In a recent session with my counselor Eleanor, she said something simple, but profound to me; “Nothing changes until you do.” She went on to say, “Mike, you keep trying to control and manipulate the situations, relationships, and outcomes in your life – thinking that if they changed in the way you want them to, you’d then change and things would be better. It actually works the other way around.”
The truth of Eleanor’s feedback resonated deeply with me and I’ve been contemplating it for the past few weeks. I realize that much more of my attention than I’d like to admit is focused on my attempts to change the circumstances, situations, and people around me – instead of focusing on the only thing I can really change, me.
As Dr. Wayne Dyer says, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
We’ve all had this experience in our lives in both big and small ways. Do you ever notice how when we’re having a bad day or a rough time in life, even the people and activities we normally love, don’t bring us the same amount of joy, fulfillment, and satisfaction? On the flip side, when we’re having a great day or things are going really well in life, even people or circumstances that might normally upset or annoy us, somehow seem much more manageable and less stressful. In those simple situations, our perspective and our own internal state, has a big impact on how we experience life, not the other way around.
What if we put more attention on our own growth, change, and transformation – and less attention on trying to fix, change, and alter the people and circumstances around us? This doesn’t mean that we’d stop caring about what other people do or say. It also doesn’t mean we wouldn’t give feedback or make requests of those around us. And, we wouldn’t stop working towards specific changes, goals, and dreams related to the most important aspects of our lives – our work, our health, our finances, our family, and more.
However, by letting go of our insatiable desire to fix and change everyone and everything around us, we give ourselves the space to focus our attention on the true source of our own happiness, success, and fulfillment – ourselves!
As we come to the end of this first month of the new year, many of us are still quite focused on our intentions, goals, and resolutions for 2013. As great as the accomplishment of any specific goal may be, what we’re almost always after with our resolutions, is positive and sustainable change.
As the saying goes, “The roots create the fruits.” This means that it’s our job to focus on our own growth, development, and internal transformation – and in so doing, we put ourselves in the best possible position to create the kind of change we truly want. Nothing changes until we change!