The Importance of Self-Image in Making a Change.

Sign on fence which says 'Tme for change'.

Do we all know someone, who no matter how hard they try, can’t seem to make a change in their life?  Even though they want to make changes, it just doesn’t seem to happen for them.

Had you ever thought that it’s how they view themselves which is the problem?

One of the fifteen or so (not even kidding!) books I have on the go at the moment, is a book called The New Psycho-Cybernetics, by Maxwell Maltz,  It was published in 1960, and so far it is absolutely brilliant.  I’m pretty sure it will carry on being brilliant, too.

One of the things he talks about right at the beginning is this (this is a direct quote): “But you cannot escape it.  You will always act and perform – and experience appropriate results – in accordance with what you imagine to be true about yourself and you environment.  This is a basic and fundamental law of mind.  It is the way we are built.”

Here’s an example:

I know a couple who are in their sixties, and who, through their own choices, have ended up in a situation where they do not have enough to live on, and are living with their adult daughter.

They don’t like living with their adult daughter, their son-in-law, and his son.  Understandably.  Everyone wants their independence, and doesn’t like to be reliant on others in order to be able to survive.

But, here’s the thing.  They are trying every avenue they know, in order to be able to have a place of their own, and it just isn’t working out.

First, they found a job with accommodation.  But obviously the house was tied to the job, and the job was a nightmare, so shortly after they moved out of their daughter’s and into the accommodation, they were packing back up and moving back to their daughter.  They have looked at retirement housing, and even found a place they thought would suit them.  But nothing came of it; it didn’t work out.

Why?

Purely and simply because of their self-image.  They are acting in accordance with what they believe to be true about themselves and their environment.

Even though they are desperate to have their own place, and are running here, there and everywhere trying to find somewhere suitable, it is just not happening for them.  And this is because in their heart of hearts they believe they will never be able to find a place and make it on their own.  In their innermost being, they fear that they are stuck in a dependent state for ever.  They really believe this about themselves.  And so, no matter what they try in their desperation, it isn’t working, because what they know in their heart is that they are stuck where they are.

The last place they went to see looked great.  But they failed to chase it up, and it doesn’t look as though that is happening for them either now.  Why did they fail to chase it up?  Because what they really believe about themselves and their environment, is that while they don’t want to be there, in reality they are stuck.  And according to Maxwell Maltz, they are bound to act in a way that is according to their actual self-belief.

It’s self-sabotage of the highest order.

Do you know anyone like this?  Someone who tries to get ahead, and may even succeed for a while, and then something happens and they are back to square one again.  Why?  Probably because what they actually believe is that no matter what they try, they just can’t succeed; just can’t get ahead.  And they fear that they’ll be stuck the way they are forever.  And that is how it pans out.

If any of us want to change our outward circumstances, we have to change what is going on inside of us.  We have to change our self-image.  Without an internal change, the external will never change.  Or it may for a while, but then things will gravitate back to where they were originally, and we’ll find we have to start all over again.

So how about it?  I’m sure we all have areas in our lives where self-image is affecting our results.  I have one area which is glaringly obvious to me, and I now know how to change it.  (The really cool thing is that I always end up preaching to myself when I write).

You know, it takes courage to re-program ourselves; to feel that we even deserve to think differently about ourselves.   It takes real guts to make the changes and become a different person as a result, never to think about ourselves in the same way again; to throw off childhood issues and programming.

But we can do it!  And we have to, if we want to see changes in our lives, because without that internal shift, the external circumstances will never change.

And I for one don’t want to stand still in life.  I want to be improving, heading onwards and upwards all the time.

See you tomorrow!

 

There Is No Growth Without Change.

No growth without change - butterfly emerged from chrysalis and hanging on to flower.
No growth without change.

All of us face tough times in life.  That goes without saying. They are inevitable, unavoidable.  But it’s what we do with those times that counts, because there is no growth without change.

Some of us go through a loss, or financial difficulties.  Maybe we suffer through unrequited love, divorce, or a long illness.  There are a zillion and one things that constitute ‘tough times’.

But isn’t that the story of our life on this planet? From the whole process of actually being born, then growing and learning, to growing old and finally departing this earth, it’s a struggle.

I have no idea why we are all here, but for me, if I don’t end up a better person than I started out, then I haven’t done very well.  And it’s our difficulties that educate us.  They help us to discover strength we didn’t know we had.  They push us to strive for more in our lives, and sometimes give us purpose in that we can help others who are going through something similar.

Tough times and difficulties are guaranteed.  But will we rise to the challenge?  Will we learn from these things, and become better people because of them?  Better than who we were before?

Last year, my son nearly died.  It was tough, and both my husband and I pretty much collapsed in a heap six months later, once he was doing well and we could relax a bit.  But, we came out of that experience with a brand new appreciation for living every moment to the full.  We emerged with a drive to create memories with our kids, and go adventuring with them, rather than just working to collect things and stuff.  We discovered that we take our longevity for granted, and that actually we are not in control, and we experienced the fact that it could all be gone tomorrow.  We are better people for it.

Through that and other experiences, I have discovered strength I didn’t know I had.  I found that I can endure grief and loss, depression and darkness.  When I was younger, I pulled myself through the grief that was threatening to swallow me up, and I made it.

From nothing my husband and I have created the life we have today.  We have drive and determination that we wouldn’t have, without those difficult experiences that threatened to crush our souls.  We have developed loyalty, integrity, commitment, compassion, empathy, creativity, love, gratitude, perseverance and a hundred other things, precisely because we’ve had struggles in our lives.

I am definitely at a point in my life where I can say that for me personally, I consider those struggles to be good.  Without them, I would not be who I am today, and I am pretty happy with the way I turned out.  I am at peace with myself.

There is no growth without struggle.  A caterpillar never gets to fly as a butterfly unless it struggles out of the chrysalis first.  Neither does a seed ever turn into fruit without a part of it dying so that something new can grow from it.

Struggle and change are part of life.  Our choice is whether to resist and fight it, or to embrace and go with it, seeing it as a catalyst for our growth.  Here’s to growth from change!

See you tomorrow!