When Kate from The Kindness Effect asked us to be part of the Choose to Change: The Courage to be Happy workshop, we were so moved by the opportunity to share our story and empower others to put themselves first.
The Carlton Gardens was the perfect backdrop for what was a truly magical afternoon spent spreading positive vibes and connecting with a group of inspiring humans. Since it was such an empowering workshop that really made us dig below the surface and uncover a few life-changing truths, we thought we’d compile a list of key takeaways.
“People choose not to change; their suffering serves them.”
It’s true. We choose not to change because the unknown is terrifying and fixating on the toxic notion that it might lead to another type of suffering breeds doubt and resistance – forces that are powerful enough to suffocate our intentions. It’s often easier for us to stay and accept our current struggles because it’s safe, familiar and free versus the alternative path (change) which holds a hefty price tag in terms of physical, mental and emotional effort.
Many of us don’t enjoy taking responsibility. It’s easier for us to complain and believe that our unhappiness stems from external factors rather than from our own actions. However, as Kate so brilliantly highlighted, change will never occur if we continue to push the responsibility of our own happiness onto other people. We need to take charge of it and work at it every single day.
“It is only when a person is able to feel that they have self-worth, that they can possess the courage to change.”
This was an interesting revelation. The decision to change, our goals and our pursuits need to come from a foundation of self-love. The motivation to change shouldn’t be because “we’re not good enough” but because we respect ourselves and we want to learn, grow and evolve as individuals.
When we approach change with toxic motivation, we fall into the “happiness trap” where we rely on external circumstances and events to make us happy. It’s a vicious cycle and one we should avoid at all costs.
Letting go of your story is one way to gain the courage to change your life.
This was the biggest eye-opener for us. Humans are quite the story-tellers. Many of us are guilty of telling ourselves stories that when repeated enough, masquerade as facts in our minds. We tell ourselves that because of something that happened to us in the past, we can’t do x, y and z and we actively live our life by this rule. Maybe it was an embarrassing moment? Maybe it was a tragic event?
For example, until last year, I told myself that because I didn’t learn how to swim when I was little (I cast a lot of external blame), there was no way I could learn how to swim as an adult. I finally banished that story last year and actually learned how to swim at 25 years of age!
These stories are comforting and it helps ease the pain of not possessing the courage to change. However, if we live our lives dictated by this rule, we deny ourselves the freedom of living the life we actually want to live. It holds us back. In order to move forward, we need to let go of this story and accept that our past does not define us.
Coming to terms with the truth of the matter can be emotionally confronting because once you enter this level of awareness and wipe yourself clean of ignorance and denial, you can’t go back. You can’t undo it.
The best thing you can do is keep an open mind when digesting these truth bombs and be truly honest with yourself. It’s the only way you can genuinely move forward.
Written by Alex, Co-Foudner of Saint Belford.