Creating a clear longing to make lasting changes

“Longing is like the rosy dawn. After the dawn out comes the sun. Longing is followed by the vision of God.”  Ramakrishna

This week a co-worker and I were having a discussion about addiction.  I talked about how many of our clients have had experiences with overdosing and have even lost friends.  They say they don’t want to die, but yet they continue to use fully knowing what could happen next time.  I wondered aloud with her why this seemingly obvious consequence isn’t enough for them to choose a different behavior.  We discussed how they seem to struggle with seeing themselves living any other kind of lifestyle in the future.  She responded that she feels it stems from a lack of self-worth.  Do they feel they are worthy of living the life they would love to be living?  Many times the person looking back at them in the mirror tells tspiral-1037508_640hem they are not.   I believe that change can only come in two ways.  Either we are so discontented with the life we are living that we are pushed to make a change, this is often known in the field of addiction as hitting rock bottom, or we become so clear on the life that we would love to be living that the longing pulls us towards it.  So do we want to be pushed by discontent or pulled by longing?  It would seem that longing would be the easier path, but getting clear on what we would love to do and knowing that we are worthy of living the life we would love are two big obstacles.  This week I will discuss some strategies for getting clear on the longing and next week I will discuss feeling worthy of it.

I have been amazed at the responses that I get when I ask my clients what they would LOVE to be doing in five years.  Many of them paint pictures that look very similar to the lives they are living now, with some modest upgrades.  When I ask them if they would love their life doing what they just described many of them laugh and say it would be better, but they have no idea what they would LOVE.  I then ask them to create a vision for their life in five years.  What does their body feel like?  Is it able to move with ease? Is their mind sharp? Are they at a healthy weight? Are they abstaining from the use of all substances?  What do their relationships look like?  Are they supported?  Do they feel a sense of connection with family and friends?  How do they spend their time?  Are they employed in a job they love?  Are they volunteering their time helping others?  Are they engaged in their hobbies or interests?  What does their financial situation look like?  Are all of their bills paid with ease?  How much do they make in a year?  These are just a few questions to get started on becoming clear on the life they would LOVE to be living.  There is no longing for the life of their dreams if they aren’t able to see it with perfect clarity.  I encourage everyone to play in the realm of imagination and place themselves in the life they would love to be living.  If it is crystal clear you will get a sense of longing for it.  Creating a sense of longing is the first step to making lasting changes.

2 comments on “Creating a clear longing to make lasting changes

  1. Change can also come when one has support and genuine caring from someone. Being loved and feeling like your life truly matters is a powerful motivation for change. Most addicts feel the opposite. Anyone close to them have likely given up listening to their promises of change. They failed again and again. What will be different this time?

  2. Very true! Being in a close relationship creates connection. Feeling isolation creates pain. Pain hurts and so the numbing of addiction is used to cope. It creates a downward spiral that is difficult to overcome for many people. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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