Ciara Mulkerrins on change (it’s an inside job!)

Ciara Mulkerrins’ poem ‘Of Love‘ features in the 2018 Earth Pathways Calendar. She writes for us here about responsibility, change and self-discovery…

Ready? Here it is: to change your outside, change your inside.

The fastest way to make changes in your life is to get inside your own mind and change your thinking. Have a poke around to discover what needs spring cleaning. If you keep thinking in the same way, you’ll stay where you are.

First off, get okay with change. Be happy to think differently about how much control you have over the things you experience. Believe in the possibility that you are able to choose. Decide that you are the centre of your own universe and you determine what goes on in your life.

Once you’re happy to embrace the idea that you’re in charge and responsible for your results, you’ll find that the various self-development techniques out there are infinitely more powerful.

Try some things, take a voyage of self-discovery. Whether you’re the journaling type or you’re up for a spot of meditative cave-dwelling, take some time to find your Achilles’ heel. What’s bringing the most stress into your life? What regularly knocks you off balance? Who keeps pulling that rug out from under you? Which of your issues are causing you issues?

Once you’ve identified the big stressors you can focus on getting on with changing things. Change your routine, change your attitude, change your relationships, change your job, even change your life completely!

Whatever element is causing the problem, change it. For many, this is the toughest part. Sometimes it’s easy to see where the stress is coming from but hard to deal with the fear of changing it.

This means looking past the secondary gains you get from being stressed and focusing on the greater reward of a healthy life. Despite noticing a greener pasture the other side of the fence, many people will remain in their own parched, yellowing yard because mediocracy that’s familiar feels safe: a classic ‘fear plus secondary gain’ equation. Playing the stressed-out martyr can be rewarding. You might get increased attention due to being constantly sick thanks to stress. These short-term gains help you stay stuck in the same behavioural patterns. Your mind and body are naturally renewing, let them get on with it by making the right choices.

Let’s talk about something that affects a lot of people: stress caused by work. Some people love their jobs and feel little stress when working at them. This is usually because they are doing something they love. Most people don’t feel that way. The majority work to live. If your job is the main cause of the stress you feel, it can be a scary thing to admit.

How will you pay your bills if you quit? How can you be sure you will find something better? Even in a job you hate you know you’ve got money coming in. We’re back to the fear plus secondary gain equation.

Because people often stay in roles they aren’t necessarily happy in, a long list of upsetting, negative experiences arise that cause people to struggle in the workplace and have a damaging effect on the entire working environment. Some companies care and put measures in place to reduce employee stress and improve the happiness of their workforce. Unfortunately, many companies don’t.

Either way, the responsibility lies with the individual to shape their situation to look how they’d like it. Why? Because you’re in charge of you and what your life looks like! That includes where you work, who you work for and how you feel about it.

Sure, your boss could be nicer to you, the company could give you more holiday and life could stop throwing those sour lemons at you. But instead of complaining, why not grab those lemon pips and plant some trees or find a new place to grow.

If you want to feel different, you need to forget the secondary gains and the fear. Either turn the negatives into positives, or just move on. At the end of the day, the question is this – are you happy with your lot or do you want change?

If less stress is what you’re after, do what it takes. You get to choose how you feel. It’s not your mother’s, brother’s, boss’, dentist’s or your cat’s responsibility to make you happy. You’ve chosen the job you’re in, the people you’re around and the way your life looks. This, believe it or not, is great news.

It’s brilliant because if you accept responsibility for your results, it means you can change them. Things don’t get much more empowering than that. Change your mind, then change your behaviour and your results will change too.

It can take a bit of practice, but once you’ve shaken off the bitter limiting belief that you are a victim of circumstance, you can choose to stop accepting so much stress into your life. Whatever you’ve experienced in the past, there is a nicer route down from the cliff edge of stress and it starts within you.

About the author:
A certified NLP and hypnosis practitioner with a degree in Creative Writing and a background in personal coaching, Ciara is passionate about creativity and its place in therapy. Through both study and experience, she has developed her understanding of transformational techniques as well as a love for putting words to work in various ways. To find out more, visit
Ciara’s poetry is featured on the August page of the 2018 Earth Pathways Diary.


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