Jun 242011

Change happens, no doubt about it.  If we don’t want things to change, well, there is some bad news coming.

The trick is that we want things to change in a particular way.  We don’t won’t things to change just anyhow – we want change that feels good to us.

Wanting to Change

There are a couple of approaches to wanting change:

the first is the zen approach – don’t want it!  Any attachment brings suffering.

the second is to understand how change works in and so increase our chances of getting the change we want.

This post is about the second approach.  (As to the first I’ll presume that even zen monks prefer to eat rather than starve and that if they (and/or others) are starving that they would want this situation changed.)

Wanting and Not Wanting to Change

Often when we want a particular change we also don’t want it.  We want to give up our favourite indulgence (fatty treats, cigarettes, those sugar laden goodies – I have a sweet tooth) but not the pleasure they give us.

The usual approach is to fight the ‘bad’ me (that wants the indulgence) so that the ‘good’ me (that wants to give up) wins.  I think this approach is usually wrong.

If You Fight Yourself You Lose

When we are fighting ourselves it is an exhausting business.  We end up with less energy to engage with life.  And even if we win we lose.  Which isn’t much of a deal.

Is there an alternative?  I think there is.

Being a Good Friend to Ourself

The alternative is to listen to our ‘bad’ self.  This self has legitimate needs just like our good self.  The ‘bad’ behaviour is usually a way to meet a legitimate need.

Those fatty treats add some sensuality to our life.

The cigarette is a way to give ourself time out.

That sugar hit gives us a lift.

A Way to More Pleasure

Giving up fatty treats or cigarettes or sugar sounds like no fun.  Finding lots of ways to have more sensuality, take breaks or get a bit of a lift is much more attractive.

It will be much easier to change as we wish to if it is pleasurable for us rather than a battle (usually a war of attrition where the other side is worn down by relentless struggle).  And it is almost always possible for the change to have a pleasurable outcome once we look for it.

How To Look For The Pleasurable Way?

There are lots of ways.  We can ask ourselves:

What would be delightful for the part of me that doesn’t want to change?

What is it that is satisfying about doing this?

We can also:

Writing freely about it in a journal, or,

Talk to a friend who is a good listener (not one overly inclined to give advice).

How to Make the Change?

I think the answer is: in small steps.  There is usually no need to scare ourself with big risks.  And if each small step can be pleasurable then it won’t be long before we are speeding along toward our goal.

A path of increasing pleasure will have us rapidly getting past intending to change to changing our lives so that they are closer to what we want.

You can read Evans blog at http://www.livingauthentically.org/

  One Response to “Intending to change (Guest post)”

  1. Thanks for the chance to guest post Fran.