The relationship between awareness and change
I had a conversation with someone recently who said: “Awareness isn’t enough to change something. You can be aware of something and still not know how to change it.”
“I’m so glad you said that,” I replied. You see, I view awareness like a doorway, metaphorically speaking.
If we’re feeling stuck and trapped in a small dimly lit room and we feel like there’s no way out, a new insight or awareness is what magically makes a doorway appear.
But knowing a door is there isn’t the same as walking through the door. It just means we’re now aware there is a way out, so there’s a sense of hope. Often this is coupled with some fear. “What awaits on the other side?” we might be wondering.
“Perhaps it’s best to stay put here,” our rational minds will endeavor to convince us, because familiarity is one of our strongest drivers. To the rational mind, the familiar is safe, even if it’s deeply dissatisfying.
It takes courage to walk through that doorway and enter into the unknown. And there’s two things I’ve discovered that makes people do it:
- They are SO sick of being stuck in that room. They are at the point where they have got nothing to lose because it can’t get worse than it already is. This is when people talk about being backed into a corner. The pain in their lives gets so loud they get to the point where they are like “Enough already!” and march out of that room into the unknown.
- Someone from the other side of that doorway peeks in and says, “Oh, I see you’re a bit unhappy/frightened/cold/… in here. It’s not like that on the other side. Hold my hand come this way with me, if you want to experience that.” If the person hadn’t had the awareness, that doorway in their psyche wouldn’t have even have appeared for that person to enter into their consciousness. Hence the aphorism “the lips of wisdom are closed but to the ears of understanding.” Another way to say this is “when the student is ready, the teacher appears.”
Sometimes it can be a combination of the two. So I don’t know where you’re up to in your experience, if you have the sensation of being suck in any capacity or if you’re noticing you are intellectually aware of something that you’re not actually regularly practicing. If either (or both) of those ring true for you right now, you might want to schedule a free spotlight session with me.
Don’t believe the myths: change doesn’t have to be hard. It can be easy. And there are some useful brain hacks that make it so. If you’ll let me, I’d love to support you in discovering them. We can walk through new doorways together (my favorite thing ever).