Why is change so hard?!
When you want to change a pattern – in this case, speak up on a topic that was taboo growing up, and that could be almost anything but let’s pick money matters. (Some personalities need to learn how to take a deep breath and shut up, but that’s a different blog : ) Notice how the different Parts of you, touched on briefly last blog post, will get together to challenge the change you are attempting. Your Responsible part might say, ‘just handle this yourself, don’t bother them’ and will pair up with your Loyal to family tradition part saying ‘this is an off limits topic’ and likely pull the Judging part in ‘they will just think you’re cheap’. Your body will react to the potential conflict, your heart speeds up and your attention narrows and breathing gets shallow and anxiety rises… should I remain silent and simmering or speak up and risk misunderstanding, hurt feelings and/or worse?
If I shy away from the confrontation, my heart slows down, my body relaxes and it feels likes I’ve avoided danger, which rewards me for NOT speaking up. That’s one good reason it’s so difficult to change patterns even though we read terrific books, watch inspirational TV interviews, try praying about it, buy workbooks and even journal our gratitude. Am I willing to feel anxious for a few moments sharing the truth kindly rather than swallowing the conflict and having ‘indigestion’ later in the form of avoidance, resentment, limited conversation and intimacy with that person?
The other day I was talking with someone who owed me money, but the topic didn’t naturally come up. In fact, there was something requested of me during the conversation and I knew if I didn’t say anything resentment would likely crop up. I took a deep breath, and put my request out there. The earth didn’t open up and swallow me though I did feel rude and some anxiety rising in my chest, but to my surprise, the response was positive and they seemed grateful for the reminder.
In a future blog, the influences that create anxiety will be explored, including the family rules and the underlying lies believed that challenge our resolve to become healthier, more honest and loving people. But next time you feel anxious, stop and wonder about what Parts of you are trying to change and what Parts might need some reassurance that the anxiety will pass and the potential benefit of living a more integrated life is worth it.