Big change without going anywhere

Europe, relationship coach brisbane

Sometimes things have to change.

You feel so stuck. Like nothing is working. You need to get unstuck, but how?

Sometimes, my friends, it takes a big move!

The other day, I got talking to a lovely lady who was feeling truly stuck in single-dom. She was telling me that, to get unstuck, she had started doing things differently. Things as mundane as brushing her teeth or driving to work, she was changing up. Doing it with her other hand or choosing drastically different routes. She was choosing different as a symbolic reminder of how she was going to change her approach to love.

I loved this idea and it inspired me to tell her about how I had needed to choose radically different, in order to get unstuck from my desperate days in single-dom.

As a young adult, I was ridiculously stuck. In fact, I was desperate………Desperate for love.

I had been basically single my whole life. Yes, there had been the odd short-term thing, but apart from that, there were years and years of teenage disappointment and early adult rejection. Believe me, I was trying…… Trying too hard and in all the wrong ways.

By the time I reached 23, I was done. I knew that I could not go on like this. It was doing my head in. Not only was I lonely but my inner world was becoming really negative. I was starting to believe that I was a complete failure and totally unlovable. I knew that if I didn’t change things up soon, things would get even more calcified and harder to change.

So, do you know what I did?

I got on a plane and left my old life behind. I was not entirely conscious of the fact that I needed to change and shift things within me, but it worked a treat. Nothing about my new life as a backpacker in Europe was the same, forcing me to be, think and feel differently.

I arrived as a backpacker in Europe free. (and in love with cute cars as per the photo above circa 1996)

Free of my old beliefs, free of the cultural restrictions and most importantly free of the negative thoughts about myself. Within 3 months, in fact within 2 days of arriving in Edinburgh, I had met the man who I would choose to spend my life with.

Sometimes, when we are stuck, it takes a big move like this to get unstuck.

While going to the other side of the world worked for me, sometimes (often) it is not possible to pack up and leave your life behind. But it is possible to make big “move to the other side of the world” changes energetically.

What are the ingredients for getting unstuck and making big energetic changes?

  1. Decision
    First and most importantly it is admitting to yourself that you are stuck and that you want to change. This decision then becomes the impetus for all your awareness and choices into a new way of being in the world.
  2. Difference
    It is important to choose to consciously do things differently. As Einstein says the thinking that created the problem will not be the thinking that solves it. So it is time to choose a different action or thought to the one you would normally choose.
  3. Reflection
    Big change takes a lot of reflection and responsibility. Asking ourselves questions such as: How did that go? Was that a better result? If yes, why? If no, why not? What was my part in this? And how can I do this better?

7 or so years ago, my marriage was feeling tense and my libido was gone. I was stuck in negativity. The thoughts and stories swirling around my head were getting louder and more convincing.  I knew I had choices;

–  stay stuck like this for the remainder of my marriage and suck it up

–   leave him and break up our family

–   (the option I liked the best) stay and try to transform my relationship into something that felt good.

 I needed to change things up. But how?

At the time, I had 2 young kids and a mortgage. The option of taking off on a plane to the other side of the world was not available. There was not much room for physical movement. What I could do though was make energetic and conscious shifts and changes.

I dedicated myself to shifting my relationship. Not just a little bit. I needed the equivalent of a move to the other side of the world. I needed to do things differently.

Once I had decided to transform my relationship from the inside out, I tried lots of things.

Here are a few of the most powerful, change ingredients that worked for me:

–          Awareness
Getting aware that I was stuck in a story. Then tuning in to how I was feeling beneath the stories and finding out what triggered it and why.

–          Presence
Catching myself ruminating on stories or negativity and consciously changing track. Either challenging the truth of the story or just distracting myself from it by doing something else.

–          Support
Reading, listening & learning everything I could get my hands on that related to relationships. I also found myself a few trusted, empathetic guides in the form of friends and coaches.

–          Honesty
Finally being honest with myself and my husband. Instead of holding back my shame and my fear, I first admitted them to myself and then shared them with my husband. It was a radically different approach and one that led to a deeper intimacy between us.

I left my old thoughts, patterns, beliefs and life behind and I built new ones, without leaving the four walls or the restrictions of my life that held me here.

Most importantly, I built a new relationship without having to leave the one I was in with the man I loved.

And it worked. It was not immediately the relationship I wanted, but it was immediately better. In fact, the more I dedicated to improving our relationship, the more I realised the infinite options and possibilities. There is so much we can do to change things without drama, without pain, without going anywhere. All we need is a huge dose of courage and an open mind.

What about you? Are you feeling stuck? Is it the kind of stuck that requires an energetic leap to the other side of the world?

What would big relationship change look like for you?

Grab your journal and write down:

3 things that have to go
3 things that need to come in
3 things you would do differently

Then let me know in the comments below.

Take care

Nicole Mathieson,

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Nicole Mathieson

Hi, I'm Nicole Mathieson, a relationship and body image coach, couple therapist and author.

My relationships blog helps couples learn practical ways to cultivate a deeper understanding of one another, find safety and connection in relationships, navigate difficult conversations and repair after conflict.