7 Things You Need To Know If You’re Experiencing Metanoia: A Change Of Mind, Heart, Self Or Way Of Life


Whether it’s a simple shift of committing to treating people with more kindness, the brutal (and liberating) realization that you’re responsible for your own happiness, trying to better make sense of the world is a heavy duty task, and we’re called to do it numerous times in a life. There’s a beautiful word for this, it’s called “metanoia,” and it originates from the Greek word for “changing one’s mind or purpose.” It really doesn’t matter what you’re changing from, or to, only that any kind of massive psychological or emotional shift tends to heed similar circumstances, and common struggles. Here are a few things you need to know if you’re going through one of your own:

1. If it’s a relationship that prompted a revolution in your worldview, know that that relationship has likely served its purpose. A lot of people hold on to the catalyst of their personal “awakenings” because they confuse ‘big love’ for being ‘forever love.’ They’re not the same thing.

2. You don’t need to be mad about your limiting, old beliefs: change is in building what’s next, not in dismantling what was. You don’t need to ruminate in disappointment for how long you spent not realizing there was more to life than you assumed. The point is that you figured it out eventually.

3. The base of any personal catastrophe or desire for deeper understanding is usually the same: it’s the realization that you, and only you, are responsible for your life. You cannot depend on anything – anything! – to do the real, grueling work of what it means to find comfort in a world that’s entirely impermanent. No job, no amount of money, no relationship, no accomplishment can supplement that for you. It’s a peace you must come to first, then you can enjoy the rest.

4. “Loving yourself” is an action, not a feeling. When we think of romantic love, we think of the flush of hormones that gives us an ooey gooey emotion. We rarely think of the daily tasks and commitments necessary to make someone else’s well-being as important as our own. The same goes for loving yourself: we think it’s the emotion that comes with holding yourself in a high regard, when most of the time, it’s more like standing up for yourself, having the courage to keep going, having the courage to quit, finding happiness despite the impermanence and unreliability of things, and so on.

5. You don’t need to have every answer, nor will you ever have every answer. It’s never about how certain you are, it’s about how willing you are to try anyway. Nobody knows the mysterious abyss from which we come and eventually go back to, and yet so many people’s lives – and our society/culture in general – are crafted and dictated from teachings about this unknown. Everything is speculation for now – but some speculations lead to a happier, kinder, more peaceful world (and some don’t). The point isn’t who knows what for sure, but point is who is willing to do what it takes to make the best version of the reality we have now.

6. You don’t need to believe in anything, but you do need to be able to listen to what feels true in the moment, and hold enough objectivity to speak and act with respect and kindness toward yourself and those around you. And if you’re instructed or pressured to believe in anything that doesn’t resonate with you at basically every cell of your being, know that it is your internal guidance system saying: “not quite.”

7. Your struggles will be what make you what you are. Discomfort is the pressure usually required to make us act in a way that we wouldn’t otherwise. This, on the surface, feels scary, because it is unknown. But the most difficult moments of your life will be the catalysts of your becoming. The challenges will grow you into someone you never imagined you could be. The ‘bad’ things in your life will be the necessary leeways into things better than you can imagine. You will be grateful things didn’t turn out the way you wanted. You will be grateful for what you struggle with once you get to the other side.

Want more articles like this? Check out Brianna Wiest’s book The Truth About Everything here.