The way I see it, not being ready for a difficult change is not necessarily evidence of a neurosis. And it's not just a way to give yourself an excuse to continue counterproductive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. True, it's partly about fear of the unknown (even if you think an unknown future would be better than a known present), but it's mainly just the way a lot of us approach self-improvement: It's actually part of the change process!
Talking about change is something we do in group every Wednesday. Actually, all of the talking we do, and all of the listening, is about nothing but change. Changes we have made ourselves, changes we'd like to make, changes we think we can't make happen. It's all about change. One thing we haven't talked about recently is what stops us from changing more or faster. Could it be as simple as whether we're ready or not?
Wherever you are on the change spectrum, whether you embrace change and are used to the discomfort associated with new, possibly better ways to be, it's interesting to examine the way that most of us eventually get to important shifts. Can you spot where on this diagram you can place yourself in your personal growth as it relates to symptoms or relationships or activities that you're working on? If you can see where you are, you can see where you've been and where you're going. It's like an internal road map.
But the mapping of our lives can be very circular. Once we've done something big or hard or great or significant, there's always another achievement out there. The stronger we get, the more we can lift. Baby steps might seem impossible to a one-month-old baby, but not to an 18-month-old. Controlling anxiety 5% better than you did last month might seem like a huge baby step if you haven't done it—if you haven't learned or put into practice some ways to make that happen.
In group last night, for example, we talked about ways to lower anxiety. Among those tips, tricks, and techniques were mindfulness meditation, guided meditation (using Youtube clips), focused breathing, body scanning, journaling, writing down a worry list so we can sleep, thought examination, and gratitude. Committing to trying one or more of these ideas can easily make a 5% improvement very doable. And trying these new ways to approach unwanted moods and feelings seems like a sensible alternative to our traditional, old, or stuck ways of doing business. If you're ready to leave anxiety in the category of rare feelings, you're moving forward on your change map.
But don't dismay. Now you know it's all part of a process. And the progress we chose to make in our process can be as fast as we like. I would tell you that there's no time to lose, but I would be wrong. We have all the time in the world. Whether we lose the time at hand, seize it, or forget to notice it, it's there. Or rather, it's here. In this moment.