If you type the phrase “change your life” on the Internet in the search bar, we will receive thousands of very different answers and advice. But why do we need to change anything at all? What does not suit us with what we have? These questions, which seem simple at first glance, touch upon the very essence of our being and attitude.
WE DEMAND CHANGE
According to the definition of existential psychologists, we are all thrown into this world “as an opportunity for ourselves,” as a project that must be realized in the circumstances proposed to us by fate.
We do not choose the new circumstances in which we are born and grow: place and time, social and historical situation, the psychological situation in the family, native language and culture, but as we become, as our needs develop, our interaction with external forms of the world order becomes more complex and selective.
Our whole life unfolds in the field of interaction of our inner world with the outer one, and the tension that arises, in this case, pushes us to change.
CHANGE THE SHAPE
Many of us have fertile stages of life when we find ourselves in certain structures that facilitate development. For example, a good school for a child allows him to grow up, wiser, and gain new communication experience.
Any ready-made form is a kind of exoskeleton that “grasps”, tightens and strengthens our internal potencies from the outside. But over time, the exoskeleton turns out to be small, cramped, inconvenient, some parts of our “I” do not fit into this shape, begin to deform, and then something needs to be changed outside for development to continue.
The child grows up and is no longer interested in school. In the same way, we grow out of the old forms of our life. Previous occupation, place of residence, relationship, social role or habitual image … If they begin to interfere, limit us, we experience growing tension, which manifests itself in anxiety, depression or somatic illnesses.
We begin to select for ourselves a new model of our life, to choose what inspires us.
According to one of the existential psychologists, Medard Bossa, at the heart of these phenomena may be the experience of existential guilt – suffering from the lack of fulfilment of individual meanings, from not living one’s life as unique.
“The more empty, simplified and limited the world project with which our existence is connected, the sooner anxiety will arise and the more intense it will be,” wrote one of the existential analysis creators Ludwig Binswanger.
Such a subjective narrowing of the life horizon is a reason to stop thinking: where am I, what am I doing, what is wrong with me? And correlate your true needs with what life offers.
If we have the courage to realize and live through these crises, we get the opportunity to reach another level of our being, to expand the horizon of our world project. And then, we begin to select a new model of our life for ourselves, look closely at how we can live in different ways, and choose what inspires us.
WE CHOOSE OUR
How do you know where is mine, where is not mine? It is “hot”, where there is passion, excitement, interest, anxiety in connection with overcoming; there are the future and life. It’s cold, dead, dull and dreary at the other pole – you can’t stay there, there a little life has come to an end. You have to admit it to start trying something new on yourself.
How to understand which way to move? To catch these vibes of inspiration and excitement. Try on new life circumstances and new positions in them. Allow yourself to dream and envy what is good in the world.
Psychologists are often asked how to defeat envy. Before you “defeat” it, it is useful to investigate it. For example, social networks demonstrate a large selection of ready-made models of success.
Where someone’s success, bright manifestations make us envy, there is the energy of our desire: someone wrote a book, and I want to! Someone is travelling, and I want to! Someone in adulthood went to study? Maybe it’s not too late for me? This is about us, about a desire to project onto someone else’s come true; this can be our guideline for development. However, when choosing the vector of our development, we are faced with the temptation: to seize on someone else’s example and miss our opportunities for realization.
But any ready-made model is a simplification, an emasculation of something more complex and living.
You can change your job, partner, country of residence – whatever, and still feel dissatisfaction, disharmony, stuck in something important.
You can often hear from successful people: “I have reached heights on the career ladder, there is status, money, fame, but the feeling that I do not live.” We have many external samples, models that we supposedly should strive for.
By themselves, they are good, correct: it is better to be healthy than sick, rich than poor, beautiful than ugly. But any ready-made model is a simplification, an emasculation of something more complex and living. A critical internal task is to grasp the discrepancy between my essential “I” and this conditionally ideal but proposed from the outside. The discrepancy between the true “I” and the ideal imposed on us can lead to a misunderstanding of oneself, the loss of identity, and energy depletion.
We often refuse to embody significant parts of our “I”. As a rule, the unlived, unmanifest sides of our “I” are those that could not pick up, appreciate and help us develop our parents. Someone was “not allowed” to be weak, and someone – strong, someone used to hide their pragmatism, and someone – their emotionality.
Absolutely every person has their own unmanifest facets of personality, which at a certain stage in their life could become resourceful, and in some ways simply salutary.
Allowing yourself to realize what was “dormant”, what was frightening with its latency, is often a powerful impetus to expanding your personality and life.
Here’s an example of this kind of inner work. “I suddenly lost all my strength,” recalls 43-year-old Anna, a social worker. – An older adult, whom I was caring for, was angry with me, said harshness, and it just ruined me … It is hard for my wards; it hurts, they sometimes break down, but I have never reacted like that before.
All my life, I tried to be good, to love everyone, to save. I chose this profession. I have never allowed myself to complain, get tired, “build a princess”. And then it turned out that I am not omnipotent, I am also weak in something, I also want to be taken care of.
At first, I was ashamed to admit it to myself, but then I accepted it, and like a knot inside it untied. And my relatives were able to accept this, took on more responsibility. I left that job while I think I can do it. ” Manifesting more freely and organically, we ourselves become happier, and we interact with the world more effectively.
Here’s another example of freeing yourself from the imposed program of life. “I was known among professionals, and I was going to write a doctoral dissertation. Parents, experts in the same field, encouraged me, friends, every New Year wanted a successful defence, and I slowed down everything – recalls 52-year-old Veniamin. – I was terribly complex and hated myself for being lazy, that I lack the will to move science. I already had chronic depression and was constantly tormented by headaches.
Once a case turned up: a friend asked me to study with my eighth-grader son, I reluctantly agreed and suddenly got carried away. It is a joy to see that a guy who knew nothing suddenly begins to understand something and wants to understand more.
I took a second student; new guys came to me. It turned out that my vocation is teaching, not science. I need to communicate, give, and be happy for others, but I lack living emotions in science. When I realized this to myself, everything fell into place. ”
Manifesting more freely and organically, we ourselves become happier, and we interact with the world more effectively. Sometimes, it is not easy to recognize whether it is time for us to change external circumstances or figure out ourselves in existing ones.
The answer is always individual and unique, but it is important to remember that there is a need to live some significant facets of your “I” behind any search for external changes.
Whether we are choosing a new life partner or a country for emigration, whether we are changing our profession or social position, whether we are starting a renovation or a revolution – in fact, we are choosing our new identity or expanding the old one.
And the only sincere acceptance of our true feelings and needs when choosing a new life format will help us move towards expanding our horizons and more fully embodying ourselves in the world.