Day 648: How Do You Change When it Seems Like You Can't?

This post continues from this post - check it out for context.

I have seen people undergo awesome changes - stop addictions, stop destructive habits, change their self-defeating thought patterns, overcome fears, develop discipline and more. I have seen people reinvent themselves and be who they want to be. I have also seen many of these people "fall" on all these amazing points the moment they face temptation again. It's much easier to change when you're in an environment that removes the triggers for your patterns you want to stop - but what happens when you go back home and are faced with all of those triggers again - do you continue to stand and transform yourself, or do you fall?

That's up to you, of course.

The reality is that there is something in people, I can't quite put my finger on it, but it's something that - now I don't want to say "keeps", but - keeps people from being able to follow through with their choice and will to change. It's not like it prevents people, it's more like it makes change, and certain realisations that would open up opportunities for change, more difficult. You can see this manifest in this way: You spend years saying something, exactly the same thing, over and over and over again to one or more person(s). You test using different words, different environments, different presentations, different tones of voice, different gestures - everything you can think of - to convey a message... But... It takes that person(s) YEARS to "hear" the point and fully realise what it means.

Here's the rub - there's a big difference between hearing something, understanding it and fully realising it. It's even another different thing to actually live that realisation - but in a sense when you truly realise and understand something there is no way that you can NOT live it.

So why the hell is it so difficult to fully realise and change? Why does it take so much to get to a point of truly understanding that if you continue to live in the way you live now, while KNOWING that change is possible, that you will deeply regret it and possibly miss out on living a truly significant life?

Why is it so difficult to change, even when you KNOW that the change will benefit your life? What is it that holds people back from taking that step out of intellectually understanding something into actually living it? What is it that trigger the thoughts that lead to inaction? Why are people so seemingly hellbent on not changing? What is it about facing old temptations that makes someone forget everything they had done up until that point and slip back into old destructive patterns? Yes, we know that listening to thoughts will lead you back to the old behaviour - but what is it that makes those thoughts re-emerge with such ferocity - even when a person has seemingly let go of and changed those old patterns?

I have seen it so many times and it breaks my heart. I have seen people completely destroy themselves after years of living principled and contented. I have also seen people re-emerge from a fall and work hard to get back to where they were before - but it is that much harder - it is that much harder because now they are carrying the shame and guilt of their 'relapse' and they have to work that much harder and longer to build trust with themselves and the people around them again.

Why does it seem to work this way so much of the time, that we have to sabotage ourselves and experience pain over and over again before the willingness to change truly opens within us? Why do we put ourselves through this?

As always - each of us is entirely responsible for ourselves - the pain is avoidable when you walk with awareness and willingness to question your every step until you know that you will not fall - no matter the situation.