How to Start to Change
“Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better”. – Richard Hooker; 1554 – 1600.
We Might Accept the Status Quo.
I am reminded, in my work with my clients, that even when change is the obvious or necessary next step, even when change is desired, change is a process that can trigger great fear and anxiety. Though change may lead to a better life experience, is it not easier to develop a sense of safety in the familiar? Is not even the most familiar discomfort, better than the risk of change letting us down; failing us? Dare we to imagine that a brighter future is possible when the risk most surely would lead to disaster?
My own dear, late father used to say “If things don’t change, they stay the same”. I love that my dad said that to me, for it has always resonated and reminds me that we each have a part to play in our experience of life.
You Are Capable of Change.
What is needed, in order to achieve change, may require use of the most difficult to muster skills and resources. While, in ‘familiar discomfort’ there may be no self-belief; then what hope is there of being able to tap into those inner skills, that are most needed to step out of it?
I ask my clients to trust me. I ask them to trust me when I state that I can see their full potential. When I tell a client that I know that they are capable of change (and I only say this when I see evidence of this within them), I am asking the client to make a decision; to either stay in familiar discomfort or to tap into their innate resources and make change happen. All the while, I am there to support the client as they take those brave steps.
Take A Risk.
None of us can guarantee a better future, for ourselves or for anyone else. I believe that the Human condition is to strive. Where would we be, had we not taken risks; carefully considered, but risks nonetheless? Yet, we are just as capable of standing still. The ‘familiar discomfort’ may be all too attractive, when faced with risk; even if the successful outcome of change may be fulfilment and happiness.
How Therapy Helps.
I believe that, fundamentally, Counselling and Psychotherapy are about nothing other than to consider change. Whether that be change of thoughts, feelings, emotions, behaviours or circumstances; talking therapies are about moving from some form of discomfort, to comfort. That may be in acceptance, rather than change through upheaval, but that shift to acceptance still represents change.
Consider what resources you might need, in order to effect change? Money, friends, family, security, change of mood, a new belief, an opportunity or something else? Conversely, consider what might be your barriers to change? Is it simply the safety of what is familiar, even though it may offer only discomfort, or something else?
Optimism plays a part. This is where hopefulness lives. Without hope, why would a risk be taken? Underpinning hopefulness, or the lack of, is a set of beliefs. Do your fundamental beliefs provoke hopefulness or do they provoke a lack of hope? A Counsellor or Psychotherapist can help you to review your beliefs and, in doing so, offer the opportunity to replace unhopeful beliefs with more hopeful beliefs. It is possible to develop a new perspective.
(C) Dean G. Parsons. 2016.