How to Use it
(This section comes from an article called, "Changing the Way We Make Change."
After 45 years of working for change – in areas such as recycling/environment, creating events on the international level, healing a painful marriage, and facing humiliation so deep that I withheld my core work for decades – here are some insights I’ve learned about what blocks change, and how we can make it more effectively.
Understanding What Blocks Us
Insight #1. We often try to change others, so our life will be better.
Wait a minute; what’s wrong with that? Of course we want people to change! We want them to listen to us, buy what we have, or change their behaviour.
Yet think what happens when someone tries to change you – through marketing, pressure tactics, or telling you what to do. Do you feel resistant or angry? If so, it’s only natural...because most of us don’t want to be controlled or changed. That’s why, when we treat others this way, it frequently leads to more conflict rather than the outcomes we’d like to see.
Insight #2. Human beings have a split mind: A positive, loving side -and- a negative, fear-based side. And both of these shape our choices, actions and results.
Consider your best moments in life, when you feel friendly, caring, generous and kind. You’re probably open to new ideas, and enjoy doing what you can to help others. Now think what happens when something goes wrong. When you face a crisis, hurt or rejection, or something makes your blood boil. Then a different side of us comes out. We become more self-centred, defensive and critical, perhaps even attacking others in the process.
These two aspects – our light and dark sides (as Star Wars called them), or our ‘larger and smaller selves’ – are both part of human nature. But we’re often unaware which one is guiding our decisions and actions.
Insight #3. Much of the change we try to make is shaped by our negative or fearful side.
Everyone starts with the best of intentions. We want life to be better for ourselves and others. Yet what we do is often motivated by some kind upset or pain as well. Not having enough money. People treating us unfairly. Frustration with those who don’t “do what’s right.” Concerns about our future, or the state of the planet. When these experiences trigger our fearful mind, we often try to pressure, force, scare or guilt people into change. However, this actually creates more resistance and alienation, rather than greater willingness and desire to change. (This is what happened in my first career, and marriage, so I write from personal experience ;)
So what can we do to create positive change in more effective and healing ways?
What is the Consciousness ‘Behind’ What We Do?
1) Positive change comes from connection – among people, and values.
Whether it’s growing a business, a happier relationship or a healthier world, most meaningful change depends on other people. That means we need to connect what we love, care about and value with what matters to others. And, combine our core values instead of choosing between them: e.g. jobs + environment; social purpose + business results; money + fulfillment. I call it building ‘bridges of connection’.
2) “Think and feel into the needs of others.” (Donald Cooper, top business consultant)
To build connection, it’s also valuable to think, feel and listen into where others are. ‘How is this person doing inside? How are my words/actions affecting them? What do they want & need? Will this idea work for them? How can I give them the best possible experience?’ This process enables us to understand what matters to people, and what may be motivating their actions. It gives us specific, practical ways to help them. And it also demonstrates that we care.
3) Change starts with our thinking, not the other person.
For me, creating better results starts with an intention: “What do I want to experience, and what experience do I want to give to others?” Plus a shift in mindset from: Seeing others as separate to seeing how we are connected. ‘Getting what I want’ to ‘what do I have to give?’ Pushing change to inspiring it. Being driven by anger & judgment to acting with caring & compassion. Without these shifts, what I do is being led by my negative, ego self rather than my loving self.
4) Listening to our intuition.
Intellect is very creative and can produce amazing results. However, intuition – which combines thinking, feeling, sensing and knowing – is far more powerful. It gives us access to a deeper wisdom and ideas that go beyond our own limited perspective. It brings ways to communicate that are more effective. And it guides us into actions which yield more success and fulfillment – for others, ourselves and the greater whole.
How we connect with intuition varies for each of us. Taking a moment to be still, listening inside, and asking my larger mind/higher self what to do are steps that have helped me.
5) Gently facing and healing our own blocks.
Past experience has given us much to appreciate. But it’s also left us with painful memories, wounds, losses & limiting beliefs. As a result, we become less trusting and more self-protective. We listen less fully to others, and to our own inner wisdom. And we often hold back from speaking our truths, living what’s in our heart, and fully loving others (and ourselves).
Facing our wounds can be hard. Yet this allows us to heal them, to feel more whole again, and to grow better relationships with the people around us.