Because it might make others jealous or uncomfortable…. It can often feel easier for everyone if we continue being the person everyone expects us to be. That way, we can have the same conversations and our relationships remain largely unchanged.

What happens to stop us flying?

When I am coaching people, I see them change and become different people inside as their habitual way of thinking is altered – they start to see themselves and others differently and they learn new habits and behaviours which help them become even better people. However, during the transition phase, the hardest thing they find is that others don’t change with them.

Why would they? They still see them as the original person they met or thought they knew and they still expect them to behave in the usual way. Other people might also be fearful of the new ‘changed’ person in case they can’t connect with them as well now – so they are keen to bring them back to where they were so that nothing has changed and they feel safe once again with that relationship. Unconsciously we feel this 10 times over and it’s hard to resist resorting back to how things were and starting to doubt ourselves again.

When we are learning to fly, and we hit turbulence because others don’t want us to fly, we have a few options:

1. We choose not to change after all – no-one wants us to and we might lose our friendships and current identity if we become a different person.

2. We decide that if we do want to make changes to how we live our life then our current relationships have to go – “I can no longer connect with these people  because I have changed..” This is a huge decision and a big reason to choose not to fly – its much harder to fly without others around us.

3. We choose to change very subtly so that no one will really notice – and we are different with different people so our changed persona is there with some of our newer friends or with the friends that appreciate our new behaviours and we revert back to our original persona when we are back with others; eg our families In this option, we get confused ourselves – who is the real me? Surely it’s the one when I am with my family?

In my experience, these options are all compelling and they function like a magnet that stops us from really flying. 

So if we want to fly, we need to help others come along for the ride.

In practice, this means sharing our thoughts, ideas and plans as they are shaping. “I really want to stop moaning, it brings me down and I need your help – can you tell me when I slip back!” 

It means sharing why we want to change and where this has all come from and it means reassuring them that we our still ourselves we are just trying to live a better life. 

What else do you think would help people accept us and better still support us? What more could you do to support a friend who is learning to fly?

Learning to fly means being vulnerable – trying things that we don’t know will work, risking our relationships that might not keep up, holding our nerve when the going gets tough and in that moment when we don’t know if it’s worth all the effort. 

Whatever your reason for choosing not to fly make sure it is not about making others more comfortable – they need you to show them the way and when they are ready they will hop on board.