Photo: Emmanuelle Stathopoulos

Photo: Emmanuelle Stathopoulos


I want change but don’t want to change a thing.

This paradox translates into: am not ready, am fearful, unsure, confused, reluctant. When this is the case there can be no results, no goals can be achieved because no goals can be set. Our conscious mind wants change but our unconscious doesn’t.

How can that be? How can there be such a split between the two? More often than not what our conscious mind thinks it wants is made up of someone else’s words, norms, beliefs. It is what we have been made to think we want based on what we have been told, used to believe as true, come to accept as what is expected from us. It isn’t a want born out of our own inner core, our own urge for change, our own evolutionary process and growth.

When that’s the case and when it comes in conflict with where we’re at, what we really need or long for, there can be no movement, no change. The needs of one part of ourselves contradict the wants of another part. Sometimes where we are at is determined by our habits, fears and apprehensions, sometimes by our courage, strength of will and determination. Which of the two options prevail depends on which of the two we choose to feed or nurture.

The critical factor behind that choice - conscious or unconscious – is how we feel about ourselves and who we believe we are and what we can or can’t do. How we feel about ourselves determines our perceived wants and needs. Our wants and needs determine our behaviour. Our behaviour determines the way the world reacts to us. The way we perceive how the world reacts to us determines how we will counter react to the world and how we feel about ourselves.

Notice, there is an opening in that seemingly vicious cycle and that opening lays in the way we perceive how the world reacts to us. The way the world reacts to us doesn’t determine our consequent behaviour, it is the way we perceive and think of how the world reacts to us that determines how we shall react or not. Why? Because our perceptions of the world, how it reacts to us and our reality in general, depend on how we feel about and how we view ourselves in it. How we view ourselves is done with two sets of eyes, our own inner eyes and what we think the eyes of our external world see. How we feel about ourselves is the direct result of what we think about ourselves.

What we think about ourselves is a mixture of factual and perceptual information. Perception can be both objective and subjective and the subjective part is determined by our beliefs. What we come to believe as true about ourselves depends on how we feel about ourselves and what our needs are.

We basically perceive things as good, bad or neutral, positive, negative or indifferent. Threatening or not, pleasurable or not. All of our perceptions are based on automatic judgement where we place things on some sort of a continuum.Depending on where we find ourselves on those continuums and how many positives we see ourselves having in relation to the negatives, we form an image, appraisal and judgment of ourselves.

Not all continuums bear the same weight though, and their weight depends both on the strength of our needs and the one of our values. What we come to deem important or not depends on what matters most to us. What matters most to us depends on what we need most in order to survive, be well and feel good.

So if you want change, change just one thing, the way you think about how the world perceives you. In other words how you perceive and feel about yourself and your place in the world.

Emma Stath