Learning how to change your life is challenging under any circumstances. Learning how to change your life when you have a family (or other significant relationship) can feel straight-up impossible. You know you have uttered it at least once in your life – “I would, BUT [insert person of choice] does not like the idea.” When those we care about are not on board with our quest for change it can bring a number of challenges into our life. However, it does not need to be a reason for us to stop our process of growth. Challenge brings the opportunity to learn to be more and more graceful and effective in our process. Here are some tips on how.
Start with the easy stuff: When we’re in a place of change and feeling resistance you might find yourself digging trenches and preparing yourself for battle before every push. Hold the trenches! Figuring out how to change your life when you have a family that hates change will be a challenge, but not every one of those changes needs to be. There are plenty of changes you can make – for yourself and your loved one(s) – that will likely go totally unnoticed by your family. Broaden your perspective of the field and start with these smaller hurdles. Your success will empower you and might even help your loved one see (in retrospect) that change isn’t always hard or bad.
Stay the course: Here’s an truth for you – It is impossible to be untrue to yourself and be fully in relationship. (Yep. Read it again if you need to.) As soon as you discredit your own needs you actually withdraw parts of yourself from the relationship. So, when you find yourself meeting that resistance to change from a loved one, remind yourself that fighting for what is right and true for you is the best way for you to be a part of your relationship with them. They might not realize that their resistant behavior is damaging (to you and them) because it limits how much of yourself you can contribute to the relationship. But you do. So stay the course. Keep moving in the direction of your personal transformation. Trust that no matter the outcome this is the path to sharing even more love.
Educate: Sometimes people are against things simply because they do not have enough information to be with them. If you want your loved one to be on board for your process of transformation, you need to help educate them about the process and why it is important to you. It is also helpful if you educate them about how they can be most supportive. And it doesn’t hurt to explain – if they somehow don’t realize this – the way that your happiness and wellbeing influence them through your relationship. Maya Angelou said, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” Give your person (or people) the chance to do their best, just as you are trying to do.
Maybe they are not the problem: It is worth reiterating that – quite often – what we think is resistance by someone in our life is actually our own resistance. If you find yourself saying “I can’t ___” because of someone important in your life, take a minute to check in. Where is the resistance coming from? Maybe it isn’t about how to change your life when you have a family. Maybe it’s about how to change your life, in general. Rephrase the situation in positive terms and possessive language. Try saying “I am choosing to __ because __.” Instead of saying that your loved one is the reason you can’t. How does this feel? With your loved one out of the equation for a moment, can you better see your own role? Ask yourself what needs to change inside of you for you to feel good about taking your next steps.
It can be challenging to engage in our own process of change and stay in healthy relationship with those we love. In order to have both the joy of our own self and the joy of relationship, it is necessary to figure out how to make both work. In your own life, try implementing these tips on how to change your life when you have a family that hates change. Do you have other suggestions of things you’ve tried in your own life that have worked? Share them in the comments below!
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It’s easy to talk about how to change your life when you are in a place of growth, but what about how to change your life when you feel stuck? When you find yourself in a hole dug from disempowerment, overexertion, emotional withdrawal, and apathy — and you’re good and stuck — how do you climb back out? The short answer to how to change your life when you feel stuck is to stay engaged and not give up. The long answer (the answer to, “yeah that’s great Kate, but how do I actually DO that?”) is a little more complex and takes a little more personal power.
An idea I often stress in my work is that it’s not the situation you are in, but the way you react to it, that defines your life experience. Your personal power to change your life lies in your ability to define how you react to life. I won’t pretend this is always easy… It’s easy to feel disempowered when reading the news, hearing that a loved one is sick, or finding yourself the brunt of someone’s road wage on your way to work (Leave it to Life to challenge your personal power on the daily…). The key here is not to fall into emotional withdrawal from the world, lest you find yourself in that proverbial hole of stuck-ness. Instead, react with “positive action.”
Throughout life we experience and witness so much negativity that employing “positive action” can sometimes seem a laughable (or sick) joke. How could our actions make a positive difference or have a lasting impact on this ever-changing, vast, often-harsh world? Me? Me, end hatred, hunger, and abuse? Me, ensure social equity, education for all, and protections for our planet? These are impossible-seeming questions and, when we don’t come up with answers, we stop ourselves from seeking solutions.
