Whatever change it is you want to see in your life, just be willing. Be willing to take action, discover new ways, let go, forgive, trust, and embrace the unknown. Just be willing. It sounds so simple. On some level, we know that without our willingness, nothing is going to happen, nothing is going to change in our lives. But ask yourself: Am I truly willing to change? Am I willing to look at the things that I am struggling with and that are overwhelming to me? Am I ready to take action and embrace new ways? Or am I waiting for change?
We often want things to change, but we don’t want to get involved, whether it is in a relationship, at work, or within our family. We may desire to improve our health, physically and emotionally, or we may wish to let go of a habit that has been with us for a lifetime. We may long for change in any of these areas, but we want it to come to us. We are not willing to do something about it.
Therefore, the change we long to see may never appear, and yet we still experience change consistently, and we keep wondering why it is never the change we desire. If that is the case for you, ask yourself: Am I Willing or Am I Waiting?
There is no easy way to break this to you, so I’m going to be blunt: It is you who has to be willing first and foremost. Not your surroundings. Not the other person. Not your current circumstances. This may not be easy to accept. It puts a lot of responsibility on ourselves, and we may instinctively reject that. It seems that the easier way is to blame others or succumb to the belief that our life has to be that way. But whether you are choosing blame or indifference, either way, you are giving away your power! You are giving away your ability to make your own decisions and create a life you love.
That is why willingness is the first step, and to check-in with yourself and find out if you are willing, declare your willingness. You can start by saying I am willing to <…> - fill in the change you would like to see in your life. By declaring your willingness, you are committing to yourself. It means that you are willing to put in the work and face your resistance. You are affirming that you are ready to take over the responsibility for your life. You understand that it is up to you to make it happen. You realize that you are the only one who can make it happen. Start declaring that you are willing and notice how it feels.
What if it doesn’t feel right? What if you say to yourself, I am willing to change, but it makes you feel a bit queasy in your stomach? Be honest with yourself. What is coming up for you when you declare your willingness? Do you hear some BUTs and WHENs? Don’t worry; it is an entirely normal response. You are not alone with it. There are many BUTs out there. You have already moved on to the next step: Noticing your BUTs and WHENs. They represent your resistance to change, to let go, to heal, to feel – whatever it is you have just declared that you are willing to do. This resistance likes to hide and covers itself expertly as distractions and excuses, also known as self-imposed limitations.
Becoming aware of those BUTs and WHENs is an important step. That is what you want to investigate and work on because there is more to our excuses and distractions. Once we drill down, we often find the real reason hidden underneath. There are many layers of resistance, and even though our excuses might be legit, we do need to take them seriously. Investigating them is necessary as they prevent us from moving forward, from doing something we want to do, from making the changes we desire to see.
Before moving on to the next paragraph, think about something that you really, really want to change in your life. Declare that you are willing to make that change and start listening to your BUTS and WHENS. Let them come up and don’t judge. Just look at them.
What are the typical BUTs and WHENs?
Our reasons and excuses are manifold. It seems as if we have an endless yet repetitive amount of them, and we are amazingly creative in coming up with new ones. Usually, they fit into one of the following buckets:
Let’s have a closer look at each bucket to understand it a little bit better.
1 - Time or Timing
You either don’t have it as you keep yourself busy, or the timing just isn’t right.
I want to be in a relationship, but I don’t have the time to date. I’ll take care of it when I am less stressed. I want to work out more, but I just don’t have the time. I want to change my job, but now is not a good time to look for something else.
2 - Money
You may not be willing to invest in yourself. You may worry about your financial safety. You may not trust yourself with money.
Once I have more money, I change my career and do what I really want to do. I shouldn’t be spending that much money. I can’t justify spending so much money on myself.
3 - Outsourcing Responsibility
In this case, someone else is the reason that you cannot do something. Your are putting the responsibility on another person.
