We’re all told that witnessing a change in life requires us to do something differently: to behave, respond, think, and perceive life with an altered approach. Simple advice that’s not so simple to follow, isn’t it? Although the first step towards change is recognition of the issue or weakness we may have, how many of us follow through with implementing a plan? A small percentage of us. How many of us take it even further by sticking to that plan? We’re talking about an even smaller percentage of the population here. It’s in these moments when fear, doubt, anxiety, and discomfort kick in. Degrading and punishing voices carrying stop signs echo through the chambers of our minds and make taking the next step towards improvement downright paralyzing.
Where you’re at right now may lead to feelings of shame and I know you’d much rather distract yourself than call yourself out on your inadequacies. It’s uncomfortable. No one enjoys confrontation, especially when you’re the person shoved into the negative spotlight. Keep in mind, however, that the aspects of our lives that we purposefully turn a blind eye towards are oftentimes the areas that could use the most improvement. The empowering side of this observation is that there’s an opening for personal growth that you don’t even know is possible. Your current self can’t even fathom your potential. You haven’t even discovered all of the strength and power brewing inside of you.
It’s not that we don’t want to change. A lot of us do. Some of us may have even bullet-pointed the necessary action steps for change in our minds, so what’s stopping us? Why do we engage in the same habits over and over again despite their bitter taste?
Take it from me: I have struggled with anorexia nervosa for about 7 years now. The eating disorder has followed me around like a ghost throughout adolescence, dictating my behaviors around food and physical activity like a communist. Do you think I enjoyed the drill sergeant in my mind pushing me to work out on an empty stomach to the point of lightheadedness and near-fainting? Do you think I wanted to feel guilty for every additional gram of food I consumed that was over my daily calorie count?
After consistent relapses over the years, I have become aware of exactly what I needed to do to restore my weight and be in a safer mental place, so why did I continue to fall back into toxic patterns?
I have realized that there’s paradoxical comfort in our suffering. It’s a familiar piece of us that can be tough to let go of. Don’t throw fists at yourself. Don’t lock yourself in a mental jail cell that outlines a box – a limit – around your capabilities. Sometimes, it takes a breaking point to realize that how you’re living your life right now isn’t sustainable. Sometimes, it takes the realization that staying where you are is scarier than change.
As human beings who are designed to stay in a homeostatic state, avoiding conflict and additional efforts, we tend to seek the path of least resistance. It’s unnatural to make decisions that place us in foreign territory. If you feel intimidated, petrified, and hesitant about a change you want to make, – or are currently making – there’s nothing wrong with you. You being here, peaking your head around the corner of different avenues in search of answers and guidelines to enhance your life, is such an important step forward. I hope you don’t downplay the commitment you have made. You went against the odds by hacking your mind, slamming your foot down, and declaring that you’ve had enough of mediocrity.
Thank you for not giving up on yourself. Thank you for making it this far to the point of building up the courage to grasp for change. There’s no way that this was easy. It will undoubtedly continue to be an emotional rollercoaster, but I hope you remember that you have entered into the hemisphere of a community that is dedicated to your success. We’re here to learn from and inspire each other. It’s a blessing to be a part of this shared reality with you.