My musings and random thoughts!

Writing on Air


online prescription solutions
online discount medstore
pills online
buy lorazepam without prescription
xanax for sale
buy xanax without prescription
buy ambien without prescription
ambien for sale
buy modafinil without prescription
buy phentermine without prescription
modafinil for sale
phentermine for sale
lorazepam for sale
buy lexotan without prescription
bromazepam for sale
xenical for sale
buy stilnox without prescription
valium for sale
buy prosom without prescription
buy mefenorex without prescription
buy sildenafil citrate without prescription
buy adipex-p without prescription
librium for sale
buy restoril without prescription
buy halazepam without prescription
cephalexin for sale
buy zoloft without prescription
buy renova without prescription
renova for sale
terbinafine for sale
dalmane for sale
buy lormetazepam without prescription
nobrium for sale
buy klonopin without prescription
priligy dapoxetine for sale
buy prednisone without prescription
buy aleram without prescription
buy flomax without prescription
imovane for sale
adipex-p for sale
buy niravam without prescription
seroquel for sale
carisoprodol for sale
buy deltasone without prescription
buy diazepam without prescription
zopiclone for sale
buy imitrex without prescription
testosterone anadoil for sale
buy provigil without prescription
sonata for sale
nimetazepam for sale
buy temazepam without prescription
buy xenical without prescription
buy famvir without prescription
buy seroquel without prescription
rivotril for sale
acyclovir for sale
loprazolam for sale
buy nimetazepam without prescription
buy prozac without prescription
mogadon for sale
viagra for sale
buy valium without prescription
lamisil for sale
camazepam for sale
zithromax for sale
buy clobazam without prescription
buy diflucan without prescription
modalert for sale
diflucan for sale
buy alertec without prescription
buy zyban without prescription
buy serax without prescription
buy medazepam without prescription
buy imovane without prescription
mefenorex for sale
lormetazepam for sale
prednisone for sale
ativan for sale
buy alprazolam without prescription
buy camazepam without prescription
buy nobrium without prescription
mazindol for sale
buy mazindol without prescription
buy mogadon without prescription
buy terbinafine without prescription
diazepam for sale
buy topamax without prescription
cialis for sale
buy tafil-xanor without prescription
buy librium without prescription
buy zithromax without prescription
retin-a for sale
buy lunesta without prescription
serax for sale
restoril for sale
stilnox for sale
lamotrigine for sale

Changing yourself

Posted on February 16, 2013 by jimparedes

HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 17, 2013 – 12:00am

Have you ever found yourself suddenly not enjoying something you used to enjoy before? Did you ever wake up with the realization that some of the beliefs and ideals you used to be willing to die for have become meaningless or trivial? Or how about losing interest in friends, hobbies, work or causes that you used to look forward to and spending a lot of time on?

This has happened to me a few times. Maybe it was part of a prolonged midlife crisis spell. Some, as it turned out, were just temporary moods or feelings. But there were some that became permanent changes.

People change. They do all the time. That’s a fact. Sometimes it is easy to change. At other times, it can be very difficult to handle.

I remember hearing about a macho bully boxer from my older brothers’ generation. He had an irrational hatred of gays and used to beat them up, until one day, he suddenly came out of the closet openly and became a screaming, out-and-out cross-dressing homosexual.

I have met priests who changed their minds later on and left their vows to get married. One of them was my teacher who married Lydia and I. I’ve also heard of formerly shy, submissive women who overnight transformed into assertive people aggressively pursuing big dreams. We all have our own stories to tell.

I was recently reading about last year’s Oscar awards and came across something interesting. Mother Dolores Hart, a nun, was there to attend the show because of a movie about her life. You see, she had led a very interesting life and some producers made a documentary about it. It was in the running for some awards.

As a young actress decades back, she held the distinction of having given Elvis his first onscreen kiss. She was a fast-rising actress then who had done movies with some big Hollywood leading men during her time. In fact, she had already inked a million dollar contract at her young age. But when she was 23 years old, she found herself visiting a monastery for some peace and quiet, and decided to stay there — for life! True as it is, I find it hard to believe something like this happens. And yet it does. It is very similar to the story of St Ignatius of Loyola, a soldier, playboy who gave it all up for the spiritual life.

These are certainly compelling stories of change, to put it mildly. What sets these apart is that, while we all do change from time to time, many of the changes that happen to us are not conscious ones. They just seem to happen suddenly and they catch us by surprise. They don’t seem to be born of conscious decisions. More accurately, they are more like the results of a lot of unconscious internal struggling and processing that probably was percolating inside us for some time, unknown to our conscious minds.

The unconscious mind is “below the radar” of our thoughts, so to speak. But it has a lot of energy and also wants to express itself through us. And it will, often without our conscious permission. That’s why we often perceive change as something that only “happens” to us. They are not acts we willfully chose unlike those of Mother Dolores Hart, and St. Ignatius, etc. They never entered our conscious thoughts.

Okay, but if we sincerely, and with full knowledge and consent, want to deliberately change, how do we do it? How do we get the unconscious and our unthinking, kneejerk habits to go along with us? Is it even possible?

I notice that a lot of mature people have greater chances of success at changing themselves for the better, and do so when they want to. They have a developed ability to look at themselves objectively and dispassionately. And that is one of the crucial primary skills we need to be able to recognize our defects before we pull off personal change. It involves being able to suspend the ego’s “fight or flight” function and just learn to observe ourselves. We observe ourselves without vanity, emotional investment or narcissistic interest.

