This short... essay was written in response to a comment I spotted in another thread on another forum, but I thought I'd repost it here, because it's really quite a common statement...
"I wish I could be/do/have _______ (fill in the blank), but I don't think I have the capacity to change how I see fit, so I'll just remain the way I am and wish that I were different."
I always cringe when I see a comment like this. I've heard it so many times in so many ways; it's really kind of annoying. "I wish I could go vegan, but I could never stick with it." "I wish I could play the violin, but I could never practice enough." "I wish I could go raw, but I don't think I could ever do it."
Inherent in all these statements that I hear is the lack of belief in one's ability to change. And regardless of whether you think you can or can't... You're right.
But here's where it gets a little tricky... if you want to make a change (going raw, for example) and you try to accomplish this by the strength of your will, you will undoubtedly fail. Why? Because if you're using willpower to make change, that means that you don't really want that change. Think about it. "Willpower" is forcing yourself to not do what it is that you want to do, isn't it?
Back when I first read about the cruelty in the meat industry, and then when I saw the videos of the factory farms and such, it didn't take willpower for me to avoid meat. Hell no! I would gag at the thought of how that hot dog was made. The change became easy for me, because I really did want to make that change. And once that happens, willpower doesn't even factor in, you see. The point isn't to get better at not doing what you want to do; the point is to align yourself with what you want, or in other words, bring yourself to the point where you really do want that which you say you want. Learning this concept will seriously serve you well in life - it makes so many things so much easier, and it applies to a lot.
So! So far you've decided to change, and then you've aligned yourself with that decision. Once you've gotten this far, the change that you desire will come naturally and easily. In fact, it would be hard not to make the change, because you already have the momentum going. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that once you've aligned yourself with the change, the change has already taken place, because change is an internal thing before it's an external result. Something to think about, anyway.
Now I'll admit that making the change from cooked foodist to raw foodist does take a little effort. Namely, you have to learn some new recipes. And that's not so hard, is it? Of course not! You find a recipe that looks good and you follow the directions. Piece of cake! (Side comment: try your hand at a raw pie - they're amazing!)
But you always have to keep in mind that whatever you do is on your own free will. If you want to eat cooked food, then eat cooked food. I certainly have after going raw... and if I wanted to eat cooked food again, I would. But as it is, I would rather not eat cooked food, because it feels better to eat raw food. It's my own personal experiment: "How good can I stand to feel?"
There is so much truth here. I really loved the comment about "willpower". That is it in a nutshell...why some of us can do "this" and others struggle . Outlook and approach is everything. It IS "our" choice. Great clarity....
Thanks for sharing that!
Sorry but I must take issue with the classification that it is all about the willpoower here. Not only is that a shaming punishing message that inflicts further self-doubt and potential harm on newbies or strugglers but I do believe that it is false. First of all, many raw gurus admit that it took them closer to a decade to become 100 percent raw than not. Many of us are fighting ethnic familial food cultures that are especially difficult (yes willpower is part of this) when the wanna be 100 percent rawbie is the one expected to create the food for families that have no desire to change. I imagine it is equally difficult for the person who wants to be 100 percent who does not have unfettered access to the kitchen facilities of the household or who is considered an intruder in the kitchen. Willpower or not, just try being the interloper in the kitchen with high level of effort to create raw foods!
Lastly but far from least, many wanna be 100 percenters are fighting major medical or severe detox which further complicates the issue. I know that in my case the detox makes me dysfunctional so I am taking it slow - as in years. Yes I do have willpower issues. If I were more physically able, as well as had the equipment and the finances - sure then I could create more raw delicacies to assuage my SAD cravings. I am able to separate what is willpower and what is need for me most of the time - especially when I research the nutritional component I usually find an explanation.
Recently someone re-recommended fasting for me and my husband. He is a diabetic heart patient. I have my own medical problems. In our case I do not feel knowledgeable enough about fasting to do it without medical supervision. Such medical supervision is simply out of our reach financially and really, if we do get ill from improper fasting, the allopaths available to us - I do not trust them to know how to correct. So if you wish to characterize this as a willpower issue, by all means go ahead, but I will reject your conclusion.
