Existential Psychology

Preoccupied With Life Changes

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“When I accept myself as I am, then I can change.”
– Carl Rogers

The paradox about life changes is that when you are too preoccupied with them happening you actually get in your own way, stunting your growth and making the changes you desire less likely to happen. Of course if you don’t think about these changes at all they probably won’t come to pass either.

What we’re talking about here is being mindful about future goals, that is making sure that when you are thinking about the future you’re conscious of doing so from the present. A lot of people get lost in the past or the future, forgetting that every moment of their lives takes place in the here and now.

In terms of trying to make changes in your life, putting a bunch of undue pressure on yourself because you want them to happen right away and getting down on yourself because they haven’t interferes with the mindful life practice that is most conducive to making these changes happen. Each step in the journey is important, you can’t transport yourself straight to the finish line. The surest way to reach that finish line is to focus all of your attention and energy on each step, on where you actually are instead of where you wish you were. This doesn’t mean forgetting about where you want to go, just that you know you’re in the present while you’re heading that way.

When you are more mindful about the present tense you will notice small changes and improvements that you would have missed before or that you would have denigrated as not good enough. But each and every one of these small changes is essential, their cumulative effect is a big change, and actually without all these small changes the big change could never happen at all.

People want a lightning strike, they want an earthquake, they want everything to be different right now, but that’s not how most life changes work. Nothing worthwhile is achieved easily or quickly. Changing longstanding patterns of thought and behavior takes time and hard work. The best way to do it is to accept where you are right now and stop getting down on yourself for where you wish you were, instead moving mindfully towards that goal and congratulating yourself for your progress along the way.