Uzi Peretz admits that change is one of the most difficult things for him to do, and to accept.
More than 10 years ago, I left my nine year marriage in search of something more for myself. I was unhappy, unfulfilled and convinced it was mostly her fault. Sure, I took responsibility for some things but mostly I blamed her. Six years later, I was still playing out the same old patterns and each relationship seemed almost identical to the one before it. I finally accepted that despite what I thought were my best efforts to change; I hadn’t changed at all. Actually, most of the time was spent trying to change everyone else. I’d spend countless hours debating the standard list of topics like politics, religion and sports with whoever would engage in it with me. It never occurred to me that I was using all this stuff to distract me from changing. And since there is always another person willing to agree or disagree, it’s easy to seek out those people and distract each other.
Sometimes I would disagree or see someone else disagree and I’d react by verbally assaulting them for their “ignorance.” The internet makes it easy to feel superior; especially since there is little chance of getting punched in the face for acting like an ass. Let’s be honest, any idiot (read: me) with some typing skills and a halfway decent vocabulary can cut and paste “facts” from all over the place to make themselves seem smarter. We’ve all regurgitated opinion as fact and used someone else’s words as our own in a futile attempt to change someone else’s opinion.
Unfortunately, most opinions are a product of what we see on TV, read about on the web or are something our parents taught us before we were old enough to make our own choices. An easy example of this is sports. Do we really like a particular team because one day we did a bunch of our own research and decided they were the team to like? Or is it just something that we were taught to like and now we stand firm in our beliefs as if they were our own choice? If you really think about it, most of our opinions were formed long before we were able to consciously choose them. This is true for many of the challenges facing us today such as racism, religion and politics. Fashion and entertainment give us more to comment about and see who is “like us”. It doesn’t matter which side we’re on because the purpose is the same. We use these people (and they use us) to distract each other.
A few years ago, none of this mattered to me. Whatever the distraction of the day was, I had a desperate need to be right about it. I’d scour the web for “truth” and sometimes even swoop in to protect an innocent “victim.” I’d use my words and wit like some sort of internet superhero sent to protect those who were less fortunate. Other times I would seek out conversations just to be the asshole. That’s right, I was the troll sent to destroy peoples positive experiences with my “truth.” But here was the real truth—I was unhappy, lonely and scared to deal with any of my issues so I distracted myself as much as possible. And the people I came in contact with; well they were using me to distract themselves from dealing with their stuff too. It’s pretty amazing how we always seem to attract the things we can learn the most from. It’s as if the universe keeps giving us chance after chance until we figure it out; or die trying.
Basically, finding fault in others is an endless loop that serves two main purposes.
1. It distracts us from dealing with our stuff.
2. It distracts others from dealing with their stuff.
So how do we go about changing the parts of us that aren’t working? How difficult is it to make significant change in your life? For me, it was very difficult. It took a lot of work to change and even more work to make those changes stick. I was extremely comfortable with who I was, at least that’s what I told myself in order to keep things status quo. I always knew in my heart that I was unhappy and what I needed to do to change it, I just didn’t know how.
Like most people, I struggled with certain changes more than others. Nowadays, if I don’t like something I will choose not to watch, listen or read it. If I disagree with something and feel I can express myself honestly and politely, I usually take the time to do so. I think it shows a desire to learn about myself and share my own experiences and conclusions with other people. Maybe we will all learn something together. I’m pretty confident that most people appreciate me when I don’t throw up all over their experience just because I don’t agree with their view of reality.
In part two of this article, I will share what the Five “D’s” of decision making are and how you can use them to make successful changes in your own life. It all starts with a decision.