4 Big Reasons Why We Get Stuck In Our Attempts At Personal Change

4 Big Reasons Why We Get Stuck In Our Attempts At Personal Change. Graphic

The 4 Big Reasons Why We Get Stuck In Our Attempts At Personal Change

[1] Misguided Beliefs And The BIG Lie

This first of the 4 big reasons why we get stuck is, in my view, the most important.

The "self-help industry" generates $ USD billons per year, and many of us buy books and attend courses on how to improve ourselves.

Yet most of the time we don’t change.

We can’t change - it's why we get stuck.

We have unconscious (and thus hidden) resistance. And yet we believe that if we keep on trying we can somehow gain control of our lives.

Then we deal with our resistance and still life is hard and things don’t always improve – or move in the directions we think that we want.

We are told by the experts that if we take massive action, practise positive thinking, or learn this or that skill we can somehow create or co-create the future we desire.

There is a prevalent belief circulating the western world in general and the US in particular that our thoughts create our total experience and that ultimately we are responsible for everything that happens to us.

This belief postulates that at some deeper level - or maybe in a previous existence or pre-existent state - we have chosen these things that happen to us.

There are the science of the mind teachings, positive thinking teachings, and more recently the law of attraction teachings. All of these beliefs are so often presented as certainties and yet they just become further reasons why we get stuck.

All of my lived and observed life experience has shown me that:

    How we think does very largely affect how we experience and interpret what happens to us.

    How we think does not create everything that happens to us.

I say this with conviction because the evidence does not support the "I can create any future I want" belief and its another reason why we get stuck.

Life is more complex than we can comprehend, and life is also interconnected and interdependent  in ways that we do not conventionally fully appreciate.

Our lives are woven together in ways and for reasons that we often cannot see, and yet, each of us is a thread in another person’s tapestry. It is probable that we live in a participatory universe.

There are many people who have been inordinately commercially successful and/or personally successful in their relationships and family life – or who have enjoyed remarkably good health - and there is nothing to suggest that their success is entirely attributable to how they think.

There are many people who think good positive uplifting and empowering thoughts and they are not successful or blessed in these areas.

What we can say with certainty and conviction is that:

  • Life is far more complex, random and chaotic than we realise or, for many of us, are prepared to accept.
  • Cause and effect is often neither obvious or even discernible.
  • We make inferences and assumptions and hold beliefs that are irrational or lack foundation.
  • We are deluded by our cognitive biases.
  • Our brains are hardwired to the environment of our Paleolithic ancestors and have neither evolved or adapted for life in the modern world.

    I call this "the big lie" because in my experience the lie is in the overstatement of a partial truth and in the misdirection that anything can be resolved anywhere "if I put my mind to it".

    This is a gross deception and it leads so many people to keep on striving to find "it""the missing piece of the jigsaw" and thus to stay in a perpetual state of seeking and aspiration and desire for something "out there" in the future that will "make me feel happy, fulfilled and complete".

Yes how we think matters – but far less than we believe it does.

It matters to the extent that we are as well equipped as possible to cope with what is happening to us now and, so often, that which is imposed upon us. But it does not create very much of what happens to us.

[2] Most Of What We Think Is Outside Of Our Conscious Awareness

Most Of What We Think Is Outside Of Our Conscious Awareness. Graphic

Of the 4 big reasons why we get stuck this one is difficult because we can't see it.

Change comes from within. As Carl Jung said:

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

And a lot of that thinking that is going on outside of our conscious awareness is deeply resistant to our conscious efforts to change.

So even though how we think matters far less than we think it does, and even though how we think has far less effect on the circumstances of our live than we are often taught, even our feeble attempts to change our attitudes and behaviours towards what we experience are largely blocked by hidden unconscious resistance to personal change.

    We like to think – and are often led to believe – that we are masters of our destiny.

    Yet that is just not true, as the vast majority of what we think is outside of our conscious awareness.

[3] We Can’t Let Go And Trust

We Can’t Let Go And Trust. Graphic

And as if all that isn’t bad enough – even when we are able accept the limitations of the power of our thoughts and even when we are able to identify and deal with our inner resistance to personal change we run into another of the 4 big reasons why we get stuck.

We eventually come to the realisation that we just can’t sort it out ourselves – it is beyond our capacity to deal with – we reach the limits of our thinking minds.

We reach the point where we have to let go and trust…. something that is beyond us – and it this realisation that is very, very threatening and scary because it means relinquishing control – letting go of the notion that "I am in control" – eventually to the point of letting go of the whole notion of who “I” is.

And underlying this problem is an even bigger deception or lie... and that is the lie that "I" am in control of anything.

And yet it is in letting go and trusting… that we find the only path to real and permanent personal change and transformation.

[And just as a footnote: this is what lies at the root of the idea of the Christian "way of the cross" and "death to self", the Buddhist "dropping of the self" and "realisation of emptiness" and the Islamic jihad in the sense of a personal and internal "holy war" to achieve submission to "righteous living", and similar expressions in other faith traditions.]

    Most of us would rather die (and usually do) before we are willing and able to surrender – to let go of control of - our lives.

[4] We Can’t Stop Thinking

We Can’t Stop Thinking. Graphic

This last of the 4 big reasons why we get stuck is because of the we are so identified with the thought stream and fail to realising that we are not our thoughts.

A big part of letting go – even just for a while – and escaping the tyranny of our thoughts is to learn how to stop thinking.

Imagine being able to stop thinking at will, on demand, at any time and in any place.

Imagine being able to create a space in your head where there are no thoughts and no emotions... just space and awareness of the sounds and smells and visual images around you...awareness of the sensation of  your breath entering and leaving your body.

So, what is it like to be able to stop thinking?

The best way I can describe it is to say that it's like having your own personal safe room in your head where you can take refuge from your thoughts. When I am in my safe room in my head it is as though I am in a place where there are no thoughts and no emotional reactions.

Well strictly speaking I am aware of a limited amount of distant "white noise" coming from thoughts and emotions but this is very peripheral to the core of where I am. So I guess to be completely accurate this means that I stop 80% of all thought and emotional reactions more or less on demand.

Here are 3 benefits of learning how to stop thinking:

  1. It provides you with a sanctuary and refuge from the tyranny of your thinking mind.
  2. This break from your thinking mind gives you an opportunity to recharge your mental, emotional and spiritual batteries.
  3. It really does allow new ideas and fresh insights to emerge. you will find that the space that arises between the thoughts in your thinking mind is a very fertile and creative space.

    Most people spend their entire life imprisoned within the confines of their own thoughts.

    They never go beyond a narrow, mind-made, personalized sense of self that is conditioned by the past."

    In you, as in each human being, there is a dimension of consciousness far deeper than thought.

    It is the very essence of who you are.

Next Article: The Illusion Of A Separate Self - Windows 11 With Self Awareness!

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