230: Do you need change or acceptance?

230: Do you need change or acceptance?

Welcome to this episode of our short daily podcast - A Slice of Therapy.

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With Alun Parry https://liverpoolpsychotherapy.co.uk

Automatically Generated Transcript

00:01
you’re listening to a slice of therapy
00:03
with me alun parry
00:06
[Music]
00:11
when arnold schwarzenegger started
00:13
getting interested in being in the movie
00:15
business
00:17
he would get the same advice
00:20
from agent after agent
00:23
and you can probably guess what the
00:25
advice was
00:27
they said you arnold
00:30
you need to change your accent
00:35
and he did this all the time you need to
00:38
change your accent
00:40
and arnold schwarzenegger thought i
00:43
don’t need to change my
00:44
accent my accent is a big part of who i
00:48
am and so he kept his accent
00:55
and i wonder the terminator films would
00:59
be like
01:00
if arnold schwarzenegger didn’t actually
01:03
have
01:05
arnold schwarzenegger’s real accent
01:10
i wonder what that would have been like
01:12
with just a standard
01:14
ordinary typical accent
01:20
rather than his you see arnold
01:23
schwarzenegger took the opinion
01:26
that this wasn’t something that he
01:27
needed to change it was something
01:31
that he needed to embrace to accept
01:36
that it was actually an aspect of who he
01:39
was
01:41
and it’s an interesting point because
01:45
the issue of change comes up quite a lot
01:47
in my work in terms of therapy
01:50
but then so too does the concept of
01:54
acceptance and it’s interesting to
02:00
kind of come up with
02:03
whether change or acceptance is the most
02:07
appropriate for you in any moment
02:10
you know sometimes like arnold
02:12
schwarzenegger the thing that
02:15
everyone was telling him to change
02:18
was actually a key part of his
02:20
uniqueness
02:22
something that made schwarzenegger
02:24
schwarzenegger
02:27
and it reminds me you know of those
02:30
awful gay conversion therapies
02:35
that went on and still go on in some
02:37
places
02:40
so when do we need to change and when do
02:42
we need to
02:43
find acceptance is what i want to talk
02:46
about
02:47
on this particular podcast today
02:50
because it’s actually quite a difficult
02:52
question to figure out
02:55
sometimes change is beneficial but then
02:58
sometimes
02:59
acceptance is a better course of action
03:03
and so what i’ll look at today
03:05
is a couple of frames of reference where
03:07
you can
03:08
use in order to ask this question of
03:11
yourself
03:14
for instance if the world was totally
03:17
accepting
03:18
of you would you still
03:21
want to change are you changing for you
03:27
or are you changing in an attempt to win
03:30
the approval of others
03:33
now that’s an important question to ask
03:36
yourselves
03:37
and and to see what that throws up
03:41
in the area of life that you’re wanting
03:43
to change in the area of you that you’re
03:45
wanting
03:46
to improve on is that because you want
03:50
to change
03:51
or because you believe that it might win
03:53
the approval
03:54
of other people
03:58
you see change can be important and of
04:00
course a lot of my work is
04:02
helping people to create change
04:06
and successfully create change so that
04:08
life can change
04:10
and life can improve and yet like
04:14
most things change is not an inherent
04:16
good
04:20
and change itself the actual process of
04:23
change
04:24
it can have a real striving quality
04:29
it can make life better
04:32
but it can also make life worse it can
04:36
feel like this
04:37
burden to carry and i suppose it’s like
04:40
a knife isn’t it that a knife can cause
04:42
great harm and yet in the hands of a
04:45
skilled surgeon
04:47
can also bring great healing
04:50
like fire can restore warmth
04:53
to a very cold person or it can destroy
04:59
and i think change has that similar dual
05:01
quality
05:04
so when you reach out for change
05:08
you know maybe change is the thing that
05:10
needs to happen
05:11
for you
05:15
but it’s worth asking isn’t it what
05:17
would happen if you accepted yourself
05:20
instead what if you asked the question
05:23
do i really need to change what if i
05:26
just
05:27
accepted myself as i am and of course
05:30
there’s no
05:31
right answer to this because
05:34
change and acceptance neither of them
05:37
are an inherent good
05:38
it will depend upon where you are and
05:41
what your situation is
