To introduce this subject we will start with a quote from Dr. Edith Eger As a teenager in 1944 Edie as she is known was sent to Auschwitz concentration camp with her family. “Change is about interrupting the habits and patterns that no longer serve us. If you want to meaningfully alter your life, you don’t simply abandoned dysfunctional habit or belief; you replace it with a healthy one. You choose what you’re moving toward. You find an arrow and follow it. As you begin your journey, it’s important to reflect not only on what you’d like to be free from, but on what you want to be free to do or become.”
So what is the story you tell yourself. Whether or not you can change will have a lot to do with the story you tell. I wanted to include some of Dr Eger’s background as very few have that claim to fame. I’m certain that she understands everything I’ve felt. If you had been through that would your story to yourself be that you were a victim? Would you feel you had been scarred for life because of things beyond your control?
So many people get overwhelmed when we start talking about change. It is seen as something big and hairy. We look at change and we love the idea of it but don’t want to let go of the things we have. Many of us think that to change we need to make huge sweeping differences. Our life is like a magnet. The positive and negative sides repel each other and attract themselves. One of the girls I worked with had been cutting on herself for years. Her arms and legs were covered in scars. She had tried to stop but wasn’t able to change. Those poles just kept pulling back together. Something would happen to her the only release she knew was to start slicing. We had to work on her coping skills and improve them to get the change she desired. Then after we gave the attention to the feelings she was having she started to reduce her cutting. Then we just changed the poles and she never cut again. For her, she hated the feeling of raw chicken, The cold, limp, icky feeling she had when touching raw chicken. We then tied her skin to the strong emotion she had with the raw chicken. She never cut herself again. We had reversed the poles of the magnet. It forced the magnet to switch it’s direction. Cutting herself was like trying to get the same poles of a magnet to go together again.
So how do you change your habits and patterns? The first thing is you need to change the poles. It has to be something that you don’t even relate with anymore. A man took his mother in to see a specialist because of her throat cancer. The Dr asked the lady if she was a smoker. The Lady responded with assurance and commitment and said no she was not. The son who had witnessed her 1.5 pack a day habit was floored. The son asked her about it and she said I quit this morning. But in this story the lady had flipped the poles. She was no longer a smoker and nothing would take her back there. What are the patterns and habits that make you go back to the action? What is the motivation for change? Get to know the pattern. Investigate the habit. Then modify the story, reverse the polarity and then you will never go back.
So the goal is gradual, sustainable, meaningful change to your behaviors. We talked earlier about how people try to tackle and triumph over these large changes. They look up the stairway to the top and see how far that is. How it seems so far away