Change is one of the few guaranteed things in life. There comes a time for most of us when we either want to make a change or feel that something needs to change. Most of us want to change for the better, but sometimes wanting alone is not enough. We are creatures of habit: once we have learned one way of doing something, it can be difficult to change.
Just take a look at the following statements for a moment:
Do any of these seem familiar to you? If so, it's probably because you have at some point developed a pattern of behaviour which is no longer relevant, or is somehow getting in the way of what you now want out of life. You can change, but sometimes willpower is not enough, because we are fighting against the way we have always done things. We are fighting against our own resistance to change. In therapy, we call this the conscious critical faculty (CCF). This can be described as a sort of 'gatekeeper' that monitors everything we do. Every situation we encounter in life is compared with the record we have of our experiences to date. This includes all of the beliefs we have of the things we can or cannot do. If the CCF does not find a match in what you are trying to do, it is likely to be rejected as being worthless or irrelevant.
Another way of thinking about things is this: everything you have done in your life to this point in time has helped you to survive. That gatekeeper (the CCF) will not allow anything to change that, as it might risk your future survival.
Imagine for a moment a giraffe wandering across that plains... It has a long neck, ideal for reaching the best leaves. It has long legs, ideal for running away from predators. If it is hungry, it will eat. If it is tired, it will sleep. The same goes for any other animal - it can only be what it is instinctively meant to be. It is never not a giraffe!
We humans, on the other hand, can over-ride our instinctive nature. We can be something we are not meant to be. All of those things we learn when we are younger - how to behave, how to act, what we SHOULD do - all interfere with what we actually need to do and be. This can all lead to those feelings listed above, and sometimes we find ways to overcome those negative feelings. We feel anxious or stressed. We develop habits. We drink, comfort eat, smoke, gamble - we do something to compensate for those feelings, and sometimes these things can make matters worse.
This is where therapy can help. By bypassing the CCF we can allow you to accept and make those positive changes you want to make.
"Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” – Dr. Seuss"
There is nobody else on this planet quite like you. There never has been, and never will be. You are a unique combination of your genes and life experiences, so comparing ourselves to other people, as we so often do, doesn't always work that well. What may work for them may not work for you - besides, how do you truly know what they are thinking or feeling? Whatever anyone says to us, good or bad, is simply their opinion.
The one thing we can be certain of is how we feel. As part of any treatment, I will encourage you to get in touch with the real you, what you really want or need in life. Sometimes, all we need is to know how we feel and how we want to feel in order to start making positive changes.
What would the best version of you be like?