05:43
and what the thing is that you’re
05:45
thinking of changing but it is an
05:46
important question
05:49
to ponder and to put that to yourself
05:53
what if i just accepted myself as i am
05:55
do i really
05:56
need to change this thing about myself
06:00
so how can we get a sense of that how
06:02
can we get a sense of whether to go with
06:04
change or acceptance
06:06
well here’s a little kind of thought
06:09
experiment imagine
06:11
a genie suddenly appeared
06:14
and cast a spell on you that says that
06:17
you’re fixed
06:19
as you are the change was simply
06:22
not possible that this is you
06:25
now this is your life circumstances
06:29
this is how you think this is how you
06:32
act this is how you interact
06:35
the genie is cast a spell that says that
06:38
change is not possible
06:40
and as you look at each aspect of you
06:44
and each aspect of your life
06:48
to what extent does that idea actually
06:53
relax you
06:55
to what extent do you think oh thank
06:58
goodness
06:59
and you actually feel some ease
07:03
around the fact
07:06
that change is no longer possible to
07:09
what extent do you
07:11
breathe a sigh of relief that this is
07:14
not something you have to strive
07:16
around anymore because it’s locked in
07:17
place
07:22
and to what extent do you feel alarmed
07:26
by the genie spell because
07:30
you’re really eager for change in that
07:32
area and you think
07:33
i don’t want to be locked in place like
07:35
this
07:38
so that thought experiment is an
07:40
interesting one because where you find
07:42
yourself saying
07:43
oh thank goodness i don’t have to do
07:45
that change anymore i can just relax
07:48
and it gives you a sense of ease
07:51
maybe in those places is where
07:53
acceptance
07:56
might be needed and where you feel
07:58
alarmed and you think
07:59
no no this definitely has to change this
08:01
is not good news at all
08:03
maybe those are the areas where change
08:07
is the most beneficial but of course
08:10
sometimes it’s not you
08:12
that needs to change you know until i
08:14
was 35 years of age
08:17
i didn’t last in any job beyond two
08:20
years
08:21
i would quit my jobs within two years
08:24
without exception and so maybe
08:28
i needed to change maybe i
08:31
needed to increase my level of tolerance
08:34
for things that i didn’t like
08:37
but maybe not you know maybe i needed to
08:41
accept the fact that i simply hadn’t
08:44
found the work
08:46
that suited me and of course from my
08:49
vantage point now where i have found the
08:51
work that suits me and i
08:52
love then i can see that
08:56
accepting myself was clearly a much
08:58
better
08:59
course of action not just for me but for
09:02
the people i work with as well
09:04
than just changing my level of tolerance
09:08
for the things that didn’t really fit so
09:10
sometimes it’s not you that needs to
09:12
change
09:13
it’s your environment it’s the kind of
09:16
people that you hang out with
09:19
and changing those sorts of things is
09:22
the change that’s needed rather than the
09:24
change in you
09:25
to try and fit into where you are it
09:27
reminds me of uh
09:29
gardening really if you have a plant and
09:32
that plant isn’t thriving
09:35
we don’t try and get the plant to change
09:37
do we we
09:38
accept the plant and we seek to give the
09:41
plant what it needs we change the soil
09:44
we move it’s location so it’s getting
09:45
more sun we water it more
09:48
we give it what it needs while accepting
09:50
it how it is
09:53
and so what would that look like for you
09:57
what are the external things
10:00
that you might change for you
10:03
where you can act you can accept who you
10:05
are and how you are
10:07
but it might be for instance the i don’t
10:10
know
10:11
the kind of people you hang out with
10:12
aren’t really your people and you need
10:14
to find your own tribe
10:16
or maybe the work you’re doing isn’t
10:17
really the work that’s suited to you so
10:19
you need to find
10:20
something that is or whatever it happens
10:24
to be
10:25
but again it’s an interesting one to
10:28
look at because
10:29
maybe there is change needed but still
10:32
it might not be change
10:34
that is to do with you but more change
10:37
to ensure that you’re in an environment
10:38
that helps you thrive
10:44
one other way to think about changes
10:47
what if you got into a change machine
10:49
what if you got into a machine that
10:51
changed things
10:52
about you and it would change
