“The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become”
- Charles Du Bos
The above quote speaks so loudly to me that I must share it with you. As we enter into a New Year and a new decade there are many people who are working towards changes that they pledged they would make with the New Year. As we know, most of the changes that people say they would like to make won’t happen. The good intentions of New Years resolutions will fall to the way side as “life” gets in the way and as we retreat to the comfort of our old rituals and habits.
It is interesting that even when we are not happy with something about our life, weather it be our relationships, our weight, our diet, our financial situation, our physical, emotional or spiritual wellness, etc we do come to believe and behave like Popeye the Sailor Man and say to ourselves “I am who I am” as we slip back into the comfort of who we see ourselves to be. With this underlying mindset we self sabotage our efforts to effect real change.
We come to believe that to change we must sacrifice some comfort in our life. The comfort that we believe we are sacrificing is usually the comfort of a habit or a ritual. We may have a habit that we know does not serve us yet we have convinced ourselves that this habit makes us feel better and in the moment of the habit it may make us feel better because it may seem to calm our nerves or to comfort us however we truly know that sometime later we will look upon this habit with disdain because of how it is impacting our health, our relationships or our careers. However even in the darkest of moments when we know that making a change to ourselves would vastly improve our life experience we do not seem to find the fortitude to make and see the change all the way through.
Amazing is it not that we are so intelligent, that we are so powerful yet we choose to limit ourselves by holding on to who we believe we are and that we are not willing to sacrifice the image of who we think we are to become all that we truly are.
What is it that holds us so fast to who we are today? Why is it often so difficult for us to change one habit, let alone, dare I say re-invent ones self. Fear is the bottom line answer to that question; we fear what changing will mean to us. One of the biggest fears is we no longer will be able to say things like “that is just the way I am” or “I can’t help who I am” or “I was born this way” or “This is how I am wired and I can’t do anything about it”. Bottom line we fear taking responsibility for who we are. Another reason we fear to make change is that we worry about how others may see us or how others expectations of us may change. For example, maybe I am the guy everyone knows will be the life of the party because when I drink a lot I loosen up and make it fun and I fear that I will no longer be that guy if I cut back on my drinking and my social circle will no longer want me at their parties because I am no longer the wild and crazy guy they have come to expect, therefore I continue to drink too much when I am in a social situation. Another example may be that I want to change my diet, however everyone knows me as the “foodie” who can tell you where the best eats in town are and who always has emergency candy in her purse or desk drawers and people seek me out for these things. If I change, then people will no longer have a reason to seek me out.
Interesting how our mind works to justify the very habits and rituals that may be causing us great harm.
We have to get past the fears that we use to justify why we don’t follow through on the changes we know we need to make in our life. We have to understand that we are not really sacrificing who we are rather the only thing we are sacrificing is a false self that is ruled by surface ego. When we truly love ourselves, we recognize the changes that we need to make and do so with love and not fear and without ego. When we change with love as our catalyst then we do not feel that we are sacrificing or that we are depriving ourselves of anything. Depriving and sacrificing never truly work in the long run. We must facilitate change out of love for ourselves and love for all those around us who rely on us and for all those who look to us to be an example of how to live. ‘
It is through self love that we will make true and sustained change in our daily lives. Love yourself enough to want to discover your authentic self and you will make the changes in a natural and healthy way which will not feel like a sacrifice or deprivation.
When we love ourselves enough to make the changes we truly desire to make we raise our level of awareness and open doors of consciousness that were blocked by thinking which allowed and justified unwanted and unhealthy habits. When this happens we create incredible opportunities to re-discover our true being and optimize this leg of our journey.