The Readiness Is All: How to Know When You’re Ready for Change

By Kelly Brogan
Kelly Brogan
Kelly Brogan
June 27, 2021 Updated: June 27, 2021

Consider something courageous that you’ve done in your life: a difficult conversation initiated with a sibling, ending an all-too-cozy-but-hyper-toxic relationship, quitting your job, selling your first piece of art, breaking a habit (phone, smoking, soda, candy, alcohol), coming clean on a long-held secret. Now ask yourself, how did you know it was the moment to act?

Over the years that I have had the privilege of witnessing health transformation and spiritual awakening, I have spent much of the time marveling at this elusive ingredient: readiness. In fact, the energy of these reclamation processes has felt more like a volcano that needed permission to explode than an underdog fighter being pushed into the ring. Those who experience radical healing do so because they’re ready.

Despite my capacity to inspire, coerce, or even manipulate (shadow material I’m working on!) others to walk the path of personal empowerment, I have found that readiness is not something I can generate in another. In fact, a psychiatric medication taper attempted without that readiness is likely to end in a return to medication.

The readiness continuum is not a linear path, but a spiral one. We touch opportunities for expansion and growth, and if we’re ready, we engage the shift, and if not, we may contract until the opportunity presents itself again. We are each traveling this highly personal path, exploring what we’re strong enough to look at, turning the blind eye of denial at what we aren’t.

I’ve come to prefer this perspective to the emerging dualism of those who are awakened, conscious, or spiritual versus those who are asleep, ignorant, and materialist. We all have all of it within us. Perhaps what distinguishes us is our intentionality, our choices, and our access to love of self. From this vantage point, we are all simply ripening over time, in our own way, at our own pace. In fact, I’ve read that evil has origins in the word unripe. Could it be that what we are calling bad is simply incompletely nurtured?

For links to the source studies that this article draws on, please visit our website for the online version or visit

Kelly Brogan, M.D., is a holistic women’s health psychiatrist and author of the New York Times bestselling book “A Mind of Your Own,” the children’s book “A Time for Rain,” and co-editor of the landmark textbook “Integrative Therapies for Depression.” This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Kelly Brogan, M.D. For more articles, sign up for the newsletter at

Kelly Brogan
Kelly Brogan