Does this sound familiar to you?
“This is never going to change. I am totally stuck.”
I hear this a lot in my practice – fears that circumstances will never shift.
Usually when people talk about nothing changing they are describing an experience where they feel they have tried all options to change, but nothing has worked. When we feel like we are hitting our head against the wall, we often need to remind ourselves that heads are not the right tool to use when trying to knock down a brick wall!
Imagine you walk in to a hardware store and ask, no demand, that they sell you a loaf of bread. They will likely look at you strangely and remind you that hardware stores do not sell loaves of bread. But, you insist, “I want to buy a loaf of bread!” They might start getting slightly hostile with you, and no matter how many times you ask they will not give you a loaf of bread.
You can’t go into the hardware store and expect a loaf of bread.
When we have tried to make a change over and over again with no movement or success we need to consider that we are trying the wrong strategy.
Here’s an example: We want our partner to be more attentive to us. We ask them to come home earlier from work so we can have dinner together. Night after night we get ourselves excited to have dinner with them. When they inevitably text us that they were caught up with work and will be late, we are fuming. We feel angry and resentful—understandably. When they come home we lecture them for the 1,000th time about our need for them to be home for dinner.
Now, let’s get really specific here. Let’s think: What do we want from our partner?
Do we want them to eat the food we prepared?
Do we want to spend quality time with them?
If we want to spend quality time, then how can we be open to spending time together at a different time of day—maybe before bed or in the morning?
If we want them to eat and appreciate our food then maybe we can make a delicious snack for them to take to work that they will enjoy.
Often when we feel like nothing will change, we just need to look at it from another angle. We need to ask ourselves: what do I want and can I get it trying a different approach?
The Key Takeaway
We get stuck in familiar behaviors and resist new ones, but the new ones lead to the BIGGEST learning.
The next time you find yourself thinking “Oh my god! I cannot deal with this for one more second,” ask yourself how you have been dealing with it and challenge yourself to find a different (maybe even the opposite way) of dealing with it. See what happens. Take notes.
We’d love to hear about your successes and struggles in the comments!