22 Aug Change
Change isn’t easy but it’s really not as hard as you make it out to be. How many times in conversation do others seem to be going on and on about the same old thing? How many people seem to always talk about how horrible they are in relationships, how they never work out? Do their relationships ever work out? No, they don’t, and those people usually get some weird satisfaction about being right. See? I told you I would never be in a relationship. Their story never changes, they may just find different ways to tell it, and to different people patient enough to listen. Is that person you? Do you feel like everybody around you is just doing the same old thing, with no variety, excitement, or passion in what they do? I’ve got news for you- the observer is not separated from the object observed. For the slower readers out there, that means that whatever you see all around you is a direct reflection of yourself. It’s not psychobabble; it’s truth.
When you find yourself in a situation that doesn’t totally please you, take a look at how you got there. You spent day after (precious) day thinking about the same old things. You thought about how your situation sucked and you didn’t have enough X, Y, or Z. You thought about how your partner was boring you and how there was never anything good on TV. You thought about how little time you had to do the things you actually love and how your physical appearance was not good enough for you. You tried to fix this stuff from the outside in, an ass-backwards direction. You spent more money on clothes (then complained about how you never have money) or watched different TV shows (and complained about how you never had time to read). You left one job for another (finding a new boss to hate). You died your hair (it looked awful) or started weight lifting (with post-workout sugar shakes) to change what you saw in the mirror. But, your perspective didn’t change. Your new job became just as lousy as your old job, you found a new aspect of your physicality that disappointed you, and your boyfriend/girlfriend didn’t get any more exciting. Once again, that’s because you didn’t do the work from the inside out.
Real change comes from a shift in perspective. Real change comes from mind-opening experiences that humble you, and remind you of how small you really are in the grand scheme of human existence. Real change smacks you in the face and beats the shit out of you, until you are ready to let go of your pretentious, entitled ego and actually do the work. Real change challenges you to think about what you really want from this life, and challenges you to become the type of person you want to be through hard work and dedication to a positive outlook. A positive outlook usually breeds a positive in-look (see what I did there?).
How many people do you see at the gym, for months on end, that really look the same (physically) as they did before they got a membership? That’s a perfect example of needing to change from the inside out. Most of those people mistakenly think that moving their bodies on a physical machine, while watching mindless TV shows (that they hate) will somehow take the extra 10 pounds off their midsection. But, they are fueling their bodies with insulin-releasing sugars all the other waking hours of the day, drinking even stronger insulin-releasing beverages (alcohol) to numb themselves to their painful existence. Then, they find some external issue to blame for all their problems instead of facing the truth- they are their biggest problem.
You can just as easily believe that a difficult circumstance has been brought to you to change you for the better, as you could believe that circumstance was unfair. The happiest employee I’ve ever met worked at a CVS in San Diego. He probably spent 40 hours a week in his red and blue vest, dealing customers who were buying alcohol, beauty products, or medicine to help them cope with their piss-poor attitudes. He never once complained about anything. He only spoke of the best parts of his days; he was always grateful for the beautiful weather or for the blessing of being able to live in San Diego. He will never know how much he inspired me.
Change comes and we realize that life is just what we make it. Happiness is a matter of mind. You’ll want to resist this fact, to argue this universal truth. We want to cling to any sort of outside circumstance or situation that will bring us some relief, that will make us believe it wasn’t all our own doing. Well, my family is this or my friends are that or my job is blah blah blah. Time and time again, we crash and burn until we finally give up trying to control everything and just go with the flow of life. That’s when change happens. Change happens when you let yourself be changed, not when you try to control the changing. How could you change into the person you’d want to be if you keep yourself anchored as the person you are? When you start to find gratitude in all the little things that bring you comfort, you start to build a life for which to be grateful. When you start to treat others around you with patience, tolerance, and compassion, you find that your encounters are more pleasant in general. When you realize that you have the opportunity to observe all your thoughts, you can actively make them more positive. It doesn’t come easy, but you are probably making it a lot harder than it needs to be.