You know you want to change something in your life. You need to change something in your life. And maybe you’ve tried: to lose weight, stop something, get out of debt, find a better job or end a toxic relationship.
But change is hard. So hard, in fact, that most people will choose to live with a bad habit or a bad situation rather than attempt to change for the better and find greater happiness.
We’ve all been there. We’ve all had feelings of hopelessness and of being overwhelmed. Truth is, change is hard and scary and intimidating. For most, the preference is to live with a known demon rather than to venture into the unknown. When the fear is greater than our desire, we stop the change process and remain bogged down in our current state.
So what forces change on us? Usually when we reach the point where we can no longer tolerate our situation and cannot imagine living any longer like that. At that breaking point, almost out of desperation, we seek change.
Once we decide to change, most often we expect it to be immediate. It’s like the old prayer, “God grant me patience and grant it to me NOW!” But change is not immediate. Lasting change takes time because it is a repeatable activity that must be incorporated into daily life. In the past the belief was that changing a habit took 20 days; now we know that it actually takes more like 60 days.
Sometimes people can change on their own; others do better with help. As a relationship coach and psychotherapist, I have seen many individuals reluctant at first to consider seeking assistance through therapy; others have little or no hesitation. In either case, most find real and positive results when they are committed to doing so. Let me share the experience of just two of my clients.
“I came to see Laura with little hesitation. I was looking forward to working on my issues. My overall well-being and my marriage have improved dramatically after seeing Laura. I feel better and my anxiety has decreased. My life is not consumed with my husband and my marriage, which gives me time to enjoy other things. Laura … wasn’t trying to push a diagnosis. She listens and remembers things I tell her. Working with Laura makes me happy and emotional all at the same time. I feel supported by her and able to deal with difficult issues. She challenges me when I need it. The biggest benefit of working with Laura has been the improvement to my marriage. Although my husband does not attend the sessions, we have been able to work on it with Laura’s ‘Solo System.’ Before seeing her, my marriage was hanging by a thread. Now we love and respect each other. We have more of a partnership rather than seeing each other as enemies.”
“I felt uncomfortable coming to therapy because of the social stigma. I wondered what people would think of me. It was different than I thought. Since coming to therapy, my life is totally different. I had no satisfaction or contentment before coming to therapy. Now, I feel more in control of my life. I now know that I can be in charge of things and that I have a choice. My life is more fulfilling; there is less drama. Before, my life was traumatic and dramatic. What I liked about therapy was the support I received from Laura. I never felt like anyone close to me gave me the straight story. I felt like Laura gave me the truth about my life. I saw my life with a more accurate lens for the first time. I felt like I had a relationship with Laura and that I could trust her. She helped me to feel comfortable. I loved coming and the consistency of the schedule really helped me. Therapy was stable and I could count on it. Therapy helped me to get where I wanted in my career. I felt more confident and at peace with my decisions. My relationship with my family has improved since therapy. It is now good, supportive, and much healthier. Relationship with my significant other has also improved. I can have emotional intimacy and an adult relationship.”
These two stories are just samples of many of individuals who reached a point in their lives where change was the only option left. It took great courage on each of their parts to seek help to achieve the needed change but, as you can see from their stories, the rewards were well worth the risk.
And so, what about you? Are you facing challenges in your life that cry out for change? It will take courage, time and dedication, but it’s worth it in the end. Maybe it’s time for you to walk away from the discomfort and embrace real happiness.
Laura Roman, LCSW, BCD, is a relationship coach and psychotherapist based in Wexford, PA. To learn more about how you can have a more fulfilling life, visit www.lauraroman.con or call 412-247-1955.