Change and the threat to our identity
We both desire and fear change. We want our lives to be different yet we also fear the change that is required to make that happen. Change can threaten our sense of identity and sense of self, so we avoid it. Often we can get stuck in wanting change and subconsciously fearing it which creates a stuckness in our lives.
When we want a change in our lives it requires a change in how we behave and how we feel. This also means that we have to change a part of our identity and the story we carry about who and how we are.
Example 1: Imagine that you want a promotion at work to become a manager of the team you work in. This would mean that your current identity of being ‘one of the team’ would have to change to ‘the manager of the team’. This might be difficult if you have negative beliefs about who or what managers or authority figures are, as this would threaten your sense of identity.
Example 2: If you want to be in a relationship, your identity might need to change from ‘I am independent and single’ to ‘I am in a relationship where I need to consider someone else’. This might be difficult if you have negative associations with relationships, either from your adult life experiences or from your childhood.
If there are areas of your life that you want to change but are having difficulties, have a look and see where and how your identity and sense of self are being challenged.
In energy psychotherapy, we look at what are called ‘psychological reversals’. This means that the conscious part of you might desire a change but if there is difficulty in making this happen it is likely that an unconscious part of you is resistant to that change. The main ones we look at are:
Perhaps a part of you doesn’t feel it's safe to let go of an old defence mechanism. Perhaps being withdrawn and avoiding people kept you safe at some point in your life, but now it is unhelpful if you want to become more sociable in your life.
Perhaps there is a part of you that feels that you don’t deserve whatever it is that you desire. You may feel that you aren’t good enough for the job promotion that you want.
I’ll stop being me
Perhaps letting go of the belief that ‘other people don’t like me’ will mean that you won't know how to be you any more. This belief is so integral to how you see yourself that it threatens your identity.
We are loyal, unconsciously, to our family systems. There might be a long history of people being unhappily married in your family or not being allowed to be with the person that they love. So when you find someone that you love and want to be with, there is also a feeling that it's ‘not allowed’ somehow. It is because it would go against the family loyalty of ‘we can't be with those we love’.
All of these ‘reversals’ can be cleared to free you up to make the choices and changes that you want to make. Our identity isn’t set in stone. You have the choice to change it if you want to. It might mean that you have to let go of an old and embedded story about yourself, about other people or about how you view the world.
If there is a change that you are wanting to make in your life, really sit with that desire and see if there are any doubts, fears, or parts of you that shrink away from it. Pretending that they don’t exist won’t make them go away!
An example might be that you are trying to manifest more money into your life, and although on the surface this is something you desire, it could be that there are unconscious beliefs that “it's not safe to have money”, or “people will only like me for my money and not for me”, “money is evil”. There might be a family loyalty to not having money, or not having ‘too much’. Changing your identity from someone who doesn’t have money to someone that does have money is quite a shift. What beliefs, or identity would you have to let go of in order to allow a new belief or narrative in?
If you are interested in finding out more about making changes in your life that currently feel difficult and would like some help please get in touch.