by Linda-Ann Stewart
As a hypnotherapist, people come to see me professionally because they want some sort of change in their lives. Whether it’s to feel better about themselves, stop smoking, reduce weight, increase their self-confidence, improve their health, or have some other positive adjustment, they have made a choice that has brought them to my office. Together we figure out what they need to change within themselves, and what actions they need to take, to bring about the improvement in their lives.
Every so often, someone comes in who wants me to wave a magic wand over their head and make all their problems disappear, without them having to participate. They don’t want to have to alter a belief, attitude or behavior, but have the problem somehow erased. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. For any change to occur, they have to make a corresponding internal and external commitment to that change.
Change from the Inside Out
For instance, a smoker who says they want to quit must truly decide which they want more, to smoke or not to smoke. Once they’ve chosen to stop smoking, they have to learn new ways to cope with life’s challenges, and dedicate themselves to this new lifestyle. Not only do they have to refrain from smoking, but they have to make the inner changes (and they are many) that are necessary to achieve the eventual goal of becoming a nonsmoker. If they try to quit, without these inner changes, then at the first sign of stress they’ll start up again.
All change starts from within. Initially, a person may just know that something has to improve, and may not even know how to go about it. In this case, they need to figure out what’s wrong and what they need to transform that will make it better. Many times, people want the outer world to be different without doing any inner work. But in every instance, progress begins with changing a thought, belief, attitude, and then a behavior before improvement can be seen in the physical world.
For example, someone with low self-esteem, who feels like they’re not good enough, or not worth anything, may not realize that they need a greater sense of self-worth and not know what to do to reach it. All that they recognize is that they feel like they don’t deserve anything nice, and that people take advantage of them.
The first step in healing this is to stop putting themselves down and talk to themselves in a more compassionate and supportive manner. But they must also change some of their behaviors to mirror this new inner dialogue. No matter how difficult it is, they must make sure that they begin to stand up for themselves.
Deal with Inner Attitudes
This doesn’t mean that they should indulge themselves in unhealthy behaviors. For instance, I’ve known people who have decided that they deserve to go out and spend $100 on a meal, even if it means they can’t pay their rent, phone bill, or buy groceries. They think that’s the way to improve their self-image and feel better. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. A person with a healthy self-worth will deny themselves immediate, and transitory, gratification to be able to enjoy a sense of security in the long term.
The same is true for anyone who wants to reduce weight. Rewarding themselves with food, or using it to mask emotions, isn’t going to bring any lasting improvement. They must learn healthy eating behaviors, and listen to what their body (not their emotions) wants to eat, along with reducing portion size, and starting to exercise. They also have to learn to deal with their feelings without using food as a crutch. If the inner attitudes aren’t dealt with and adjusted, no diet in the world is going to permanently keep off the weight.
What Do You Need to Change?
Edwene Gaines, prosperity teacher, recommended meditating on this question, “What do I need to change within myself in order to…?” Sometimes it may mean being willing to let go of a relationship, move, or change jobs. It always indicates changing some attitude or belief on the inner plane, while making changes on the physical plane that show your commitment to the shift in your consciousness.
Permanent improvement in any area of life demands our making a choice for something different, begin to align our beliefs and attitudes so that the new idea is possible and desirable, and then take action to embody the new concept. All of these steps are necessary for there to be change. And when we begin to entertain the idea of change, the Universe will bring us opportunities to help it along. New people will show up in our lives, information will drop onto our desk, or some event may nudge it along. We just have to have the courage and commitment to take the leap into a brighter future.
I now identify the areas of my life that I want to change and recognize what needs to happen for them to improve. I’m guided to understand what I need to change within myself to create the transformation in my life. The answer is clear. With my whole being, I’m willing to do what is necessary to improve. As I make the decision to change, the Universe supports me and brings whatever I need to help me.