So once these negative coping mechanisms are in place, and lead to more suffering, how does change occur? First, we learn to practice self-compassion.
"This is the only way I know how to do things..."
"Even though I'm dissatisfied with my job, I'm comfortable there..."
"Using drugs is the only way to deal with this stress, nothing else works..."
"Everyone else is wrong, they just don't understand me..."
Then, once we get to the awareness that something about us needs to change, we may experience a wave of negative self-talk. There may be guilt and shame about how we've behaved in the past. We may believe our own deficit in character is responsible for our problems, therefore we will always be sub-par, inadequate, and hopelessly flawed.
I encourage every client I see to maintain self-compassion and self-acceptance through the counseling process. Even though change may be ideal, the practice of being kind to ourselves in our current state and as we are today will lead to a more fulfilling and pleasant life.
Second, it's often tempting to push ourselves too hard. Some pushing is necessary, otherwise we are stuck. But too much pushing is not helpful either. I call this the three P's of the growth process.
The goal is to maintain balance between desire for change and acceptance of our present state. Do you think that's possible? I'd love to hear comments! As always, go and be, and Flourish.