We Are Whatever We Have Practiced: Time to Change It?
What's Making Them Ineffective?
So much of apparently ineffective stuff has been written about personal transformation in so called self-help literature, that every new title on that market seems like yet another attempt of an author to pull our leg with some impossible mambo-jumbo.
Those of you who have tried to produce a lasting change in your personality know it too well, and maybe you are still trying, going from one modality to another in a hope that something after all might work.
So, why doesn't it? Why can't this or that new technique be taken by our nervous and endocrine system just like any other skill being learned? Here we are about to examine those main reasons, and possibly help those aspiring ones to get a new insight and enable them to do it right next time around.
It Felt so Good for a While
As many of you who have tried know, it's not that those techniques didn't work at all, and it's that tantalizing initial effect which already gave you a bit of a taste of that desired change, which caused all that frustration after it simply wore off and left you at the square one.
It's like that with so many of us hopefuls, ending up feeling more like hope-fools. That book, or motivational seminar, CD, or the technique made us feel initially so different that we already started announcing to our closest friends and family a miraculous transformation that they are about to witness soon.
And then the whole enthusiasm ran out through our clenched hands like the desert sand having changed its spelling from a "miracle" to a "mirage". What went wrong, we ask.
Running in Circles
Now we are left with that already familiar disheartening realization that---either the "system" doesn't work at all, or it works only for those who are "more ready than us", or smarter, or, what regularly puts chills up our spine---maybe we are messed up beyond repair.
However, the will to change stays with us despite every new dent in it, and as soon as something new and promising shows up, we are sure to try it. Needless to say, with the same results as before, now only additionally frustrated, pissed off about every penny we have spent so far on this "crazy business of being less crazy".
Now may be the right time in our story to bring the title of it into play, and come to this major realization how we have become just very proficient at something that we have practiced---"trying and quitting".
Our Own Sabotaging It
That's right, just like the title says---we become whatever we practice, and so far we have practiced to be hopeful, to "try" it, and to give it up. Something like a spoiler in our personality makeup wouldn't let us persist or include that crucial emotion which makes the whole difference between succeeding and failing.
Let's go a little logical about it---if it showed those initial signs of being effective, then it was effective, nothing was wrong with it. You see, I would go as far as saying that just about every of those systems available on the market is effective, except that we don't apply it with the full understanding of the pitfalls involved.
That's what you get to realize once when it's over and you are well on your path to become more of that person you want to be. In retrospect you may evaluate each of them, and clearly see how good they actually were, but you made them fail you.
Three Culprits behind Those Failures
Now, let's get familiar with those pitfalls that I just mentioned. The problem behind all those failures is not about something missing in those instructions, but in certain three factors which make them ineffective.
The first one is our innate resistance to change. As we are about to see in more detail, our psycho-physical nature just thrives on the status quo, and it doesn't like anything that's threatening to "rock the boat".
Then, the second one is about something like a "healing crisis" that usually follows a detox. Let us remind ourselves how some emotions are "toxic" to us, and just like all other emotional routine, they have their energetic and chemical equivalent in our system that has to be discharged or converted, which may not feel good for a while ---but represents enough of a reason for us to quit our project short.
And the third in the line of pitfalls is our lack of persistence which doesn't need any defining, although we are going to see it a little more closely to get impressed with its significance.
A Powerful Inner Opponent
Resistance to change is actually a default feature of our survival arsenal. As you know, our survival instinct is the strongest of all in our default nature, but what you may not know is that everything that we keep doing for a while our subconscious mind will interpret as our "learning a new survival skill", and will store it as such.
That's basically why addictions are so hard to break---our attempts to quit are clashing with a powerful inner opponent, our own survival mechanism, which took our harmful activity for a part of the strategy to survive.
That's why giving up something like cigarettes may feel like a "matter of life and death", while it appears unthinkable to us to "live without inhaling those fumes". So we are bound to resist any major change in the model of our functioning---including those mental habits of wrong thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and consequently emotions.
It's about Re-Wiring Our Brain
As we are about to do something about it, we might as well be aware of what inner opponent we are dealing with. It may sound silly to you, but your arsenal of psycho-physical survival thinks that your lousy emotions are a part of your surviving--- reasoning that otherwise you wouldn't have "practiced it" over and over again.
You see, we are revisiting the title of this article with this realization that our lousy emotionality is an addiction, and has to be treated as such. Recently someone objected to this idea of requalifying our emotions saying that we may "snap" if we suppress them.
Now, doesn't every quitting an addiction bring about those moments when we feel like we are going to "go nuts" and fall into pieces without our fix? It's really all about "re-wiring" our brain, and as that good scholar Dr.Joe Dispenza keeps reminding us : "Brain cells that fire together---wire together". Which nicely translates into the title of this article, doesn't it?
Body Needs to Regroup
So, let's go a little easier on ourselves and show some compassion, because our nervous system is only doing its job by trying to keep its survival mechanism intact. Now, let us get to the second apparent obstacle to change---our body's need to reorganize itself.
As far as I know, the only time when this part gets skipped for some reason is when we change with the help of hypnosis. Somehow, our subconscious makes that inner shift so readily that no emotional upheavals or even physical symptoms of a detox are present.
In all other, so called "gradual" changes, body goes through that initial stage of reluctance, or call it "chaos"---while the old pattern hasn't left as yet, and the new one hasn't taken over as yet. Let me emphasize that such inner reorganization is very individual thing and may subjectively be either a "pain in the butt", or something mild and hardly noticeable.
Those with a more flexible mentality will be among the less affected ones. However, that's why at the onset of that stage so many of us quit our project of self-help---wrongly reasoning how it's hurting us, because it's not producing those expected effects, but more lousy feelings instead. Goes without saying---a little more patience will do.
Persistence - the Key to Success
Finally, here we come to that hardest to accept part---about our persistence in doing whatever we are supposed to do in order to affect those desired changes. And no other aspect of it is more directly tied to the title of this article, because, indeed, we do become whatever we practice.
What we are today is the direct result of the sum total of our predominant thoughts, emotions, attitudes, and actions that we have practiced for some years. Not those passing ones, but those that got rooted into the fabric of our survival mechanism.
So, similar to dealing with an addiction, we are facing a challenge of breaking that chain of inner algorithms serving us that unwanted emotionalism or whatever our issue may be. To revisit those "concerns" about "snapping"---just think for a moment about those athletes training for Olympics, or those violin players aspiring to one day play in front of a grand orchestra. Or think of a Navy Seal and his incredibly demanding discipline that's remodeling most of his emotionality.
Try to imagine how many inner "dragons" all of these persistent individuals have to slay on their way to excellence. Are they "torturing" themselves? Are they going to "snap" because so much in them is rebelling against their imposed discipline? Just think of it every time when "snapping" becomes your concern---or an excuse for quitting your project of inner change.
It's Up to Us What We Become - Always Has Been
Within these preceding paragraphs is the answer to those nagging questions about the reasons why self-help modalities don't seem to produce the desired results. Experts in the field of psychology are quick to dismiss every attempt of producing inner changes---other than their, professional procedures.
Now, of course, I didn't have to tell you that it all depends on the severity of our issues, which may call for a professional help rather than taking matters in our own hands.
However, most of those suffering folks out there don't really need more than a "tune up" in their beliefs and their habitual inner behavior, and most of it is fixable by simply practicing something different---for we ultimately became what we have practiced, and will become whatever we decide to practice from now on.