I frequently hear from people of all walks of life and ages:  I’ve tried that, it didn’t work.

 I have suffered from various traumas, depression and anxiety, and have dedicated my life to researching and applying healing interventions: I know it works…I have felt it work; I have seen it work time and time again.

I won’t lie, it is an extremely frustrating and enduring process to change habits and learn new skills. I think the struggle comes from our perception of trying and change as well as our ability to love ourselves through the resistance.

We complain about many valid things. However when it comes to the solution, we typically want the others (i.e. partner, friend, child, boss) to change. An unfortunate truth: You cannot change or control anyone. You can change your thoughts and behaviors which will in turn lead others to respond differently and change. But you must change first; fake it till you make it. I think too many marriages end, too many hearts break, and too many families disconnect because of this expectation or delusion of change.

We are humans…we are imperfect, we make mistakes. We can pretty much expect that we will mess up the first few times we try something new. We mess up even more when we are under stress. Most often the things we want to change are stressful, emotionally charged, and chaotic situations or relationships.  So even if you did try it once, twice or even ten times, I can guarantee you did something wrong. Like anything, you need to practice, practice, and practice…

I like the metaphor of learning to walk. Think about how many times a baby falls and hurts themselves trying their first steps. All the crying, cuts and bruises, they look silly and awkward as they learn. Do we ever tell babies to give up? Say it is OK. We will carry you everywhere. You can just use a wheel chair.  Of course not!!! We know walking is an awesome and liberating experience. We kiss all their booboos, pull out all the stops to encourage and support them in reaching their goal.

Trying new skills is awkward, scary, challenging and you will get hurt, but I guarantee that if you practice them (meaning you try it every time the situation occurs for at least 3 weeks or 20 consecutive times), your life will improve. The improvement is usually subtle; the outcome will most likely be different from what you expected; and you will discover something new to work on. This is progress, change, and growth.

And even with this awareness, I still resist and catch myself saying, It doesn’t work. I take a deep breath and gently nudge myself to try again.

Surprise…it works!  Cheers to unconditional love, deep breaths and baby steps.

 “Take your life in your hands and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.” ~Erica Jong