10:56
everything about you apart from the
10:58
things that you asked it not to change
11:02
now this is quite a radical idea isn’t
11:04
it you would walk in and anything that
11:05
you’d not specifically ask the machine
11:08
to keep as it is it would change
11:12
what would you keep about you what are
11:15
the things where you would say to the
11:17
machine listen
11:17
don’t touch that i like that about me
11:21
i don’t want to risk changing that about
11:23
me
11:25
what are the qualities about you that
11:26
you’d want to maintain
11:28
because you like them because you like
11:31
you
11:33
and again that can be another route if
11:35
you actually take some time get a
11:37
pen out and start scribbling on a pad if
11:40
you stepped into this change machine and
11:42
it would
11:43
change everything
11:46
other than the things you told it not to
11:48
what would those things be
11:51
that you told it not to and what is it
11:54
you like about them that you want to
11:56
keep them
11:57
and again that gives you another little
11:59
clue as to where
12:02
acceptance might play a greater role and
12:05
change
12:08
and finally of course is the question
12:09
that even if you do go
12:11
down the route of change how much change
12:13
is enough
12:14
that you have to keep changing forever
12:17
because
12:18
when we’re striving for change that has
12:22
such an
12:22
energy doesn’t it so effortful
12:26
it’s hard work sometimes when we’re
12:28
striving for change
12:32
so when does that strive and for change
12:34
start to get
12:35
in the way of life more than the thing
12:38
that you’re trying to change itself
12:41
because that can be a good clue as well
12:44
as to when
12:46
there’s been enough change and it’s
12:49
actually going to be the strive and for
12:51
change
12:52
that’s going to be more problematic than
12:54
the thing
12:55
you’re trying to change itself
12:58
and so change can be really valuable
13:01
but then so too can acceptance
13:05
and the purpose of this episode is just
13:08
to ask you the question
13:10
which is it that you actually need
13:14
right now and so let’s have a quick
13:18
recap we looked at arnold
13:19
schwarzenegger’s
13:20
accent that everyone said that he should
13:23
change but he accepted it he embraced it
13:26
he regarded it as uni as his uniqueness
13:29
and those terminator films would be
13:33
nowhere near as good with would they
13:34
without
13:35
the accent that he has
13:39
and we looked at a number of things
13:40
about change like
13:42
if the world was accepting of you would
13:43
you still change
13:45
are you changing for you all to get
13:46
approval from others
13:48
and we saw how change can be important
13:51
but just like
13:52
a knife or fire is not an inherent good
13:56
it can be a good thing or it can be a
13:58
bad thing
14:01
and we had that thought experiment about
14:03
the genie
14:05
what if it fixed you in place and change
14:06
was not possible
14:08
what are the things where you feel
14:12
ease and thank goodness
14:15
that change is impossible and where is
14:17
their alarm because that gives you a
14:19
clue as to where acceptance
14:20
and change best fit and of course we
14:23
looked at
14:24
me quitting all my jobs until i found
14:27
the kind of work that was right for me
14:29
and how with a plant we try and give it
14:32
what it needs to thrive and so sometimes
14:35
the change isn’t us but the environment
14:38
we put ourselves in
14:40
we looked at the change machine about
14:43
what are the things you would keep about
14:44
you
14:46
and finally asked how much change is
14:49
enough
14:51
when does the change itself get in the
14:53
way of life
14:54
a lot more than the thing that we’re
14:56
trying to change does
15:00
so thanks for listening i hope this has
15:02
been useful
15:04
if it has then please share the episode
15:06
so somebody else can benefit too
15:09
and you could work with me directly
15:11
one-to-one i’m
15:12
alun parry and you can find out more at
15:17
liverpoolpsychotherapy.co.uk
15:18
and of course i work online so you don’t
15:21
have to be local
15:22
you could be listening in from anywhere
15:24
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15:26
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15:28
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15:30
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15:34
so thanks for listening and i’ll be back
15:37
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