We were not born knowing how to walk, tie our shoes, use words to communicate with others, or ride a bike, yet we probably are good at doing these things today. As a child, we had to learn and change in order to acquire these skills, yet somehow as adults we tend to resist learning new things or changing. So what is the difference between embracing those major changes in our early lives and opening to change today? The distinction is that as children we continued to work on mastering new skills whether we believed we would accomplish them or not, while as adults we fear and doubt the process, even though we have all of the evidence of our past successes.
The way the mind learns and deals with change:
How often do you have to think about how to tie your shoes when you lace them up? Most likely you put no thought into it, and your hands and mind do the work. It just happens. When the mind learns and practices something enough times, it automatically does it when required. In psychology this phenomenon is called implicit memory. We won’t get into the technical side of it, but I’ll give you another example: Have you ever driven home or to work and spaced out? When you finally got to your destination you realized that you did not remember how you got from point A to point B. This happens because your unconscious mind knows the way, so there is no need for your conscious mind to pay attention. In other words, you are on autopilot. These experiences happen in all types of scenarios, from having a job that is repetitive in which you perform tasks without thinking to waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom without opening your eyes.
The benefits and importance of implicit memory are natural and effortless achievement of a task after prolonged practice. That said, the hardest part of the change process may be the period of time when we are learning and consciously implementing the skills to get us where we want to go. So whether you are developing the tools to be a successful entrepreneur or working to improve a relationship, you must have faith that the more you put the tools into practice, the more natural they will seem, and the more smoothly they will function.
What is Faith?
When most people think about faith they tend to associate it with religious beliefs. However, we neglect to think about faith as a belief in ourselves that is crucial for us to achieve goals. There are several definitions of faith that can be found online and in dictionaries, and we can refer to some of them to better understand how important faith is in creating the change we want to see in our life.
Faith is the confident belief, loyalty, and trust in the truth or trustworthiness of a person, concept or thing with strong conviction.
Just as we did in childhood, we develop faith, or confidence in ourselves, through the small steps we accomplish, and proving to ourselves that we are capable. When setting goals, break them down to smaller steps and celebrate every time you achieve those milestones. You will not only feel good about your accomplishments, you will develop true faith and trust in yourself and your journey.
Faith is firm belief in something for which there is no proof.
Even though it’s easy to see some of our greatest accomplishments, often we remain discouraged, fearful, and without faith because of past instances in which we believe we failed. If you have doubts and use failure in your past as a reference point to predict your future, you may have a hard time achieving your goals. However, your past does not define your future. Instead, you need to summon faith from deeper within. When you remember how much you have accomplished and how powerful you are, you will have faith in yourself because you know at your core that failure, for this particular area of your life, is NOT an option.
For example, in my first year of college I failed and dropped out. After my brother’s death the following year, I decided to go back to school. I had unconditional faith that this time I would succeed because I had a purpose to help people, and therefore, my faith in myself and my capabilities was unbreakable.
We may lack proof at times, but we can always make up for it if we have a vision that does not waver. Many people who have gone from rags to riches will tell you that they had no idea how they would reach their ultimate success, but they knew that if they just kept working toward their goal every day the right doors would open up.
We don’t need to see the other end of the tunnel, we just need to have faith that the light will guide us to the end.
Good will prevail:
We can have faith in ourselves when we focus on our past success, and we can have faith out of sheer determination, but we can also find faith in our ability to change our life by remembering that good always finds a way to prevail in the end.
The change guarantee: From this situation, something good will come if I believe it will happen.
Rest assured that no matter what transpires you will be okay. Everything in your life has always worked out, fallen into place, healed, or resulted in something better. Even when a bad event has occurred, you have survived it (you are here now, are you not?) and it has most likely resulted in something good or helped you to grow into the person you are today.
The parachute always opens:
We need to take this opportunity to remind ourselves of the times the parachute has opened and prove to ourselves that we have no reason to believe that it will not continue to do so!
- List any situations in your life when you could not see the solution to the problem but it somehow worked itself out.
- List any time in your life in which a change “happened” to you, you didn’t see how it was going to end well, but the parachute opened just in time.
- Take a sheet of paper and divide it into two columns, labeled “Bad” and “Good”. Make a list of any “bad” changes that have happened in your life. To the right, list any good (a better circumstance, a miracle, your own growth, etc.) that resulted from the bad change.
Now, after seeing how life has always taken care of you, is there really anything to fear? Plus, this time YOU are the one choosing to make this change, so there is even more motivation to have faith that things will turn out the way you hope. Have faith; life is good!
With New Year and the holidays coming up, I want to wish you a year of transformation. Take the time to write down your intentions for 2013 and place the list somewhere visible.
Have faith in yourself and in life knowing that all will unfold if you remain faithfully focused on your vision.
Joeel A. Rivera, M.Ed., Ph.D. (ABD) holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling and is currently completing his dissertation for his Ph.D. in Psychology. Joeel’s extensive career as a relationship coach includes certifications in P.R.E.P, a 30-year research-based program for couples, Nurturing Father’s curriculum, and Parenting 21st Century. Joeel is now offering counseling for a limited number of clients. Contact Joeel at firstname.lastname@example.org