The Devil I Know is Better than The Devil I Don’t Know

 THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE We hear this over and over again: people don’t change. And although this is not entirely true, it is very difficult sometimes for us to change. Change takes us into new, unchartered territory--unknown territory--and the unknown is also unpredictable. We rather stay with what is certain and avoid uncertainty. So, we take the path of least resistance.

UNCERTAINTY IS A KILLER We are hard-wired to create patterns of reacting to life that we depend on for certainty. “The devil I know is better than the devil I don’t know.” The need for predictability runs deep; so deep that most of us would prefer the certainty of bad news to the uncertainty of no news about a problem.But we pay a high price for this when actually very few things are certain (only death and taxes, right?)

In our efforts to make things predictable–to keep everything as it is–we will hunker down and risk less. We may distort reality and focus on a worst case scenario. Or, in contrast, we may retreat into fantasies–-magical thinking–-and make terrible errors of judgment.

What’s the answer? Is there an answer? Yes, and it’s always the same.

YES THERE IS AN ANSWER – 4 STEPS TO CHANGE First, we need to embrace our struggle with our uncertainty. We must accept the fact that the fear of the uncertain and the unknown is holding us back.

Second, we need to label and let go of the fearful, anxious emotions that keep us uncertain. We may or may not be aware of the thoughts and pictures in our mind that create those emotions. But we can learn to recognize them and let go of them safely and appropriately–without hurting ourselves or others. We can let go of their energy and power.

Third, once we let go of some of our stress and negative emotions, we can face the “all negative” thoughts and pictures in our mind that keep our thinking lopsided. Such thoughts as a, “I can’t leave my husband because I’ll be all alone for the rest of my life” type of thought. Or “I can’t quit this job I hate because it puts food on the table.” I'll never feel safe.

Steps two and three are critical. Unprocessed negative emotions and thoughts can draw to us the very thing we fear. When we let go of of our negative emotions, we can see possibilites and options we couldn't see before. We can have hope.

Fourth, when we can face our negative thoughts and still find the courage to explore positive options and possibilities, we create choice, for example, “OK, I lost my job, but I’m capable and hard-working. I’ll find another job.” When we admit a situation’s negative side but can also see the positive side and act on that, we are on the move!

HERE IS THE SECRET Stress and our emotions lock in our painful, often distorted thinking. If we fail to deal with stress and our emotions, they don’t disappear. They simply go underground and continue to influence us. Our body and emotions tell us the truth. We cannot always trust our mind. So, we need to pay attention to the signals of our body and emotions and manage them well. Then we can better challenge our limiting thoughts and mental pictures.

Dr. Beth Blevins Cujé’s self-help book, Become the Person You Were Meant to Be, will help you understand yourself and equip you with tools and 4 key steps for managing uncertainty successfully. Check out her website and download her book’s first chapter for FREE. Just click here and get an idea of what the Choice-Cube Method can do for you. You can retrain yourself, change and grow, and engage life more fully. Copyright Dr. Beth Blevins Cujé 2011