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It’s OK to feel “young at heart” as long as your emotional tool bag
doesn’t feel too empty or too disorganised at the same time

Growing Self Awareness

"Is it really safe for me to change?"

Making changes that will make a difference to your life

I can imagine that you are interested in making changes or improvements in your life, otherwise you probably would not be reading this page.

It is important is decide when you are ready to make these changes. Before you start to make even one small change in your life,. ask yourself, " Am I really comfortable about the whole process of changing? Is now the right time for me?

Another question is ….


Let me tell you a story.

If you have ever been to Fraser Island off the coast in Queensland you will have some special memories of this remarkable and unspoiled haven. The whole island is now preserved as a national park. Lake McKenzie with its crystal clear water and white sand is one of the island' s most beautiful fresh-water lakes and a favourite swimming spot.

Some years ago I visited the lake with Sheila, a friend from overseas. It was a hot day and I suggested we go for a swim but at that time there were no buildings anywhere near the lake. If you wanted to change you went behind the nearest tree!

Keep in mind that the area around the lake is populated by a number of native dogs or dingoes, of little concern to an Australian like me raised in the bush, but enough to worry someone from another part of the world.

So Sheila asked an obvious question "Is it safe for me to change here?"

I recognised two particular issues of concern which she expressed in her question. First what if someone was watching and secondly what about those wild dingoes?

I also recognised that without my reassurance, there was little chance of Sheila changing into her swimming costume and enjoying the experience of a refreshing swim in the lake.

The story has a happy ending. I was aware that as the person with the local knowledge it was my responsibility to explain why there was no risk and reassure Sheila that it really was safe, which I was able to do so successfully. Sheila changed into her swimming costume (or "togs" as we call them here.) Our swim was most enjoyable and she left Australia with very happy memories of the island and the knowledge that it really was safe for her to change beside the lake.

So, what has all of this to do with the characters to live and work in our inner village, our sub-personalities or in classic voice dialogue terms our "younger  systems"? As it turns out, quite a lot.

Whenever you change you are entering new territory

When people are away from their home territory, like Sheila they are going to be a lot less confident than usual about what they can and cannot do. It's understandable that they will be concerned about the risks of doing anything new or different, particularly if they haven’t done anything like it before.

The first and most important step

As a newcomer to this exciting and wonderful change process the first thing is for someone else with "local experience" (at the moment that's me) to help you to understand a lot more about what happens inside what I call your "inner village". There's lots to tell you about the "new territory" that is your inner village, the characters who live in the village and how you can then use this knowledge to make powerful changes in your life.

This will help to reassure you that it is all right for you to make changes in your own inner village, but only when (like Sheila) you understand enough about what is going to happen.

I, or for that matter any or any other person who uses the change process, the person with the "local experience" has had lots of practice and lots of successes working with inner protector characters. So it is our job to make sure that when we introduce you to this work, whether we call it inner self work, voice dialogue, personal growth or something else, that before you actually start using the technique, we have been able to show you that changing this way is absolutely safe for you. Then and only then is it time to show you how easily you can create change within your own inner village.

What are the dangers?

What will other people say?

One of the primary fears that people have about changing is usually how other people around them will react to those changes. Let's keep in mind a couple of the key aspects of Sheila's concerns about changing. It's understandable that she was worried about how other people might react if they saw her changing and it's equally understandable that she might have some fear about the danger associated with native animals who might take advantage of her vulnerability while she was changing.

Once I was able to assure Sheila that that there was no risk involved she was then much more comfortable about changing. Let's apply this realisation to the way you need to begin before you can be comfortable about working with personal change.

I need to introduce you to this amazing place inside you that we call your "inner village", and some of the powerful "protector characters" that live there. These characters inside you can also help to reassure you that you have little to fear from other people who are watching you change (partners, family, close friends, associates and work).

But I'll be more vulnerable won't I?

When we are changing (whether it is our clothes, our lifestyle or our personality) that is the time when we our at our most vulnerable. Like Sheila you may also be concerned about some of the wilder characters, either in your own inner village or in other people's villages nearby who might attack you while, so to speak, you have your "pants down". Yes, it's understandable that you would be a bit worried that some of them might appear on the scene just when you are in the middle of making a change. So, it is the responsibility of the experienced person who knows more about these wilder characters to teach you first how to protect yourself from them.

So, that's why before I start working with you or any newcomer, introducing the process of personal change and personal growth, I try to avoid starting by showing them just how easy it is to change. That is until I have shown them how to make it safe for them to begin.

Note: I didn't always act with such caution. I was so enthusiastic about the power of voice dialogue that I was inclined to show people first how easy it was to change and to explain why and what was happening afterwards. Now It's the other way round.

What is the best way to start?

Let's begin by introducing you to the idea of the "inner village". That part in itself is quite safe. Then let us meet some of the more familiar and easy to talk to the characters who live and work inside your inner village. Many of them come under the heading of "protector characters". Their primary task in your inner village is to protect you. They have been doing the work for years and have an excellent safety record, otherwise they would not still be there.

Each one of them is concerned about your fears, your worries, your sadness, your emotional pain and their lives centre around protecting you from this.

By the way we have a term which it may help to introduce this stage, we describe all these problems as "underlying" meaning that the better the protection the less we are aware of the vulnerability underneath. And that's a good thing.

Later on will take a closer look at some of these underlying issues in detail and notice how each of them is closely connected to our fear of change. For each person the list will be different but here are some examples:

Fear of what might happen if I do change – for example:

A good place to begin is to ask some of the protector characters in your inner village some questions about this. And this is something we can do when we start talking to them, maybe even for the first time: After all this is what their job is about, and this is one thing that protector inner protector characters (emotionally younger systems) love telling you about it is their job in the village and why and how they help you by doing it.

Talking to the gatekeeper or guardian

For example, one of the first characters you might talk with could be the one described as the "gatekeeper" or "guardian" who, in my experience is the character who often decides whether or not your village will continue with personal growth and change or whether to bring it to a rapid halt.

But, I am getting ahead of myself. We need to begin at the beginning and tell you more about these wonderful characters who live and work inside you, your inner protector characters and find out how they got there, what they do and how they work.

It's just that I had to explain to you first about how important it is that you do not rush into using this new understanding to make changes before you are absolutely confident that you are ready to change and that you know it’s safe for you to make the changes you want to make.

Once you feel this way that is exactly the right time to start on the wonderful process of making worthwhile changes in your life. You’ll get so much more out of it, because you will be doing it with a sense of confidence and the knowledge that it is "safe for you to change here."