Ever found yourself standing in front of the fridge, definitely hungry, but with no idea what for? Eventually you shut the door and look in the pantry. Then move on to the cupboard. Then peer in the fruit bowl. Still nothing. So you stay hungry.
It’s a simple truth: you can’t fill a hunger you can’t name. It’s the same principle that I find myself saying again and again to my clients: You can’t change a habit you don’t know you have.
Which is why the first step – always – in changing old, annoying habits and patterns is awareness. Not fixing or getting harsh with yourself; simply seeing what’s there to be seen.
The amazing thing is that just noticing what’s going on in your head and thus, your life, starts the transformation process. (It doesn’t end there, generally, fyi.) It’s like the scientific principle that the very act of observing something changes the outcome. There’s magic in simple seeing.
From there you can suss out the roots and choose to give yourself a new experience instead of retreating back in to the same. old. thing. The one that gives you such crappy results.
It’s a lot easier place to start than trying to completely eradicate the behavior, I can tell you that. And it’s the same principle espoused by yoga and meditation – awareness, and just being with what is and where you are in this exact moment, leads to liberation and enlightenment. Buddhists refer to it as “making friends with yourself.” Doesn’t that sound so lovely?
The paradox is that increasing your awareness can feel pretty sucky at first. Maybe it’s becoming apparent to you that you’ve got a lot of judgy thoughts in your head that only keep you feeling disappointed by people. Or that you’ve got a wicked habit of being vague, using a lot of phrases such as “maybe,” “I don’t know,” or “at some point.” Or that your default reaction to any pebble in the road is complete overwhelm. It doesn’t really feel great to recognize yourself doing this stuff. I cannot lie about that. (The overwhelm piece is something I’ve only recently worked through; I know what I’m talking about with this one, trust me!)
What’s ready to be seen (and thus, released) in your life?