The Difference Between Life-changing & You-changing
Understand the difference between your Life and your Self, learn about the survival mechanisms of Denial and Depression, and how you can transform not only your Life, you can also transform YOU...
A survival mechanism called Denial is going to urge you to quit reading this article soon. If you choose to overcome this urge, you may find something more real than life itself...
What is the difference between something that changes your life and something that changes you?
Is there any difference between you and your life?
You don't have to take my word for it. Think about it for yourself. Can you separate your Self from your Life? Or are the two so intricately linked that you don't exist without your “life”? The day you start separating your Self from your Life, you have started changing your Self, you have started changing.
It is inevitable that certain circumstances in our life cannot be changed, in those we get the opportunity to change ourselves.
When Changing Your Life Is Not An Option — Change You
When you are able to separate your Self from your Life, you can change without needing to change your life. This is important when certain conditions prevent us from changing our circumstances, at that point we can change how we experience, interact, and react to those circumstances.
What is the difference between “You” and Your Life?
I differentiate "Life" from "Self" in this way: life is what is experienced, self is the one experiencing it. Life, in this context, is the set of circumstances, situations, and all factors that are experienced.
They say that all separation between the subject and the object, between self and reality, is artificial. But is it really? Or is that just an interpretation, another subjective perception, a religious belief from the buddhist literature that claims there is no self and everything is just one. Such simplistic reduction negates the reality of a multidimensional experience. Yes, there are states and levels of consciousness where the subject-object separation dissolves and all becomes one. Yet, in this world, in our social-cultural context, the self is totally real and an absolute necessity. Making that self healthy is our responsibility.
From the perspective of developing our Consciousness, when we discuss changing our lives and changing our selves, we are going to focus on external circumstances vs internal attitudes. Mainstream ideas about self development and life improvement, whether it is the societal culture, coaching, therapy, self help, spirituality, or whatever new term was invented yesterday, focuses primarily on changing circumstances in order to improve life, or practicing generic methods and becoming dependent on particular tools such as meditation and mindfulness.
Get a better job, house, car, etc.; take a pill, exercise, do yoga, become vegan, start a keto diet, change your habits, stop fapping, start fapping, free your sexuality, be monogamous, be polygamous, love everyone, isolate yourself, stop drinking, stop smoking, don't do drugs, do take psychedelics*, stop war, fight for peace... chant a mantra, meditate, repeat 10 positive affirmations, be positive, be grateful!
Do you know what everyone is essentially saying?
Do something different and everything will change.
Have you noticed what actually happens? Nothing changes. The same cycles keep repeating endlessly.
The life changing method is the same as giving a baby a pacifier.
The baby becomes quiet for some time, it is happy for some time, and then it starts all over again — it is still deeply unsatisfied, it is still the same cranky baby — you are still you. And the problem is “in the you”, in the self.
What is "You-changing"? What does it mean to transform your Self?
In contrast to the masses that talk about life-changing methods, some people go a different route: Change you, change your Self.
We all have toxic beliefs, but the problem is not in the belief itself, it is our attitude towards our beliefs. We are deeply attached to our beliefs and only perceive the world through that lens. We don't stop to consider other ways, and even if we do stop and ponder once in a while, we don't know what exists outside our blinding sphere of perception. Just contemplating and reflecting is not enough, sometimes we are completely trapped in caves of unconsciousness that can only be changed through specific techniques and guidance.
Even for those who are advanced seekers, professional coaches and therapists, healers, and others who have been working on themselves for decades, it may come as a shock that most people are completely trapped in extremely disempowering mentalities. They only know how to act and pretend in a superior way, but in reality they are themselves caught in unconscious loops. I have gone through this myself, and only after years of repeating the same mistake I realized: thinking you are done, thinking you are free, is the biggest blindspot. It is only those who realize that the work is endless and have the humility to face that, can truly guide others out of the illusion of a final destination of freedom and bliss.
The world is constantly changing, and we are changing with it, which is why there is no such thing as being healed or fixed in some complete way. The world keeps affecting us, the world keeps getting more complex, and we have to learn, grow, heal, and evolve with the world.
If you just change your beliefs and your ideas by repeating something someone else told you to do, you are still not learning to think for yourself, you are still not using your power. You are just mimicking another person. And you don't know who this person turns out to be in the future. Just because they can put up a show in their 15 minutes of fame doesn't mean they can sustain it. Instead, if you learn to activate your own power, creativity, resources, you create a sustainable foundation for your life.
That is what "you-changing" means, you become more creative, resourceful, powerful, loving, compassionate, balanced, and whole, by healing and growing parts of you that are stuck in old patterns and beliefs — not through blind repetition and mimicry, through confronting it with consciousness, power, compassion, and understanding.
