Change is possible — but it involves making corrections to a myriad of core beliefs, and correcting a wide swath of past mistakes (and then doing as much as possible to atone, amend, supplement, alter, or in otherways make payment for the consequences of those past mistakes.) I believe that the only real changes that happen are evidenced either in a Graves level shift, OR as evidenced (with heavy evidence) that the current Graves level has become markedly more healthy or less healthy. Those are the only real changes that matter.
And, I believe that if what we see, whether in ourselves or in others, is something we have seen before — a repeating pattern — then chances are, we are just running a loop, rather than any real upward changing, or change to something healthier or unhealthier than we have been all the previous times we have seen that loop go by. If it’s “the same damn thing over and over again,” then it is NOT “one damn thing after another.” Those 2 are mutually exclusive. Even for a mismatcher.
I don’t think we can ever take another person’s word as evidence that they have changed. We all know that there are people who shout, cry, lie prostrate, weep and beg for mercy, bring themselves to tears recounting all the horrible things they’ve done in the past, or self-deprecate into a microphone at AA, church, or the local Knights of Columbus hall — only to try and save their reputation and their own self image. (Remember Jerry Falwell? Rush Limbaugh?) Just saying “I have sinned” while weeping and gnashing our teeth doesn’t stop the same-old-same-old from happening again. And again.
The onlything that changes behavior is actual change. Changed beliefs. Changed Graves level. And just being able to say the words is not it. I can talk all day about how I’ve given up smoking, drinking, gambling — whatever my bad behaviour is. Behaviors are driven by belief. By Graves level. By choice.
So — Change is possible. But it is almost impossible. It is an evolution — not a toggle switch. It takes digging deep into our core beliefs and how we choose to go one way instead of another. It takes facing up to the dark corners of our lives and our own personal history and being willing to look it dead on, without shoving it back down into the darkness and hiding from it or denying it — or worse — trying to keep it secret either from ourselves, our family, or our friends.
If change were easy or could ever happen quickly — everybody would be changing and improving (or not) every time they turned around. But it doesn’t happen that way.
The “ah-ha!” moments are catalysts. But they are not actual change. They are motivators. They are an epiphany that can either lead upward or onward — or that can make us rush to make the hiding place more secure and to pour another layer of concrete over the current pattern.
So what do I know about change?
It can happen.
It does happen.
Words are not change.
Tears, hopes, fantasies are not change.
Apologies, self-deprecation, tears of grief and shame — are not change.
Only change is change and it is impossible to miss because it bears fruit.
It gives evidence daily.
It colors every belief, motivation, action, and relationship.
It shows up in every thought and habit.
It makes us incompatable with every one of those we formerly felt completely at home and comfortable with.
If the word every doesn’t apply — then then word change does not appy.
And it is impossible to deny or miss for those who have known us all our lives, or even just for a day.