The kinds of changes that lead to genuinely greater life satisfaction tend to be more involved than adjusting habits. They are visceral and surprising, and they ask more of us than we usually expect to give. To truly make a paradigm shift, we must allow the change to move through our past, present and into our future, through our mind, body and emotionality.
With the right resources, pain is survivable, even relieving, when met without resistance.
Although we must repress pain at certain times, (particularly in childhood or during trauma), it is important to remember that it is possible to create safe environments as adults in which extremely intense emotions, thoughts and sensations can be acknowledged and
transformed. Avoiding pain is a common barrier to achieving greater life satisfaction, despite the safety and support available to feel the pain directly and allow the mind and body a different relationship with it.
The systems that got us where we are now likely won’t get us where we want to go. We must honor and grieve the life we’ve lived.
The place where we currently stand is to be given great respect, as we’ve spent all of our efforts to bring shape to our life. The strategies we have employed to feel connection and get our needs met have been our threads of survival. No matter how happy or dissatisfied we might find ourselves at any given point, the fact is that life has led us here and that we are experiencing at all is a great achievement.
These sacred strategies we learned from our first caregivers often asked us for the high price of personal power, a worthy price for survival and the experience of life itself. Yet, personal power is essential in living the unique life each of us has been tasked to live. Your life has never before been lived, you must be the one to live it, and to do that, you’ll have to say goodbye to many of the old ways of relating and navigating the world.
Large capacity for desire and pleasure comes with practice and conscious effort.
Pain is not the only experience we resist. Pleasure and desiring too, can bring a discomfort that comes with being new and unfamiliar. Tolerating love in the places we have never felt it, enjoying security in places we have only felt fear, and having fun in areas that have always been difficult are experiences for which we must consciously make space.
The beauty of being a therapist is the privilege to witness people with earnest desire to live satisfying lives risk everything they know to get them. Making change is courageous and consuming, and it is the only way I have observed people to experience relief of their suffering.