CREATING POSITIVE CHANGE

By Maxim W. Furek, MA, CADC, ICADC

Many people live their lives in a state of predictable boredom. There is little spontaneity, little excitement, and little reward. Nothing changes. Everything remains the same. The common complaint of the ‘same old, same old’ reflects a mantra espousing the drudgery and ennui of daily existence.

Choosing to live a lifetime of boredom is a seriously flawed and non-productive option. Life is for the living. There is much joy to be had for those who want it and search for it. But, too, there is much work to be done as noted by Eckhart Tolle:

Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose
 one of those three options, and you must choose now. Then accept the consequences.

In this discussion we will focus on change, Tolle’s second option. And, even though we hate and resist change, it occurs again and again in our lives, a fact that is guaranteed and deeply etched in stone. Change will come unexpectedly, completely out of the blue, forever turning our lives around. Or it happens predictably, like clockwork, on a seven-year, ten year, or 12-year cycle. We never know when it will come, but know that it will.

Change is good. It can be exciting and transformative. Change forces us to adapt, to refocus, and to re-energize. It creates a period of renewal and a reawakening of our other, dormant self. It can lead to our proverbial new start.

The ability to create positive and lasting change is an absolute tenet of Dream Gliding.

Change is attainable. We have the ability to create our own change by being pro-active through self-discipline, focus and goal setting. We can accomplish this in small, controlled steps. Just do one thing different, a small daily change that makes a positive impact in your life. The ability to create positive and lasting change is an absolute tenet of Dream Gliding.

An individual needs to be ready, willing, and able to commit to positive change. Creating change is difficult and is not an easy task. It takes us out of our comfort zone and into the dark forest of insecurity and self-doubt.

The varied faces of fear immediately confront us: fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of success. Both failure and success can bring about fear. Many of us can relate to depression and despondency, a normal part of the human condition. We struggle. We suffer. We feel the cruel lash of failure, all part of the journey.

Nonetheless, the opposite end of the spectrum is a stranger to many, where some bask in  the bright lights of accomplishment, a place of satisfaction and fulfillment. But that prospect figuratively scares many of us to death, as the fear of failure corrupts the possibility of success.

There is great wisdom in the Serenity Prayer: “Help me to accept the things I cannot change, the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Transtheoretical Model

Prochaska and DiClemente at the University of Rhode Island developed the Transtheoretical Model suggesting that behavior change involves progress through six stages of change: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and termination. The researchers investigated variables that affect our motivation to change, including State of Readiness, Importance of Change, and Confidence. Before any behavioral changes are explored, key questions need to be asked and may include “Why should I change?” “Is it worthwhile?” “What’s in it for me?” and “Will it do me any good?”

Pain remains a great teacher and motivator. According to the research of Michael J. Dolan,  people change in order to relieve or reduce physical, psychological, social, or spiritual pain. There are additional reasons as well. People attempt to make a personal change as a means of growing or improving one’s self or behavior, to avoid discomfort, to repair damage from trauma or insult, and to enhance relationships.

Ambivalence is always a concern. The pros and cons of changing, including the very-real  possibility of not changing, need to be explored. Many people opt to remain the same, afraid that change will bring about a loss of homeostasis in their lives.

Creating positive change requires courage and confidence. Author and Minister Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993) observed, “Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy.”

Confidence brings about a more realistic and attainable approach as we shift our focus to our inner knowingness. Courage and strength come from within. Remain focused in the moment, as it is important to stay grounded. There are people, places, and things that can disrupt our balance and take us off our center. Keep energies in the present. This is the center of our power and control. New Thought Movement author and philosopher Ralph W. Trine (1866-1958) noted that:

Peace is to be found only within, and unless one finds it there he will never find it at all. Peace lies not in the external world. It lies within one’s own soul.

Another important aspect of change is the combination of hope and energy. There can be no change without hope, an optimism that promises that things can get better. The energy to change comes from hope. Important individuals in our circle, counselors, friends, or select others can provide that hope through positive affirmations, encouragement, and support. They all help us to reconnect with our innate, healing energy.

Special gifts

We are unique creatures. Each possesses gifts that others do not have. Each has the ability to look at the world in a special manner, seeing shades of gray and dimensions invisible to others. These are the special gifts that make us the exceptional individuals that we are.

Celebrating our uniqueness and discovering our inner truth enables us to bring out the best  in ourselves. If we accept ourselves and appreciate the special talents and qualities that we alone possess, we begin the process of self-awareness. Only then can we get on with living rather than preoccupying ourselves with meaningless comparisons to the fantasy world of celebrity stars or other external sources. The key, as always, resides inside us. Of that innate hidden truth, Renee Cefalu, author of Serenity of the Mind: The Process of Self Mastery, has written:

We are more powerful than we have been lead to believe. Walk tall in your power and never give it to an outside source. True authority comes from within.

Don’t walk through life stifling your authenticity, suppressing your uniqueness, hiding your truth out of fear of what others may think. Being someone other than you are only hampers your wellbeing and also wastes a whole lot of your energy.

We are interconnected with the universe and with all others and, as agents of change, have a single absolute purpose to fulfill. Activist and leader Mahatma Gandhi understood that concept. He advised, “Be the change you want to see in this world.”

As part of our spiritual journey, we can make the world a better place. Ask yourself, “What is my mission?” “What is my purpose?” “What is my goal?” We are being enlisted to fulfill  that mission and that purpose. We are the vessel being used to fulfill a greater good. But to achieve that wonderful promise, positive change must be embraced and initiated.

Maxim W. Furek has a rich background that includes aspects of psychology, addictions, mental health and music journalism. His book The Death Proclamation of Generation X: A Self-Fulfilling Prophesy of Goth, Grunge and Heroin explores the dark marriage between grunge music and the beginning of the opioid crisis. Learn more at shepptonmyth.com