Clients will regularly ask me “so how to change that about myself? How do I stop feeling guilty, how do I stop being so negative, pessimistic and critical, how do I stop being so impatient and frustrated?”
I think the more appropriate question should be, “how do I get motivated to change?”
So how do we get motivated to change? This is where suffering comes in handy, and not just because it keeps me in business . As humans, we are creatures of habit and given half a chance we will not change our ways. We don’t change until we are forced to change, until we get fired, abandoned or get out of control. People don’t come to counseling because it’s fun. They come because the suffering is unmanageable. Until then we are okay to tolerate the status quo because it’s familiar and in some way comforting – even though we don’t necessarily get the outcome we wish for.
How to change?
Change requires above all that we use our will. What does that mean? You use your will when you decide you will do a good job at your work, when you stretch yourself in your fitness routine, when you dedicate yourself to being a good parent, when you decide to complete a degree. All of these are instances where you “choose” to exercise your will towards a goal that has value and meaning to you.
This same power and strength you must apply to change yourself. This is an important key in how to change.
As a species, not only do we not like change, but we are afraid of change because it’s the unknown. “Who will I be if I’m not like this? How will others treat me? Show me in advance the results, so I can be comfortable in changing .”
Claire Maisonneuve, MA.
Registered Clinical Counsellor
Director of the Alpine Clinic