“You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.”
– Marianne Williamson
Welcome to a new Unpack!
Today’s quote is from American author Marianne Williamson on the necessity to change our thinking before we can change our being.
Have you ever tried to reinvent yourself? Maybe you wanted to stop trying to control everything, or to be kinder, or more grateful. Your effort might have lasted for a few days or maybe even longer but after a while you slipped right back to who you were before. Because you were trying to change your being, or action, without first changing the thoughts that lead to that behaviour in the first place. So you might have told yourself to “stop being so controlling” or “be nice” or “be more grateful, look at all you have!” but those instructional thoughts weren’t really sustainable.
True change, a change in thinking, takes time. Our brains are conditioned as we grow up to think in a certain way, and our neural pathways become stronger the longer we continue thinking that way. This is why children learn and change so quickly, their neurons haven’t been firing the same way for as long as an adult. Fortunately in the last few decades scientists have discovered that neuroplasticity is real and it’s definitely possible to teach an old dog new tricks!
Author Dr Joe Dispenza has written some great books on changing your brain and, as always, the first step is becoming aware of the thoughts behind the behaviours that aren’t working for you. The next step is creating an alternative, which means you need to be able to think bigger than your current feelings. Create the new you first in your mind, and then educate yourself on how to become that person.
Of course it’s not so simple that it can be summed up in a snappy paragraph, so if you want to read more I highly recommend Joe’s books Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself and Evolve Your Brain.
A big component, as I mentioned earlier is time. It takes time to change the brain, so be patient. In my personal experience, trying to become someone who can take things as they come, I am finally now seeing the fruits of many years of reading, learning and challenging myself to think differently. Very recently a situation came up where in the past I might have been sad or felt rejected or defeated, but on this occasion I have only felt peace. I’ve been able to easily accept the outcome as it is, without feeling the need to manipulate or change it. It’s a new experience for me, but one that I have been working on creating for several years. I’m sure it will take many more to truly master it. So don’t give up, we can all get there with sustained effort!
What thoughts can you identify that are holding you back from becoming the next level you? Start noticing and recording them!
Have a wonderful week!
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