Do you want a different approach to stopping smoking? Counselling can really help you to understand yourself and through that support you to look after yourself better. It is through understanding ourselves that we develop our ability to choose the life we really want. Click here for downloadable leaflet
The struggle to change
If you are feel stuck with your wish to stop smoking and can’t seem to manage it, no matter how many times have you tried, then this might be of interest to you. It is not a quick fix approach and requires a degree of commitment that can only come from a real preparedness to work for change. It is a creative and developmental approach that focuses on self-knowledge and self-repair. So, even if you don’t manage to stop smoking you will still have gained something really valuable.
Our problems arises from how we approach change. One part of us (our head) attempts to take control, “I will stop smoking today!” Then there’s lots of struggle and trying before another part of us just takes over and does what it wants, usually it’s a conspiracy between our feelings (feeling sorry for ourselves) and our body (cravings). The result is that we beat ourselves up for failing yet again, for being weak and useless.
How come we are like this?
Why is it that we are split into parts that don’t talk or listen to each other? This is about how trauma of some sort (usually in childhood), caused us to split our head, heart and body from being able to communicate well with each other. This desensitisation was the self’s survival strategy. Trauma arises when life is too much to bear and we repress, i.e. bury and put on hold, the hurt, pain, fear, distress, etc., that we could not face. This is true for all of us to some extent! This may have derived from a particularly event, but more commonly it was from being overwhelmed by an accumulation of difficulties, with the result that we ended up believing deep down that we are ‘not good enough’ in some way. This explains why we can be so self-destructive. A part of us believes that we are “not worth caring about” so we might as well carry on killing ourselves.
We get so accustomed to living with these ‘splits’, with not knowing or understanding our feelings, with having shut down our thinking and desensitised our bodies, that we think the way we are is ‘normal’. We resist looking too deeply at ourselves, we deny the possibility of change because it hasn’t worked before. Also at some level we don’t want to face the pain that we intuit is behind it all.
So, what to do?
Taking responsibility for ourselves, becoming more aware and understanding ourselves can be a tough process at times. So we need the wish to change to have permeated deeply. If this is where you are then the next step is to find support for this work of deepening your self-awareness and self-understanding. None of us can do this alone. But change and development are surprisingly possible!
How do we become more aware?
With support we can look more closely at what we are feeling, thinking and how our bodies hold our tension. This is all about attending to our here and now experience. We can start to see how our thoughts are influenced by our feelings, our feelings by our thoughts and how our bodies hold all our tensions. Fear and anxiety are always instantaneously there in the body as tension.
As we start to re-connect up our heart, head and body it enables us to see a little more about what is going on. This new awareness can then be digested and integrated and we become a little stronger. We can then see more of our insecurity. We can come to see and understand ourselves from a new perspective. Here the patterns of our experience makes sense and we can see the logic behind our behaviour.
We have many layers in us, and usually we are only aware of the surface, what happened today, what I want for supper, what a pain my partner is, how awful life is. We want life to be different from how it is without really taking self-responsibility for it, this is the place of being a victim. We all have this part of ourselves.
As we see deeper below the surface we start to understand the hurt, anger, fear or distress we’ve been living with for maybe all our lives. It’s by attending to this ‘victim’ place as deeply as possible that we repair ourselves. This is about taking responsibility for ourselves, about seeing and understanding our ‘what is’, our reality.
We can’t, yet have to, ‘do’ Change
We can’t change by willing it with our heads alone, it needs the whole of us to be involved in the process. The innate wisdom of our subconscious governs the process of change, together with our developing awareness and understanding from connecting up our head, heart and body. Change is usually something we notice after it has happened. And yet at some point we need to summon all our resources, especially those that come from knowing ourselves better, and make a choice to stop smoking. We need to commit ourselves, right down to the depth, to try our hardest. If / when we fail, we need to quickly forgive ourselves and get back on the program and stay connected to our choice. Remembering that this is a fight for your life, make it a fight for your very soul.