If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it,
then what you are undergoes a transformation.
                                            ~ J. Krishnamurti

1R-CdeBijl-2008-08-04-022_bYou promised yourself it would be different this time. You’d stay on your diet, keep to your exercise program, stop procrastinating, be on time for work, be kind to your mother, not yell at the kids. Instead you did the exact opposite. You did what you always did; and now you are discouraged, frustrated, and beating yourself up. When will you ever get it right???

Most of us have experienced this at one time or another. What we usually do is beat ourselves up, grit our teeth, try again – and fail until we give up or do it by force of will and are exhausted from the effort.


Imagine expecting a huge ocean liner to make a sharp right turn. Sounds silly doesn’t it? We all can picture an ocean liner slowing down and making a wide, slow circular turn that continues going somewhat in the old direction even halfway into the turn, yet still it turns.

While an ocean liner taking its time and going in the old direction halfway through the turn makes sense, we expect more of ourselves. We expect to change life long habits, beliefs, and ways of being instantly – just because we said so. And when we can’t we beat ourselves up, call ourselves names, and generally gum up our works expecting that will motivate us to try harder and do better.

If the captain of the oceanliner went down and beat on the engines because they didn’t make a sharper turn we would think he was crazy. Yet what we do to ourselves makes just as much sense.

There is a normal progression to change. When we can accept it and use it we have a much better chance of success.

First: You notice it after you did it the old way. Then…

You notice it while in process of doing it the old way. Then…

You notice it at the beginning of doing it the old way but can’t stop yourself. Then…
This is where many people believe they failed and quit.

You notice it before you start and may be able to adjust a little but not stop. Then…
This is where we often tell ourselves we’ll never get it right.

You notice it before you start and can make some changes. Then…
If you haven’t beaten yourself too badly, you may make it to this step.

You notice it before you start and can make more changes. Then…

You notice it after doing it the new way. Then…

It’s no longer in your consciousness. It just happens “naturally.”

Life is a process and processes take time. It helps to be patient and gentle with ourselves and to approach change from a place of observation and curiosity rather than punishment and correction. Celebrate – life can be a joy if we allow it.

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