It is my experience that whenever I set out to change some aspect of myself, whether behaviour, belief or being, my awareness of my behaviour is just the first step in my transformation process. Although I am inspired by my desire for self-improvement, I now face altering my underlying assumptions and beliefs about why I committed to the existing behaviour in the first place. The awaiting learning process shifts my attention from Am I doing things right? — accuracy, and raises a new question for consideration —Am I doing the right things? — altruism.
When we pose the question of right action, we are challenged time and time again to practice these right thoughts, right words and right deeds so as to internalize them into new habits. In yoga doctrine, this is the stage where “things get worse” because breaking long-established habits is hard work. Releasing our resistance — letting go of the old habit — is where suffering and struggle enter. Fortunately, others long before our time worked out what forms our resistance takes.
In a previous blog, I provided a list of nine predictable obstacles that arise to distract us from the changes we seek. Getting clear as to which obstacle(s) is/are most prevalent in your current learning and transformation process works like an early warning signal alerting you that change is evident. In my case, I express resistance in the form of doubt. I might doubt myself, by asking, “Who am I to think this is possible for me?” or I might doubt Life’s ability to provide, “Is it really true my job is to be clear on what I want and Life’s job is to provide the how-tos?”
When I find myself stumbling into the ditch of doubt, single-minded focus is the only way out. I do this by repeating positive affirmations that replace the doubtful, negative thinking. Here are two below, but you can write ones that better suit your experience.
I am a creative, contributing being. My creations share and expand
abundance. This returns to me tenfold.
I attract what I want to me. The people and things I am looking for
are looking for me. All is well in my world.
Of course, once I have clarity around my new beliefs, I become aware of an even greater shift occurring — a new identity is taking shape. With the old identity disappearing and the new one not yet fully formed, the question to consider at this stage of transformation is — How do I decide what is right? — authenticity. My authentic self — the Real Me — emerges as a result of doing the work of releasing the old habits and beliefs and internalizing new ones. More concretely put, the discovery of meaningful purpose and direction, including the ability to integrate the heroic aspects of who you are with those of your more villainous nature, are outputs of this integration stage. To support myself in deepening my own authenticity, I use the following guiding principles on my journey to being real.
Even though you have the rest of your life, don’t wait another minute to be the REAL YOU. This is the only way any of us can “save the world.”
For more about transformation and authenticity, click here.