Turn and face the change

Turn and face the change

Men are notorious for resisting change and having habitual behaviours that they do not want to let go of. Why is this? Why do we dig our heels in when faced with change in our lives? From big life changes to smaller day to day changes in routine, us men can become very rigid and ‘set in our ways’.

If we repeat these habitual behaviours often enough they then become ingrained as our ‘normal behaviour’. Also, as a collective in society many of these ingrained behaviours then become accepted as ‘normal male behaviour’.

However even though we may view these behaviours as normal or common, are they actually supporting us to have true health and wellbeing in our lives? Are these behaviours allowing us to truly thrive and not just survive life? Are these behaviours truly supporting all others to thrive around us?

There is evidence to suggest that our ingrained behaviours and hanging on to them is not working. For example, recent research published by the American Psychological Society indicated that poor mental health in men was associated with conformity to so called ‘masculine norms’ of societal male behaviour. In particular they found that ‘self-reliance’ was one such ‘masculine normal behaviour’ that was associated with poor mental health and not seeking help.[1]

From my own observations and experiences it has become clear to me that from young, faced with the realities of the world, men carve out a set of behaviours and patterns that make us feel safe. This is our ‘lifeboat’ of control and protection that we carefully build and cling on to survive life, so when we are faced with change we are challenged to let go of this. This can be very threatening or challenging for men and understandably so.

"Men hang on to their ways because they are deeply insecure and terrified of making changes. They are in-truth avoiding rejection and thus, they work very hard at ingraining their patterns, which make them know who they are even when what they are doing is not working."

Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations Volume I, ed 1, p 566

However, have we perhaps got a bit of a negative perception of change and what it is actually about? There is a whole language and image of change as being humiliating or painful or something uncomfortable that is associated with so many negative things such as pride, doing wrong and making mistakes, but is this the full story about change?

Perhaps we have an idea about change being always a negative event, but is this actually true? Change is not the end of the world but can be a time of evolution, growth and learning and can open us up to being more raw, open and expressive as well as responsible to others around us.

It is impossible to grow and develop without change.

As a simple example, about 2 years ago my wife suggested that we get a dog. I initially resisted this idea believing (rightly so) that it would mean extra responsibilities and significant changes in our daily routines, as well as a commitment to walking the dog every day and I knew that most of the morning walks would fall to me. In the end it was decided to get a new dog and again initially I resisted having to take the dog for a morning walk because I thought I did not have the time in my already busy morning schedule. However, as time went on I found that going for a walk with the dog was actually very supportive for me in the morning as it got me out and about and exercising more than I had been; I also found it a great preparation for my day ahead. So now when my wife suggests that she take the dog out for a walk in the mornings I am reluctant to let her do so because I enjoy and value these walks so much!

Perhaps one of the reasons we fear and resist change so much is because of our perception of life itself. Most of us when faced with the harsh realities of the world quickly scramble to find and carve out a place of relative security or safety where we are not too threatened or pushed and so the goal of life inevitably starts to become static, or in other words, minimal change.

We can even change some things on the surface e.g. job promotion, moving house, or change of relationship and believe that we are changing and going somewhere in life but still be very much stuck and static in our ways in terms of truly feeling alive, thriving, sure of ourselves or at ease with who we are and our personal expression in the world.

But what if life was actually about constant evolution and growth, with a continuous ever-expanding awareness and deepening understanding about life and who we truly are?

Could it be life is about personal evolution rather than security?

Would we then not view change in a completely different way? In fact, if we consider that all of life is about constant evolution and growth then we would come to realise and accept that not only is change inevitable and continuous but something to be welcomed and embraced; an opportunity to discover more about who we are and how to live this in the world without fear, protection or control.

Do we look at change in terms of what we are saying no to, or what we are saying yes to?

The other perception we tend to have about change is that it is only reserved for the big things in our lives e.g. moving house, changing jobs, ending relationships etc. However, if we really pay attention, we are constantly being presented with daily opportunities to make changes to smaller details in our lives that all count and all matter and all add up to contribute to our overall health and wellbeing. Opportunities for change are constantly presented to us every day about how we are behaving in our own homes or workplaces with others around us.

We are in fact constantly being asked to consider whether our daily habits, choices and behaviours are actually supporting us and others or not.

For example, I often notice in the mornings how I wake up is very dependent on how I went to bed the night before. If I go to bed too late or in a ‘busy’ or anxious state of mind because I have been trying to cram in too much before bed time I wake up feeling groggy and tired and not ready for the day. Which can then affect how I am with my family and my clients.

Do we appreciate the choices and changes we can make every day to be more self-loving, more tender, more loving to others, allowing our day to flow more easily: do we embrace this opportunity every day?

One of the opportunities change provides for us is a greater level of honesty about what is truly working and what is not in our lives. Often change presents to us as a ‘stop’ moment to make us stop and consider that something we may be repeating in a certain way no longer works for us or others and needs to shift. Some other words that we could use for change, which perhaps come less loaded with ideals and connotations, could be shift or adjustment.

Change asks us to make a necessary adjustment to how we are living to allow us to take a step closer to a deeper connection with ourselves and others. This for me is the real definition of evolution.

Ultimately it is this constant deepening connection with who we are, and ease and settlement in being this and expressing this in the world, that brings us true health and wellbeing and allows us to thrive with a level of joy, vitality and commitment to life and others that is far more enjoyable and rich than merely surviving, getting by or getting through life unscathed.

What if change was merely pointing us in the direction of how to be truly free in this way?

The more we can embrace, appreciate and understand the joy and vitality that comes through making the necessary adjustments that life is continually presenting to us, the less we will resist and fear change. By feeling the solidness and steadiness that comes with deepening this connection with who we are we begin to realise that this is the true cure of the insecurity that we may be feeling and allows us to finally let go of the lifeboat of protection and control.

References:

  • [1]

    Wong, Wang, Miller & Ho (2016) Meta-Analyses of the Relationship Between Conformity to Masculine Norms and Mental Health-Related Outcomes; Journal of Counselling Psychology 2017, Vol. 64, No. 80-932.

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