I want to change, but my partner wouldn’t like it. My family wouldn’t support me. He would not be able to deal with it. I would do it, but he wouldn’t understand. They will disapprove. She will be so sad about this.
You are making or better said not making your choices dependent on someone else’s presumed behavior or reaction. Remember, it could be true, but often we don’t even ask. We just assume. We are not ready to argue our case. Why not talk it through with your partner, friend, or whoever it is you are basing your decision on?
4 - Too Much Responsibility
In this case, you are responsible for everything and everyone. You feel that there is no time to take care of yourself because you have to take care of everyone else first. Anything less would be selfish.
I have to take care of my partner. He cannot be without me. I have to take care of my friend. She’d be devastated if I had less time for her. I have to take care of my parents. They need me, and I am responsible for them.
Consider the following picture: You are filling your own cup, and it starts to overflow, and the overflow is pouring onto the saucer. That is what you want to use to help others. Your overflow! When your own cup is filled and overflowing, you are at your best, and then you can give even more to others. If you deplete your cup, you will soon not be able to help anyone anymore.
5 - Justification Through Comparison
Comparison is very seductive, making us feel better than someone else or judging us for not being good enough. It leads us away from our lives and creates an equation that can never be equal, as we crave to be better or worse, depending on our need for suffering or self-righteousness.
It isn’t that bad all the time. Look how bad they have. It could be so much worse. We are better off than so many people. Sometimes I am happy. You can’t always be happy. Their relationship is a mess; mine looks good in comparison. It would be selfish to make that change, given everything I have. Others have so much less and do so much more. I should be more accomplished.
As we move along, let me remind you that your reasons may all be valid and true. But, if you really want to make a change, you have to look into them and see what’s underneath. That is the way to determine what is real and what isn’t. Keep reading; there are two excuses left to consider.
6 - Complacency
This excuse is born out of comfort and deeply engrained in our nature. We like being comfortable. We are creatures of habit, and it doesn’t matter if the habit is good or bad for us. Repeating patterns make us feel safe because they are certain, and we crave certainty. The unknown may seem scary, overwhelming, unclear, and even dreadful.
But I am so used to doing it this way. I don’t want to change my routine. It makes me feel good. I just need this sometimes. It’s exhausting not to do it. It’s been a part of me for so long. I can’t change it. At least I know what to expect.
What if we could shift our view of the unknown into something exciting, creative, and never been there before? What if we could see it as something that has the potential to bring us fulfillment, happiness, and peace? By being willing, we shift our perspective and realize that we do have a choice. Now we are ready to take another step.
7 - I Don't Know How
You might be thinking, yes, I am willing to change. I am curious to look at my resistance. BUT I don’t know how. This "not-knowing" how to start or where to start often causes us to sit back down. We begin feeling small again, and the I don’t know how morphs into I don’t think I can. I’m not cut out for this. It’s too much for me. What happened? We gave up before we even tried.
A Magical Cure Called Willingness
Looking at all those BUTs and WHENs, you may begin to understand why willingness is so important. It starts the process, and it keeps you moving forward. Willingness leads to action. Because anything you need to get to where you want to be is already out there, but you cannot see it without the willingness. You are stuck in the comfort zone, repeating old patterns, waiting for change to happen, and letting your resistance get in the way. With willingness, you are moving from a passive state to an active state, and your resistance begins to crumble.
I am willing to make the changes I long to see. Let me look at those BUTs and WHENs. Let me eliminate my distractions and focus on what I want. I trust myself. I know I can do it. The power is mine.
By simply admitting what we are afraid of or worried about, we light up our path. Everything starts with your willingness. The moment you declare it, you are making a commitment, and you are putting trust in yourself. You trust that you can do it. You trust that you will find ways to do it. You take back your responsibility and your power. That is how you shift your whole perspective.
And while I am writing this blog, my mind drifts off to areas in my life where I want to see change, but it seems to be slipping away from me, so I pause and ask myself the same question: Am I willing or am I waiting?
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