Whether it’s a big-picture issue or a personal matter, some things need time to change.
That’s not always true when it comes to law and policy in the government. But when it comes to you and me, it tends to be the case. And that is a bitter pill to swallow.
We want it now. Make it fast. Quick fix. Instant gratification. Done five-minutes AGO. And why am I STILL waiting?
Then, when that’s what you run with, you might treat symptoms — but you never get to the underlying issue. This is why no quick fix is ever a true solution. Gratification right now may not last long at all. Getting things done super-quick may involve shortcuts that will bite you in the ass later.
True change — long-lasting, effective change — frequently requires time and patience.
Rome wasn’t built in a day
How old are you? That may be a personal question, but the answer is important.
However old you are is how many years you have had many habits and beliefs. They were created or implanted in your brain a long time ago. Some you are fully aware of. But there are many that, without a deeper examination, are less well-known.
How does that work? When you were a child of 5 or 6 years old, you observed things. Your teachers told you things. Parents expressed beliefs and ideas that became seeds that were planted in your subconscious mind.
Before long, the seed developed deep roots. So, a great many ideas about how money works, good people and bad people, right and wrong were created. Over time, some of these were found by you and changed. For example, maybe your parents express certain racist beliefs you don’t share.
However, some of these don’t get identified for a long time. The roots of my abandonment issues, for example, were created in my childhood around the time of my parents’ divorce. They were so focused on their own lives that, emotionally, I was unintentionally abandoned. (Note — this is not me berating nor blaming my parents in any way, shape, or form. Just a statement of fact.)
This happened when I was six years old. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-thirties that my therapist and I exposed this. Digging up, removing, and replacing almost 30 years of belief is not in any way an instantaneous process.
This is partially because other beliefs branch out from the original ones.
The subconscious mind is like the New York City underground
Underneath NYC there is a vast, complicated other city. Subway tunnels currently in use, old tunnels long ago disused, sewer tunnels, and additional infrastructure run below the streets.
While a whole lot happens on and above the streets of New York, the city would be unable to function without its sprawling underground.
The subconscious mind is that underground. You need it, you cannot function without it. This is where all the necessary acts to keep you alive occur.
But it is also where beliefs, habits, and other long-ago absorbed information reside.
A seed that was planted 30 years ago may have rooted itself deeply. Let’s say, for example, that your parents always said money only comes from certain jobs. These were the first roots. But then another set of roots branched off when they told you that only college graduates make real money.
And then another set of roots branched off when you encountered numerous sources informing you that artists, writers, and the like tend to always be broke.
All this info embedded itself in your subconscious when you were too young to analyze or process it. Hence, in your 20s and 30s, when you decided to pursue a career in the arts, you struggled extra-hard.
Fighting against these long-held beliefs is challenging. Especially when you’re unaware of them.
Therapy helped me uncover many of these. On my own, meditation has helped me to dig deep and root some of this out.
Habits tend to be embedded right alongside beliefs. And often they are so ingrained you don’t even recognize them for what they are.
Old habits are hard to break
For a long, long time I chewed my fingernails. I think it was a good 30 years of my life they were never clipped — because I chewed them off.
I’m fairly certain that this began as a nervous habit. When I was feeling anxious, or bored, or distracted — I would chew on my fingernails.
When I decided to actively stop doing this, I can’t tell you how frequently I found myself chewing on a nail while driving, watching TV, or otherwise bored. It was such a deeply ingrained habit that I seldom realized I was even doing it. It was nearly as unconscious as breathing.
Then, I chose to truly act on stopping. I am pleased to report that, 98% of the time, I no longer chew my fingernails off. Yes, I still occasionally slip — but it took me 40 years to identify and actively work to stop this habit.
There are other habits I have like this. When I am unhappy, depressed, anxious, and sometimes bored I eat. Food is comfort — and has been most of my life. Thus, I need to take off a significant amount of weight.
This is a super-familiar issue for many people. Weight loss has a whole industry built around it. Tons of quick-fix solutions are out there. Many will help you take the weight off relatively quickly. But — without addressing underlying habits and beliefs — you ride a yoyo.
Weight comes off, weight plus ten is back on. Weight comes off, weight is back on. Over and over and over.
With all the quick-fix options available, its easy to be impatient. Taking the necessary time to change the underlying habits that are why you retain excess weight is far more involved.
Real change takes time and effort
I am not a patient person. However, over the years I’ve learned patience. Calm. Zen.
For the most part, I am a laid-back, calm, chill human being. This has taken a long time to cultivate. In my 20s and early 30s, I was often on edge, super-impatient, and kind of high-strung.
That was not who I wanted to be. When I spent a year recovering from serious injuries in my late 20s, I began to learn patience.
I knew it was possible to heal faster than the timelines presented by my doctors. But it would STILL require time and patience. More than that, however, was the effort involved.
I could have just done the minimal physical therapy. Instead, I always pushed. This was a frequent conversation my therapists and I had:
“Does that hurt?”
“Do you want to stop?”
The effort meant my recovery would be that much faster. So, I gave it 110%. Today’s sharp pain would be tomorrow’s dull ache. Onwards, forwards, let’s rebuild this broken body.
Patience, time, and effort all played their role in my recovery.
Quick fixes address surface issues. Hence, you can lose weight fast. But if you don’t address why you keep putting the weight on it will come back. Addressing the underlying issue takes time and effort.
Yes, this can be frustrating. But the end result — change you seek — is worth it.
Years of habits and beliefs can seldom change in hours or days. But they CAN be changed. You have the power to do so.
Mindfulness finds and/or creates change
Mindfulness is awareness, in the present, of your conscious mind. On the surface, this is your thoughts, feelings, actions, and intent. But mindfulness also opens you to be aware of your subconscious mind.
This is where your underlying psyche/mindset/headspace exists. It’s part of the subconscious. It is who you are at your core.
Recognizing this, when you practice mindfulness you open yourself to finding what is there. Then you can root out anything you don’t want to retain — and create something new.
When you put in the time and effort, the will, mindfulness, and focus — you can create incredible things. It takes time, requires patience, and effort.
But when you put in the work — the results can be amazing. You have a lot of power to be the most ideal person you desire to be, live the life you desire to have, and change your corner of the world for the better.
Thank you for reading! I am MJ Blehart. I write about mindfulness, conscious reality creation, positivity, and similar life lessons.
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