose something core to who you are…yea that story…that story isn’t the real story.
Let’s take closer look…and find out what’s really going on.
The voice in your head probably goes something like this:
“There are some areas where my life isn’t working as well as I want it to work”…After some introspection and self reflection…”Oh it’s probably this thing X that is holding me back from the life I want.”
“Do I really want life to be better?
Yes I do.
Ok, I will work on changing or improving on X…”
Then the doubt sets in…”Oh wait, should I really change X?
I think if I change X that could make me lose Y, which is core to who I really am.
And I really don’t want to lose Y. I like who I am. I may not be perfect but I would never change who I really am.”
That’s a pretty damn good reason for not changing isn’t it? Not losing who you really are.
Why would you give up the small thing X, if Y is much bigger than X?
That’s not a good deal.
But there’s a catch…Y is just an illusion.
A trick. A trick that your deep, dark seated fears play on you, so they don’t have to come out into the light and open themselves to rational challenges. So they continue running your life, hidden from view, unbeknownst to you.
And these deep, dark seated fears, man, they’re just so…they’re just so damn effective! That’s why so many people never escape the fear that runs their life. The fear that keeps their life in the cage they call home.
I mean you were all pumped up about changing X in your life. You were all pumped up about the bigger, brighter future waiting on the other side of your improvement. And then fear told you a story about how you’d lose Y and stopped you dead in your tracks. And the deadening normalcy of the status quo persisted. And persisted. And persisted. And you didn’t even realize all this stagnation was just the result of succumbing to fear’s clever illusion.
What is this illusion?
Changing X won’t actually cause you to lose Y.
If you’re changing for the better, you ARE NOT going to lose anything that really makes you who you are.. If you pick X correctly, you can’t possibly lose something core to who you are. Anything that melts away wasn’t the real you. It was a false identification with socially constructed identity you created to cope with the demands of the world. Anything melting is not you, the real you can’t melt. The real you is the light, the fire buried underneath all that ice. When false senses of self melt away, the real you only shines brighter.
Ok…back to the game fear is playing.
Why does fear tell you you’re going to lose Y when that isn’t actually what’s going to happen?
Because this fear is coming from a primitive part of the early reptilian brain and its goal is simply to keep you physically alive, so you can pass on your genes. Anything beyond that is unnecessary risk, but more on that in a bit…
So what is this primitive part of yourself really afraid of, if the idea that you would lose a core part of yourself like emoticon is a fictitious notion?
– Fear of the unknown.
The unknown is unpredictable. You might get eaten.
– Fear of being in pain.
Why would the primitive part of you which sees the world in black and white, want to be in pain?.
And you can be in pain for a myriad of reasons:
1) Finally taking a break from suppressing and disassociating from your emotions and taking an honest look at yourself and seeing all the things in your life and about yourself that you’re unhappy with.
2) The inevitable discomfort that comes from pushing past your comfort zone (analogize from the soreness of lifting weights).
3) Fear of actually trying and failing.
Fear of taking responsibility for your life, relinquishing victim status and then failing and feeling powerless as result. (You think you still have your power if you don’t try, because then you can still believe you would succeed if you actually did try). The truth is success is a long journey marked by the willingness to continual fail and improve from failure.
So there is plenty to be afraid of. But remember these fears are generated by a part of the brain, designed just to keep you alive to reproduce.
But your life should be about more than surviving and reproducing right? You don’t just want to be a penis or vagina with legs, do you?
You want to thrive, right? To become your higher self, right? To live with love and purpose and give your unique gifts to the world…every goddam day!
If you really want that, you have to realize that your potential and fear are directly at odds. And the ONLY road to your potential is to have the courage to stare fear in the face and keep moving forward, putting one foot in front of the other.
Nelson Mandela said that., “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
So what type of life do you want to live?
A life of fear and smallness or a life of continual growth and ever deepening unfolding of your true nature?
The path looks something like this:
1) Nurture the desire within yourself to reach your full potential. Nurture this desire until it burns hot like indistinguishable ball of fire.
2) Learn how your mind actually works, its primitive functions and its more evolved, and how the primitive functions are continually preserving the status quo.
3) Learn how to overcome these primitive programs.
4) Commit fully to the practice of overcoming your limitations as if your life depended on it. Because your life actually does.
So now, I have shown you a little bit of what step 2 looks like.
I’ll continue to fill out the other steps as we go along smile emoticon
Please share your reflections, your questions about this post and what you would like to hear more about in the comments.
The time is now.