Reflections at 40 – Change – 28/40

To celebrate turning 40, I’ve challenged myself to blog for each of the 40 days leading into my birthday. This is post number 28. You can read all the posts here.

I’ve written before about the seven mindsets that stop you from making the changes you want. They are:

  1. I feel trapped/have no options.
  2. I’ve already tried changing but nothing works.
  3. This is just how life is now.
  4. I know changes need to be made, but I’m too exhausted.
  5. People won’t accept the changes I need to make unless things are desperate.
  6. Surely if I just keep pushing I’ll get there.
  7. I don’t deserve anything better than what I’ve got right now.

Having ticked every box above several times over and come out the other side, I can now say with confidence:

  1. There are always more options than you think.
  2. Change is never a linear experience. It’s two steps forward, one step back, one step sideways … repeat.
  3. Just because everyone like us is living a certain (sub-optimal) way, that doesn’t mean we’re obliged to.
  4. Tiny changes take hardly any energy, but add up to something big over time.
  5. We need to test our assumptions of what people will and won’t accept.
  6. Where, exactly, is ‘there’?
  7. If we’re unhappy, we deserve better.

The most frustrating thing about change is number two above. The fact that it’s never linear. The fact that we can work SO so hard to get something to stick, and at the first sign of trouble all our hard work seems to evaporate.

But our hard work never evaporates entirely. It’s always waiting there for us to try again. And when we try again, we’re always starting from a slightly stronger and higher place than we did before.

Which means the most powerful weapon in our arsenal when it comes to change is self-compassion. The ability to be kind to ourselves, accept ‘failure’ and regression as normal, and be willing to have a crack again.

The problem with self-compassion is … it’s a completely foreign concept to anyone with vaguely high standards.


Photo by A Fox on Unsplash