Furthermore, much more data needs to be accumulated and made widely available about detox symptoms and their meanings because in my case, what I thought was detox was only partially so - I actually had alot of undiagnosed medical problems. Somehow being close to 100 percent made them more visible. So at the same time I lost weight and had obvious, braggable healing I also was getting sicker. If I had accepted the blanket detox excuse I would still be bedridden and unable to walk or think and with severe heart palpitations and breathing problems knocking each thought out of my head moment by moment and probably much worse with other symptoms as well.
Contrarian here again!
However, you have some really good understanding about directing oneself and willpower, Random Violin Guy, and I must admit that it has not required any effort of re-direction at all for me to fill myself with these in-season cherries the last couple of days!
Luckitri - I think RVG was trying to point out something that he found helpful. I didn't take it that he was trying to describe the entire process of change for all people.
And I also think that you have valid insights from the perspective of serious illness. I know that you and your husband have suffered immensely. And so, special considerations are required for those with medical complications when it comes to dietary change. It may need to be very gradual, or combined with things like fasting or highly-focused supplementation. Maybe even homeopathy or some other discipline. I think that you are trying to tell us - it's not a simplistic approach for everyone.. and that issues could go well beyond questions of willpower vs. other forms of motivation.
I see how a message could be regarded as shamefully punishing. But I'm sure RVG never meant it that way.
Recently someone re-recommended fasting for me and my husband. He is a diabetic heart patient. I have my own medical problems. In our case I do not feel knowledgeable enough about fasting to do it without medical supervision. Such medical supervision is simply out of our reach financially and really, if we do get ill from improper fasting..
I think it's safe to say that fasting is not a magic panacea for any and all kinds of aliments. Yet the case history on it is astounding. I can sure sympathize with your situation there. Medical help IS expensive, and usually just treats symptoms rather than going after causes. And, even if you have medical insurance or medicare, they do not cover natural therapists.. unless a med Dr. orders a procedure... maybe. For instance, a colonic irrigation. And they are generally ignorant about such things and so will not order it. So you have a vicious cycle.
What I'd wanna do in this case is study. Study study, study! There are soooo many books on it. They can be ordered for pennies on the dollar from Amazon.com. And used book stores. And there's an ocean of free info on the net. Then from the consensus of gathered information over time, begin to experiment. See what works. A Dr would not necessarily object, even if he or she is not convinced of the natural remedy. Try things in small steps. See what helps. As you grow in knowledge, step out a little further. Equip yourself with understanding of natural therapies. Do keyword searches in these fields of therapy in light of your own condition(s). Be encouraged. There is hope!
Yes, life does seem unfair sometimes. And in the end, only eternal values matter. Heart matters. Love. But love yourself in this life. Do all you can to be well. And we're here for you!
But at the same time Luckitri , I once viewed things the way you are. And I can hear what you are saying because of that. For me my life course changed everything for me tho.
It took me 3 years to "go raw" or stay raw, I guess you'd say. When I first started being interested in raw foods I wasn't ill and it wasn't a necessity, but later it became one. And the reason that what RVG resonated with me was cuz ...all my friends were constantly commenting to me..."Wow...what WILLPOWER you have. Here we are at a (potluck, resturant etc.)...and your eating fruit/or salad." I never felt like willpower was involved with becoming raw. It was my choice. I turned to raw because I was ill...and it is and has been the only thing to make me better. So it was all about wanting to LIVE my life, and not suffer. I guess "WHY" I was going raw was more in the forefront of my mind...lol. Not.."I must do this" or " I'm forcing myself"...kwim? I was looking for a cure and embraced it completely. The switch in my mind then flipped. Does that make sense?
I hope I'm am making sense and cuz I 'm not trying to stir the pot. Because we all do have a different journey which shapes us and can help us respond differently from each other. But in my case, I could hear what RVG was saying.
And congratulations on quitting smoking solely on the basis of willpower!!! I think you must be one in a million!! Look at all the people who CANNOT, or WILLNOT quit smoking.... Well! Is that an argument for, or against, the power of the will.
I believe the best argument against willpower is made in the Big Book of "Alcoholics Anonymous." Throughout, the book speaks to the heart and soul of alcoholics about how many times they had sworn off; all the crazy tricks they had tried--which failed; all the times they walked straight into a bar and ordered a drink--when they knew it would cost them their job, their marriage--even their health!
