Have you ever wanted to change your life, your abode, your pants size, your, well whatever? What stopped you from accomplishing that desired change?
Me, I stopped me, every, single time!
The only force that I know greater in the universe than the desire to change, is the desire not to change. We make little tiny decisions that kill the change we crave. It is a million things or maybe just one thing, but whatever it is, it packs an helluva a punch. And so we remain in standstill land a little longer.
I have categorically and undeniably been in my own way for years. Like all of them. The times where great or even minuscule change has occurred has been when I have been removed from the equation long enough for something new to happen.
Sobriety - I only got sober because I felt like I was going to die. It wasn’t like I had another choice in the moment. Of course, looking back now, I did totally have a choice. I could have opted to continue living the way I was for probably years. But I could not, would not, be able to live contentedly inside my own mind and drink one more day or drop. So began a day count. Each day I would get up and redouble my efforts to be sober. Do the things that I thought were stupid, and completely would not lead me to a life of sober living. But I did them anyway, I surrendered my need or thought that I knew better. And so, very slowly, I changed and so did my life. There were some dramatic sweeps, and then to this day, there are still things that plague me. But the change occurred because I made that first decision and then took action on that decision every single day thereafter.
And I think, at least I am pretty sure, this is how all change happens.
I stop eating my weight in chocolate by making a decision to stop doing it. And then I have re-make that decision over and over again, day after day. I know me, one chocolate kiss and I’m back in chocoholic land in no time at all.
And sometimes it seems that I would rather be the person who consumes copious amounts of chocolate rather than someone who looks better in a bikini. Now, I will tell you when I am walking the beach, jiggling, I regret my failure to adhere to my no chocolate policy. But when I am at home in my sweat pants, lounging around after dinner, I do not give two fucks about how I look in a bikini and the jiggle doesn’t bother me a bit.
Change is hard. So I settle and in this case, the chocolate binge lives to see another day...well, until swimsuit season more officially arrives, then I will be back on the no sweets bandwagon and until I succumb again...then the whole damn stupid process begins again probably until I die or until I have had enough...enough of what?
Me. And all my internal conflict and strife. The reason I do not do the things that I know are good for me and make me feel better about me is because I hate the change, so I settle. Settle for less and less until I do not even resemble myself anymore. I am there the whole time, except I am not. I leave me to take care of you, or me, in some sort of dysfunctional deal I have with myself.
Change is hard. Settling is easier. But I have found in this life that working towards a goal, something you desire, then achieving it, is way more life affirming than just taking the low hanging fruit. Sure, it is fruit and satisfies the immediate craving, but if I was willing to put forth just a little more effort, I can harvest that harder to get fruit that got more sunshine, and because of that, tastes better. It just takes more work to accomplish.
And sometimes, I cannot not do the work, and then there are other times where no matter how much I know that delaying my need for immediate gratification will serve me better, I know that I just won’t do the work. There is a big difference between cannot and will not. And I am here to tell you that most of my life it has been the will not that has won out, repeatedly and handsomely.
Settling is easier. That is true. But it leaves me with a craving for something that I didn’t care enough to do the work for...and that never goes away for me. It is always there, gnawing at me and dogging my every footfall. I know what I value, I know what I want, always. I am rarely torn into shreds because I do not know what I want. Always, my dilemma is that I want the result or the proximate result now, and so I am not willing to wait for the greater result down the line.
Change is hard. It is something that I can have if I am willing to make that first decision and then cause my other decisions to fall in line, one after another, day by day, hour by hour, to support that first decision. It isn’t complicated. It is just hard because I want to know that it is all going to work out the way that I want to. The way that I need it to. And I am here to tell you that thankfully sometimes it does and even more thankfully, sometimes it does not.
So many things have happened in my life because I got out of the way. I didn’t know, I didn’t attempt, I didn’t worry or fret over the state of my emotional landscape. I just allowed the things that were going to happen anyway to occur. And then I made supportive decisions that followed that first, most revolutionary change in thought or behavior or emotion.
Settling will always be the thing we do that ensures that we never actually get what we want. We think that getting closer is good enough. But it isn’t.