The courage to change is really the ability to make wise choices. That’s what the 12 steps are all about. That’s why we continue with steps 10, 11 and 12.
It takes courage to admit that you are not who you thought you were. It takes courage to let go of the familiar and decide to explore unfamiliar territory.
One of the things that mindfulness has brought to my awareness is my duplicitous nature. On the one hand I want to be grateful. But on the other, I slide so quickly into resentment and anger. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that resentment and gratitude cannot co-exist. It seems as if gratitude exists on a conscious level, and resentment exists on a subconscious level. And here’s the problem: My subconscious mind doesn’t agree with my conscious attempts to change.
I am becoming more aware of the thoughts that pass through my mind. For instance, I’m wondering right now if what I have to say about this topic will be useful. And I realize that it’s just a thought – nothing more. In fact, it’s more like a feeling. I’m feeling a little apprehensive about my ability to say something helpful.
I am training myself to tune in to the emotions and feelings that come up. Particularly the negative feelings that are limiting, restricting and dis-empowering. When I sense a negative state growing in my chest, or my stomach I focus my awareness on the mood (state) that is bringing me down. I ask questions about my emotional state, trying to uncover the thought(s) that led to this present mood.
With a little practice – and a willingness to let go – I’m learning to bring these ‘hidden’ thoughts to the surface where I can consciously observe them for what they are.
Undesired feelings are neither good nor bad. They just are. They are there letting me know that I have unresolved thoughts of which I am unaware. In fact, my emotional state is a kind of ‘barometer’ indicating my unconscious thought patterns.
If, in the moment, I am willing to stop and examine the thoughts that led up to my unwanted emotional state, I am better able to undo the effect these unconscious thoughts have on my present mood.
Any negative thought that goes unnoticed is a powerful deterrent to change. You cannot deal with what is hidden. You are powerless over that which you are unaware. No amount of inward wrestling with unwanted feelings will bring about the desired change in your emotional state. The more you struggle with these negative moods, the more powerful they become.
And the less able you are to make wise choices for positive change.