The hard truth is that, no matter how hopeless action may seem, apathy is noxious. Giving up in the face of adversity will leave you feeling like a half a person, and it demotes the people around you. The answer to how to change your life when you feel stuck, or how to change the world, is to ask different questions. Instead of trying to answer “What can I do to change the world?” (we don’t know, Batman), try “What can I do right now to create something good?,” “Who can I call right now to bring a moment of joy into the world?,” and “Where I can I lend the time I do have?”
The tools you need to change your life when you feel stuck are the same that you need to change the world. They are love, truth, and compassion. I believe that the entire world benefits when you choose to build your life with these tools. Equipped with these three holistic healing tools, you can approach adversity with positive action and transform your world. The answer to how to change your life when you feel stuck lies within you — it always has, and it always will.
If you think you need help bringing love, compassion, and truth to each situation you face, you’re not alone. While we have the inherent ability to do this, the capability takes practice. One resource you can rely on is focused practice of these skills. This is why I developed programs like my LifeWork Community — to provide the tools and the opportunity to practice new ways of being. Another resource is self-education and self-reflection. Below, I’ve provided some more depth on what our toolkit of Love, Truth, and Compassion look like in action. Take a read.
“Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.” — Buddha
Love is the most powerful, world-changing tool we have. I’m fully aware of how Pollyanna this sounds. My challenge to you, though, is this: try it! Get your heart broken, feel disrespected, lose something you really cherish, and see how quickly you can move on from the negativity you feel into LOVE. It takes a high degree of awareness and sophistication to experience our negativity and move beyond it into a place of love. Anyone who has walked this path knows that this is the way of a REAL bad-ass.
The first thing we need to do is cultivate love inside ourselves. To do this we need to hunt down the barriers to love that live within us more ferociously than we hunt down barriers to love in the world outside us.
This does not mean that we turn hatred toward these parts of ourselves. It means we see them,
accept them and let them go.
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth
what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” — Jesus Christ
Truthfulness is a time-honored and respected trait. To be truthful is to be honest and trustworthy. It requires a commitment to speaking and acknowledging the truth, and to acting with integrity. When we have our truth we also have our respect and love.
While philosophically there are many types of truth, the truth I’m talking about here has a dynamic
holism that is much more easily experienced than written about. There is a paradox around truth, though, and it’s this: truth does not make anything untrue.
Whenever you negate something, there is a lie present. Truthfulness allows for multiple perspectives in a way that honors each of those perspectives. One very common example of this is that if you make yourself wrong you’re not living your truth – nor are you allowing others to live theirs.
“No man is a true believer unless he desireth for his brother that which he desireth for himself.” – Muhammad
To be compassionate is to open your heart to the suffering of others. Compassion, to me, is a healing action. When we offer compassion to ourselves or others we are, in fact, healing ourselves or others. One of the best ways to practice compassion is to tend to our own pain and suffering. Without a doubt, one thing we gain from our own hardship is an ability to give love to others while they experience hardship of their own.
Still, sometimes we might find ourselves feeling closed off or judgmental about others who are in a difficult spot. We can feel wronged and, because of this, feel justified in wanting understanding from the other person. When we do this, we withhold our compassion and do not give our understanding to the person we feel wronged us.
If you want to have an impact on the world, each time you feel wronged stop and take a moment to understand the other person’s perspective.
To change your life when you feel stuck, learn how to effect positive action in the world. Suit up with a toolkit of Love, Truth, and Compassion, and go deep. While I’m certainly not knocking it, you don’t need to start a movement or become a politician to have a positive impact. Focus on being a better person and sharing this with the world, and you’ll elicit transformation in ways you couldn’t have imagined. The skills you need are simple and within the reach of every single one of us. If you need practice or guidance, click here to check out my LifeWork Community program.
I will leave you with this quote from Rumi. “Listen with the ears of tolerance. See through the eyes of compassion. Speak with the Language of love.”
When we get hit with a challenging life event, it pushes us, boldly and forcefully, to change. But what about the rest of the time, when nothing is horribly or chaotically wrong? Without the big signposts of high-impact life events, how do you know when its time to change your life, and how do you start to actually take action? It might be a change in a daily activity or it might be a change in a big part of our life. Here are some clues that you are ready for a life change.
I help women take action when its time for a life change, so that they can start living the life they have always dreamed of. Click here to learn more about how to find happiness for yourself, with Dr. Kate’s help.