"What we aren't changing, we are choosing."
~ Laurie Buchanan

The Problem With Resisting Change

I found this quote recently and really liked it because of its simplicity, and because of its potential to support those of us who are wanting to create a more meaningful experience of life. What I like is how it helps us understand the impact of those areas of our life that are not truly representative of the best of who we are, and the importance of making purposeful choices in these areas going forward.

In other words, if there are relationships, work experiences, friendships, or even hidden beliefs about ourselves or the world that do not represent who we are at our best, just ignoring them does not minimize their impact on our lives. In fact, ignoring them can often increase their impact because they wind up operating out of our awareness, and, therefore, out of our influence or control.

One reason that these problematic beliefs and situations can continue to effect our experience of life is that they have become ingrained in our psyche. For those of you who follow my “Life from the Top of the Mind” philosophy, you know that this means that they represent neural pathways in the brain that tend to throw us either down to the lower 20% of the brain (the brainstem) or connect us to the upper 80% (the neocortex, what I call the “Top of the Mind”).

At least the connections to our neocortex have us eventually coming from the conscious or purposeful part of the brain, and, therefore, allow us to make more purposeful choices about whether we continue to trust them as guides in our lives. Unfortunately, those beliefs, perspectives, interpretations, and expectations that are unconscious (which reside in our middle brain, or limbic system) can be more problematic specifically because they reside outside of our awareness.

That’s why I like the quote from Carl Jung that says, “Until we make the unconscious conscious, it will control our lives.” Which means until we become aware (conscious) of those beliefs, perspectives, interpretations, and expectations that we have adopted since our birth, they will continue to impact our lives but we won’t be able to influence this impact. Or, as Laurie Buchanan says, “Whatever we are not changing, we are choosing.”

Of course, there are aspects of our lives, as well as, beliefs that, even though they may not have been chosen purposefully, we don’t want to change because they are helping us create the experience of life that we want. In these cases, the idea that “Whatever we are not changing, we are choosing” makes perfect sense because we are indeed choosing them and don’t want them to change.

However, because the part of the brain that makes decisions based upon past experience and the need to keep us alive as a specie (the middle brain, or limbic system), is initially unconscious, we must be vigilant to ensure that old beliefs or perspectives that we would not recommend to someone we love aren’t resulting in a type of “head in the sand” way of life that is ignoring what truly does need to change.

Therefore, I suggest that you take a look at the aspects of your life that you feel are incongruent with the best of who you are. Whether they are external situations or internal beliefs or perspectives, if you would not recommend them to someone that you love, I suggest, change them… bring the unconscious to consciousness, and actively decide whether you want to keep them or change them.

In other words, tap into the clear, confident, creative part of who you are (the neocortex, or Top of the Mind) and use your wisdom and influence to acknowledge what is incongruent with you at your best, and change these aspects of life to ones that have been chosen on purpose.

In doing so, you become someone who is both changing and choosing a way of feeling, thinking, and being that both supports the best of who you are, and a way of life you would recommend to those you love. Not a bad criteria for choice, don’t you think?

~ All the best, Dr. Bill