Changing Course

Posted on September 30, 2010


This past month, I’ve been discussing the inevitable Change-Back attacks one receives when one makes a big change. We’ve talked about how your positive changes can bring out the worst in even your closest compadres. We’ve thoroughly covered how to separate your friends from your frenemies and we’ve even discussed the difficulties one may want to prepare for with one’s family members.

Who knew, that after all of the hard work one must do in order to change in the first place, there would be so many lovely issues to deal with after the fact. It is an unfortunate part of life, however, that one must learn to deal with all of  this (hopefully as graciously as possible) when one changes.

But what happens when the Change-Back attacks are actually for your own good?

I’m thinking of an acquaintance of mine who had been single for a few months-and then made a change for the worse. She started to do a bit of self-improvement work but then, because she could not bear to be single one minute more, went rushing into the arms of a new lover. Who happens to be a drug dealer. And married. To someone else.

This woman was blessed with many caring friends and family. So when her friends learned of this new romance, they protested. They asked her to think about what she was getting herself into. They pleaded for her to listen to them.  “They’re just jealous of me,” she rationalized. Her parents gave her a whole list of logical reasons why she was making a huge mistake. “They just don’t understand how hard my life is being single,” she justified.”They don’t understand that he’s trying to get a different job and that he will leave his wife for me.”

You can see where this is going.  For every logical protest, she had an excuse. For every concerned question, she had a snappy comeback. The thing is, this woman spent so much of her energy defending her choices, she never really examined their possible ramifications.

I’m pretty sure I don’t need to tell you how this story ended. (Suffice it to say, it did not end well.)

Some times people will give you Change-Back attacks for your own good. They see that you have changed and they’re worried that the course you’ve chosen is dangerous, to your physical, emotional or spiritual being. Because they love you, they speak up. They ask you to Change-Back, not because they’re being selfish, but because they don’t want to see you get hurt.

So how does one know when one should heed the Change-Back attacks and actually change course? By getting in touch with the only person who really knows what’s best for you.

That would be, ahem, YOU.

The next time you get a Change-Back attack from people who seem to sincerely want the best for you and you start to doubt whether you’re on the right path, try the following exercise.

1. Find a quiet, peaceful and comfortable place. Relax. Breathe.

2. Think back to why you decided to make the change in the first place. The moment when you got fed up with your present reality and decided you were going to do something about it.

3. Does the motive behind this change feel liberating or imprisoning? Be honest with yourself.

4. Now think about the change you’ve just made. Does this actual change feel liberating or imprisoning?

5. Think about the future with this change. Does your future feel liberating or imprisoning?

If you’re feeling more imprisoned than liberated, it’s probably best to change the direction in which you’re headed. You may need to partially change your plan or you may need to scrap the whole thing and start over. Either way, no one can fault you for being so self-aware that you averted disaster by changing course.