Dealing with Forced Change

by | Jun 16, 2020 | Inner Work | 2 comments

If you’re like me, you love the idea of change, and find it to be a huge motivating factor for any of the inner work you do.

Changing our mindset, our beliefs, our relationship to ourselves and others, this is where the magic supposedly lies. The point of these changes is to inspire even more change! To facilitate a noticeable difference, not only in our life circumstances, but how we experience them.

This is a primary inspiration for all forms of introspection and personal development. The very premise that such a change is possible was much of what drew me to this path to begin with.

Change is the very backbone of our goals. We literally use the term “stuck,” or a lack of change, to describe one of the most frustrating feelings. This particular frustration is what usually leads someone to begin engaging more deeply with their inner work, to show up to a live call, work one-on-one, explore different techniques and more.

We love, and strive for change.

Except when it is forced upon us.

More accurately, we love the idea of change when it is on OUR terms. Especially when it is unfolding the way WE want it to.

Forced change can be one of the more confronting and intense aspects of life, and where we may really need to call on any levels of support, inner and outer, that we can.

It’s safe to say you are experiencing undesired changes right now, from COVID alone.

At the very least, you’ve been unable to go out and do some of your favorite activities. At the worst end of that spectrum, your business, perhaps even the premise of your business, has been completely uprooted. As someone who makes his living playing music, I can certainly relate to you on some level.

You may have had your health compromised, or even lost loved ones. Even without contracting something, certain underlying conditions may make this a particularly stressful situation.

Forced changes can be a roller coaster ride.

A friend and musician colleague of mine was in critical condition and on a ventilator for a month. He is, amazingly, recovered and out of rehab, but he has been spreading the word that the virus is no joke to catch, and wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. On top of that, there are no gigs right now for him to return to!

Breaking my knee inside the doctor’s office of all places was certainly an unexpected, forced change in my life. I was healing nicely from surgery and regaining movement with intense, consistent physical therapy only to find out things have taken a turn for the worse, and will find out in a few weeks whether or not a second operation is required. Not exactly the inspiring news of change I was hoping for.

Without even addressing the broader levels of social change, and the intensity of action and organization required, just keeping it on the personal level – forced change is a big subject.

Some ways to work with forced changes

As I like to do, I am putting down a few more specific internal reactions to forced change to help myself work with them in a manageable, productive way. “Resistance to Change” is a too broad for me to find really effective.

As with any subject, first take a couple of deep breaths, tune into the physical sensations in your body, then to how you are feeling emotionally. Get yourself into the zone where you are feeling what comes up, rather than purely thinking about it.

As you read these, you can observe the responses that take place physically and emotionally. Be present with them, you can incorporate EFT tapping or whatever other methods you like to further process what comes up.

Do you feel what has happened is unfair, undeserved?

Really let the parts of you that feel that way have their say. They may need to scream and punch the bed.
Do not diminish them or deny any reactions you may have, or try to override them with thoughts like “well it is happening for a good reason.” You may very much believe that, and it may be true, but make sure you are not using that to suppress any reactions under the surface.

Allow anything there to be released, so that if there is a deeper meaning behind it, you can truly see it for yourself.

Resistance or denial of what it shows you – that you can’t control everything
See if anything in you is really tense, and fighting against the possibility that this means there are things in life that happen that are completely outside of your control.

For the experienced inner work folks, pay close attention to if you latch onto things like “well, if I was at a better place internally, this wouldn’t have happened to me” that is coming from a place of hoping to control reality. This also leads nicely into:

Blaming Yourself
Should you have seen this coming and adjusted?
Does this happening mean you did something wrong with your inner work, you should have had better beliefs, you should have cleared more?

Is there anything positive I can glean from this?
Are there any useful insights? Were you holding onto something prior to this that this may be forcing you to question, to let go of?

How do I want to handle this? What kind of person do I want to be as I go through this?
These questions can light a spark, and cause you to go through these situations in such a way that you come out of it stronger and wiser – as well as handle things better in the moment, not just as a means to an end.

Of course, there are a lot of other avenues you can explore.

I will be exploring this topic on the free support call this week, where we can dive into it more.

You can join this free call by clicking here

Or if it is after the fact, you can watch the replay here.

Please let me know in the comments if you have any insights to share, anything or any resources you have found helpful in dealing with forced change, or anything else you’d like to share. Here’s to all of us coming out wiser, stronger and more connected than before!



  1. Johanna

    Thank you for writing this article. I had an experience today of a change that I liked, because it was on my own terms. I decided to refrain from a habitual behavior, without any internal resistance, and could see how this was the most desirable choice. However, this change has come out of years of bad experiences resulting from this behavior, followed by a lot of inner work (much thanks to you). But as you’ve talked about in the article, I can make it a habit to put myself into space where the challenges that inevitably come up can be met at face value. There is an honest courage in that idea that I like.

    • Evan

      I am super happy if I had any small part in adjusting a habitual behavior for the better! The overwhelming majority of the credit definitely goes to you. It is very challenging to execute that, even when we get an awareness of it, even when know some how-to, it is noteworthy when a change in habit behavior takes place. I am lukewarm, to say the least, at the idea that you can “just be aware” of non-useful habits or behaviors. Many of us are very aware of some of these in our lives, and have been for years, without taking it to a level of actually adjusting the behavior. Congrats.


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