In this method you can still do the same things you were doing before. You don't need to quit your job and overhaul your life unless that is what you actually want and can do. Making those changes with the expectation that you will become free and happy is only going to guarantee disappointment. You can continue to work, parent, relate, etc. even with the same people, when you learn to change your Inner Attitude.
How to change? What is actually changing?
If you only change some aspect of your life, the rest remains the same.
When you change you, your relationship to everything changes.
An example of the above: people with addictions, whether it is drugs, alcohol, smoking, sex, whatever it is, attempt to control and stop the action or the activity. More often than not, they will either relapse OR switch to another addiction that is more tolerable and acceptable by society, such as medication, food, television, etc.
Alternately, when you heal yourself at the trauma level, you realize that you no longer crave or need to fill that void within you. Your relationship with the addiction changes entirely. This does not happen overnight, it takes some time because traumas are in layers, but once you go through the many layers, you will realize that you have healed at the root, and the addiction was just helping you to cope and survive. You no longer demonize the addiction or the substance, you recognize the role it was playing and how it helped you survive when you had no other fallback. Fighting and demonizing our survival mechanisms only makes things worse. Accepting you need it will help you understand what is really going on, find a healthier substitute temporarily, break your shame and guilt, and heal the root.
Once you heal, whether or not you change your life matters much less. The way you interact with life has changed entirely. At this point you can do the same activities, just that you will be doing them in an entirely different way. And if you decide to stop doing an activity or you decide to change a situation or circumstance, that again will have an entirely different motivation. It will be out of a realization of how this circumstance was serving you before and is no longer required, because the part of you that was being served no longer needs to be fed in that toxic way.
If you just change your habits, your new habits will start feeding your toxic parts — even healthy habits can feed toxic parts, that is the literal definition of toxic positivity.
And if you believe you are pure and free of any toxic elements while living in a sick civilization - there is an explanation for that, it is a survival mechanism called denial. And the reason it exists is to protect your mind from the harshness of reality.
What if I am too afraid to change?
We need to think of ourselves as good, right, and better, in order to survive. This psychological survival mechanism of righteousness is paired with denial of the reality of our own parts that are causing pain to others and ourselves.
The good news is that denial is only required when we are unable to deal with the reality, and that is exactly what can change, that is precisely what you-changing means. You can learn to change your self. You can learn tools to deal with the reality instead of going into depression, which is yet another survival mechanism, just acting out differently. In depression we stop feeling our emotions because they are too painful AND we don't know what to do with them, we don't know how to deal with them.
The fear of change arises from fear of the unknown, and that fear dissipates when you have the tools to deal with the unknown. And once you heal, not only can you deal with and survive with the unknown, you start enjoying it — the mystery, the adventure, curiosity, all are what make the unknown enjoyable — when we are equipped to deal with it.
Fear is information
Fear is informing you what you need to learn
Learn to listen and Learn to learn
When we are righteous or in denial, we tend to close and dismiss information to stick to our version of reality where we feel safe and comfortable. Unfortunately, most people have very uncomfortable comfort-zones. That is where it can help to have support from teachers and peers.
Where can you learn to change You?
There are people who have gone through this process and who can help you to learn the tools. There are real teachers, and when you have the real intention to work on yourself and heal, you will find a real teacher in the chaos of “life-changing self-help” where nothing really changes.
The difference between learning you-changing tools and life-changing tools is that you are not dependent on a tool to feel better. There are people who feel peace only in their 1-hour of meditation / yoga, or they become completely unbalanced if they break their yoga / meditation routine — meaning they are completely dependent on those tools to feel good and balanced. When you have healed, the tool is just needed when something needs to be fixed, it is not something you depend on all the time — you have reached a place where your normal state is balanced and healthy.
Whatever I have shared above is from personal experience of dealing with heavy depression, substance-addiction, and finally healing myself by changing “me”. I have gone through the you-changing process and have been helping people who are committed to healing and transforming themselves. I have struggled with hypersensitivity and PTSD which required intense numbing — over time I healed and developed myself to interface with the world in ways that make me hyperfunctional and compassionate rather than numb, hypervigilant, and afraid. I learned to connect with and use my power and now I teach others to do the same.
Our course on Consciousness Development through the lens of Empowering Yourself & Others is a deep-dive into exploring disempowering patterns of human behavior and learning to transform your Self by activating and using your power. The highlight of this course are the integration calls where you will receive personalized guidance to discover your particular patterns and learn to apply the techniques so you can use them in your everyday life whenever you need.
You can find all details on the Empowering Yourself & Others course page. We also have a free online meetup this week where we will give a preview of this course.
I also offer another long-term course called Study of Self for those who wish to go further and keep exploring and developing themselves. Both courses are approached with similar methods and intentions, which are explained in detail in this post about our school.
You can schedule a free 1-1 consultation with me to learn more and discuss your personal interest and suitability for these courses.