When we think about making changes, a lot of us naturally gravitate toward quick fixes: a diet, a detox, some online relationship or self help advice.
But, we may start to feel thwarted quickly when our desire to change doesn’t yield the results we want or when we fail, not realizing that failure is an essential part of the process.
There’s no growth without failure, but many individuals devalue failure and want to bypass the work and the discomfort involved. Ironically, it’s exactly through a conscious relationship with our failures that we can internalize a new set of beliefs and behaviors.
Changing deeply-entrenched behavioral patterns -- even with the solid knowledge base about what steps to take -- can be extremely daunting. It’s in this moment of failure that you get to look under the hood and examine what’s the disconnect between your intention, your resistance and corrective action.
Good intentions simply don’t go very far without practices that can anchor you in your intentions. You need to be able to have a conversation with yourself that can help you get past the emotional reactivity you’re experiencing, and into the heart of the resistance you’re encountering.
There are two aspects to this process. The underlying beliefs, narratives and values that function as the foundation of your sense of self and how you move in the world. Then, the external layer of behaviors and habits that reinforce them. The underlying beliefs are often unconscious or not in your immediate field of awareness and that’s where most of us get stuck.
Mindfulness and meditation practice can be powerful allies in your pursuit of change and self awareness. They enable you to become present with your thoughts and feelings and sensations, in a non-judgmental, compassionate position. Once you can step back and move into more of an observer role, you can uncover the deeper roots of what prevents you from making meaningful, tangible shifts in your life.
Mindfulness and meditation can also support you on your journey of change. They are daily practices that can help you reset when you flounder and they allow you to gently re-align with your intentions and values.
Self compassion is also a critical component to the process. It creates a softening within yourself and a receptivity and sensitivity to the difficulty involved. It’s far less punishing than a top-down approach or trying to muster vast amounts of will power as a motivation for long term change.
Listen as Shira Myrow, mindfulness-based psychotherapist, relationship expert and meditation teacher, shares mindful solutions for meaningful change.