We’ve all been on that treadmill of wanting to make a certain change in our life but never getting it done. Maybe we experience a handful of successful days. Maybe we never even get that far. It can be frustrating.
Don’t beat yourself up about it. It happens. Self-compassion. But know that if you think and hear about that desired change often enough, perhaps it might really happen for you. Sometimes it takes ten times to hear about the change for it to click in. Sometimes a hundred times. You’ll get there. Just don’t give up. Keep pondering.
Think of it like this: Each time you think or hear about it, you’re actually practicing. And practice makes perfect. In a way, this is true as you are slowly building up those neural pathways for the change you want. This is the science of neuroplasticity – our brains have the amazing ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections.
In other words, you can change old habits – including thought patterns you find uncomfortable & unwanted – by changing your neural pathways. It’s incredible field that has grown in the last 50 years, which debunks quite a few longstanding myths about how the brain works. There’s a quite a few book out there about this – such as Norman Doidge’s “The Brain’s Way of Healing” and “The Brain That Changes Itself.”
Here’s an excerpt from this blog by Tara Brach:
In the Buddhist tradition, the Pali word dukkha is used to describe the emotional pain that runs through our lives. While it’s often translated as “suffering,” dukkha encompasses all our experiences of stress, dissatisfaction, anxiety, sorrow, frustration, and basic unease in living. But if we listen deeply, we will detect beneath the surface of all that troubles us an underlying sense that we are alone and unsafe, that something is wrong with our life.
The Buddha taught that this experience of insecurity, isolation, and basic “wrongness” is unavoidable. We humans, he said, are conditioned to feel separate and at odds with our changing and out-of-control life. And from this core feeling unfolds the whole array of our disruptive emotions—fear, anger, shame, grief, jealousy—all of our limiting stories, and the reactive behaviors that add to our pain.
Yet, the Buddha also offered a radical promise, one that Buddhism shares with many wisdom traditions: We can find true refuge within our own hearts and minds—right here, right now, in the midst of our moment-to-moment lives. We find true refuge whenever we recognize the silent, awake space of awareness behind all our busy doing and striving. We find refuge whenever our hearts open with tenderness and love. Presence, the immediacy and aliveness and warmth of our intrinsic awareness, creates a boundless sanctuary where there’s room for everything in our life.
Right now, humans have two competing circumstances. The virus driving everyone to be risk averse. The virus driving everyone to be a risk taker because life is indeed short. Those are two competing interests that can be tough to balance.
I certainly don’t have any answers. Nor even an opinion. I know my level of risk-taking varies upon the day. Upon the hour. I guess all I can say is be mindful about it all. Don’t be too hard on yourself over FOMO if you follow your instincts to not take that risk. Don’t stress too much if you take a risk because you feel like you need to. Be compassionate towards yourself is the best you can do…and definitely the best thing for you!