Q: Why is it so hard to change the way I act?
A: This is a fairly common complaint. Often, the roadblock to creating lasting change is pain that we have experienced. It often acts like an anchor, tying us to our past and making it impossible to move forward. In order to take those steps ahead, therefore, we sometimes must first go backwards. In other words, sometimes we have to examine painful past memories and experiences, in order to gain a new understanding of them, so that we can untie ourselves from the past. We need to become aware of the tremendous amount of energy that is required to hold onto the pain. If we identify ourselves by our pain, and see ourselves in the victim role, it is unlikely that we will ever become much more than that.
In order to let go of the pain, we must somehow find a way to forgive those that hurt us. I am not saying that we have to accept what they did, but rather to realize that they did what they did maybe because they didn’t know better, or, they didn’t think, or maybe they were ill or had been so badly hurt by others that their own ability to care for someone was damaged.
Whatever their reason, they did not treat you badly because you deserved it but because of their own deficits. You do not have to be ashamed of your past, because you did not cause it.
Yet, if we give up our old familiar pain, we have to face the unknown. It is human nature to be afraid of change and thus, many of us stay anchored to the past. When we learn to let go of the past, we free up new energy with which to tackle the future. Then we can begin to make real and lasting changes. These steps can rarely be taken alone, but under the guidance of a trusted and qualified psychotherapist who does this type of work, you will quickly begin to make the desired changes.