I strongly disagree with your very terse argument in favor of self will. I believe that all the people who are still drinking, smoking and shooting drugs are evidence against your argument--not to mention all the people who are overweight, diabetic, or have heart disease--simply because they eat too much!
You may be the only person in this world who has had a successful experience with willpower! The rest of us are struggling!
But I do congratulate you on quitting smoking! How long has it been now...of course, that doesn't mean you may not go back to it...?!!
We are talking about 75+% of the world being hooked on dysfunctional addictions--in spite of their strong willpower!
No, sir. I cannot buy your argument.
What comes out of my mouth can hurt me as much as what goes into my mouth!
Will power is a product of the conscious, deductive, analytical mind, which runs slower and is less powerful than the autonomic nervous system/subconscious.
Habits begin and end in the subconsious. To pit the conscious brain against the subconscious is like letting pitting a three year old against a young Muhammed Ali.
To uproot habits and addictions, ya gotta figure them out and change at the subconscious level. Then willpower is not a problem, b.c the subconscious implelments change such that it feels automatic.
Can't tell you how many times people say : I don;t think hypnosis works because afterward I just stopped smoking without even trying. It was automatic- couldn't have been hypnosis..." YEt they tried willpower a million times before with no success. They just "happened" to change "magically" into non-smokers overnight.... hmmmm....Interesting... lol.
Aside from this post adjacent to mine I am liking the contributions. Somewhere I read recently that the mind cannot process a negative so if you tell yourself that you are not going to catch a cold all that produces is your mind focusing on "cold" thus making it more likely that you will catch one.
I am one of those slow-learners that has to learn by doing or in many cases - suffering. Yesterday I ate potato chips that I had purchased for my SAD family because I was hungry and busy and they were there. Well my liver instantly blew up, got painful and I barely slept and then I threw-up and threw-up and threw-up - so now I know. I have got to get me an Excalibur and make me some snack foods for those times. I guess I will now have willpower on this issue but look what it took for me to get it! So now instead of being semi-productive I am having to do an apple juice fast with salt water flushes. I learnt that the olive oil part sometimes pushes the stones to the pancreas causing pancreatitis necessitating emergency surgery so I just do the apple juice part. It does get the swelling and pain down as well as helps to clear the fog from my brain.
So this is how I learn - the hard way. Willpower or just painful learning - what do you call it?
By the way Hypnotista, I tried hypnosis for smoking once. It worked for everyone that I knew there but not me. I ended up thinking that they forced it to work because they wanted to quit so bad. To be fair this was a traveling guy who promised to follow-up with you if it didn't work but his organization was the type that gives hypnotists a bad name because they were just rude to me and did not honor their promise.
Having been e-friends for a few years now (wow!) I know you have struggled mightily to improve your health. Just want to give you some props because I can sense such a dramatic improvement in your outlook, and thus, I presume you health!
I know this must have been real work, and lots of heart and mind energy. I am so glad that you have come so far.
As for the smoking with hypnosis, I know just what you're talking about. I remember these travelling characters coming through my small hometown in the 80's. lol.
The thing you ran into is this *and I am going to tell you the secret <wink>)
Hypnotists are only teaching YOU how to hypnotize yourself. YOU are always in power. Your subconscious will always resist even the most helpful, well-intnetioned hypnosis until it is confident that the change you seek will be SAFE. For it to help your health, for instance, is not enough if health would compromise the inner SELF's identity- even if that sense of identity is false or harmful...
The SELF trumps the Body. WOW! So, if someone experiences subconscous resistance to hypnosis, they need real hypnoTHERAPY, where a skilled therapist (NOT a psychotherapist as they deal in the conscious analysis of the brain and behavior only) helps you to look beyond the issues you are already aware of and find the subconscious motivators- which will almost always surprise you!
Once you have the REAL source of subconscious resistance addressed and resolved, then you can make the lasting change because your subC will feel it is SAFE to make.
I'm very sorry that you had that experience with a hypnotist. The right thing to do would have been to refund the portion of your money they had guaranteed, if any...and to then refer you to a hypnotherapist in your area who could do deeper work.
Unfortunately, hypnosis doesn;t work for everything or everyone unless it is the right time for the client, and done gently and with respect for every individuals unqiue patterns *and pace) for transformation.
Keep trying and succeeding Luckitri, You are making progress everyday!