Change has been on my mind lately. I’ve mostly been thinking about why others are so good at it while I suck. Yes, I know what you’re going to say, “but you’re a therapist, shouldn’t you know how to deal with it?” It’s true, I have some tricks up my sleeve, but sometimes change can be challenging for me too.
“Be mindful even if your mind is full” —James de la Vega
I caught myself a few weeks ago saying “I’m not good with change” more times than I would like to admit. In a moment of mindfulness, I decided to pause, notice my breath, and pay attention to what I was saying. I noticed my breath was different than when I was relaxed, my chest was tight and my breath was shorter. I noticed that critical self-talk, “I’m not good at this” got loud and instead of judging myself further, I said “this is what it’s like when I’m experiencing change in my life”. Not too big of a deal, right? Be in the present, notice the breath, all without judgement.
Feel the feels
I thought to myself, “ok this is what sadness is like, this is what excitement feels like, this is what fear is like.” Allow yourself the time to notice what feelings come up when you go through this process. Sometimes I’m hopeful about the future and what the change will bring (more opportunities please!) and sometimes I notice that I’m grieving a past that I can’t change.
Where are my people?
Another thing I noticed was that I prefer to go through change in private. I noticed I don’t like others to know when I’m not doing well or that it isn’t great all the time. I don’t like for others to know that it feels like I don’t know what I’m doing or that I’m scared. It happens. I try to share when I can, when it feels safe, or when I’m feeling the energy to have that conversation. I like what Brene Brown says about knowing who to be vulnerable with, those people you talk with have to earn the right to hear the story (Listening to Shame- Brene Brown). Who are those people in your life? Or, who could those people potentially be?
Trust the process
Ahh, listening to that quiet inner wisdom. Sometimes I ignore it and try to push through, thinking I know better than that voice in my head that says “maybe I could slow down and…” and instead, I do what gets me the fastest results, makes me feel powerful/in control (in the moment), or right. Then when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I wonder what the heck happened. I think to myself, ok this is why I could have done things differently. Listen to that voice and try to put into action what comes up for you. You may find that you are making some choices that help you manage things differently.
So, when you can, be mindful of the process of change. Come back to the present- the here and now, notice the breath, try to notice without judgement, and see what happens. Remember that you have tools and resources to take care of yourself, but most importantly, remember to be kind to yourself while you are going through change!