By simply observing, you learn a lot about yourself and you begin to understand how and why you do things, and why you outgrow other people, including yourself.

Each time we find ourselves falling into familiar negative emotional patterns that are triggered by certain situations, we can pause and think and decide whether we want to indulge them instead of being “hooked” by them as what usually happens. Only by catching ourselves doing them can we consciously start to really change our reactions to responses.

Think about this if you find yourself always having the same pattern of fights and arguments with certain people. How often has this happened before? Isn’t it always all too familiar on hindsight? And yet when it happens, don’t you habitually bite the bait without thinking until you are again completely entangled? And you always feel surprised and ask yourself how/why it happens again and again. And you feel victimized because you felt provoked and couldn’t help but react the way you did. Once again, you have been seduced into falling for toxic patterns that keep you “crazy” and unhappy.

Surely, there must be a way out of all this.

I remember an emotionally troubled friend of mine who had been seeing a shrink for more than 10 years. He once asked his doctor if he was “getting better.” Was he progressing? He really wanted to know. The psychiatrist smiled. He told my friend that when he came in as a patient, he was like a fool who was always bumping into furniture in a dark room. But after 10 years of therapy, he had learned to stop bumping into the same furniture. He can now navigate the dark room and was now bumping into other furniture inside other rooms.

This may sound funny but it is a perfect metaphor to explain what was happening to my friend. It is this; he was learning more and more about himself. His unconscious psychological habits were slowly but surely becoming more known to him. His neuroses were being “uncovered” through therapy and brought to the light of conscious self-awareness. Now that they were out in the open for him to see, they had begun to lose their power over him.

Carl Jung liked to say, “What is forced hidden becomes fate.” I love this. It simply means if you deny who you really are or refuse to recognize your own feelings, they will “come out” on their own, and often impolitely. And they can bite you. It is good to uncover chunks of your rich unconscious, elevate and bring them to the realm of the conscious and be enriched by their gifts.

I once attended a life-changing seminar where the facilitator asked the question, “What kind of life would you have if you stopped blaming anyone for whatever you are going through?” That blew me away! I was stunned at the implications. To me, it meant taking full responsibility for one’s actions. It meant being 100 percent aware and actually choosing your responses instead of merely just reacting. That takes a lot of courage and training to commit to as a life practice.

Hard as it is, the wonderful payback (if indeed you can develop the habit) is the liberating feeling of unbridled freedom. You are living life on your terms. You can stop expending energy blaming other people. You know your wants from your needs. It is your own life you are living, and no one can force you into doing anything you don’t want to do!

* * *

Hey, Singapore, I am having my 2nd Photo Workshop there on Feb. 23. I will teach you how to take great pictures. You will learn not just the basics but a whole lot more. Call now at +658-2336595 and ask for Earla. This will be a cutting-edge experience. Let’s have fun and shoot!

11 to “Changing yourself”

  1. Ben R says:

    Seems I’d read this before. Is this a re-post of something you wrote years back?

  2. Helena says:

    Dear sir,

    Thank you for this liberating article. “Crazy” someone who do the same thing over and over again yet expecting a different result. I cannot say I can relate to this maybe because I am still 23 but with how I can see my mom I think she can relate to this. My mom is with my dad for almost 25 years and yet they still argue. Different issue but the same reasons of argument. I wonder when will they realize their craziness.. anyway, this is worth the read.. your articles are always worth the read sir. ciao

  3. Jane Singson Fields says:

    Thanks very much Jim! I love your articles because they teach me a whole lot about how to be a better person in our world. Please continue to write & shower gems! Thank you! :-)

  4. Tara says:

    I have observed this on myself…. there are tv shows that i would watch before..and now i can’t stand them anymore….there are friends, whom i cant relate to anymore, because i have began to think differently…. It can be maturity…and it can be what u say the unconscious expressing itself….. it is like after cultivating higher tastes/goals/ideals in life, u become a different person…and it is a pretty good place to be in…..

  5. chloe says:

    sir jim paredes
    what are the loose and period sentences?
    ” ” ” parallel structures?
    ” ” ” phrase modifiers, clause modifiers?

  6. chloe says:

    in your article
    reply asap!

  7. BabyPink says:

    Wow! Beautiful piece. Put tears in my eyes. Change, indeed, is the only thing constant in this world. Sometimes, we change without noticing it. I’ve experienced that a number of times and, really, sometimes it can be frightening. But, as I get to know myself more and more and I learned to accept that I live “on my own terms” I became okay. Maturity, they say, is taking responsibility for whatever is happening to your life,good or bad, and not blaming anyone. I think it’s important that we acknowledge that.

    Thank you for this, Sir Jim! :)

    I especially love these lines: “By simply observing, you learn a lot about yourself and you begin to understand how and why you do things, and why you outgrow other people, including yourself.”

  8. I just stumbled upon your site during a break from my blogging and I found myself drawn to your way of expressing your thoughts.I admire the rhythm of your words. I was actually listening to one of your tunes a while ago and that’s how I got to your site.It is true that there are hidden currents beneath us that don’t manifest themselves until later in life. I still don’t really know what I want but I that I love what I am doing. Yes we constantly change that is why I believe that while we are on something we have to make the best of it because one day it might leave us or we might be the ones to go…but knowing we did something really good, is the best gift we can give to that particular period of our lives. All relationships change, sometimes we grow together, sometimes apart but I guess while you are at it , you just have to give your best shot and one day…. who knows?



Leave a Reply




↑ Top