Most of us have an idea of the kind of person we would like to become. We want to be happier, more successful, have great relationships, etc. There is nothing wrong with having goals in life; the problem is usually in following through on them. It is as if every effort to change is greeted by an equal and opposite resistance to doing anything about it.
We are all familiar with this phenomenon. We resolved to lose weight, but despite our best intentions, we find ourselves eating just as much as we did before, and our attempts exercise never advanced further than a good idea.
It is as if we 100% want to change, and 100% don't want to change. In therapy, it is important to understand the nature of our resistance. Even people who are deeply unhappy seem to lack the motivation to get out of it.
One of the problems is the goal driven nature of the change we want to make. We become so fixated with what we want, we lose touch with where we actually are. Of course all journeys start from where we are, but few of us take time to really understand where we are starting from. We may have low self-esteem, for example, but spend all of our time running from our experience, rather than staying with it.
At one level this is understandable; we don't like to stay with difficult feelings. So we focus on what will make us happy rather than understanding our unhappiness.
One of the paradoxes of personal growth is that if we abandon our goals and come back to our experience of ourselves in the moment, we stand to make the most progress. This means if we are depressed, being curious about our experience, staying with it, observing it, being it. Fully experiencing ourselves as a person who is doing depression right now.
The mind, of course, simply cannot remain still. Our awareness transforms our experience of who we are. We cannot help but change. We might not get the change we want, but we will get the change we need.
Dr Phil Tyson is a Men's Psychotherapist based in Manchester in the UK. He offers:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (cbt) for men in Manchester
- Counselling for men in Manchester
- Psychotherapy for men in Manchester
- Telephone and online counselling for men wherever you live
- Supervision and consultative support for therapists in Manchester
- Mediation for employment disputes in Manchester and the UK