Photo Credit: Gumbert (Gumby Colbert) by Jamie Clay
I recently went through a season of my life that involved a lot of growth, change, and stretching. I felt like I was being stretched like I was Gumby. My issue with this was that I am not Gumby! As a human being, I experience much pain when I am stretched. However, I have found that often change and growth require undergoing some type of pain.
As I was going through this stage, it reminded me of how one of the professors in my masters program discussed that the pain of someone’s current situation has to out weigh the pain of having to make a change. The truth is as much as we may not like our current situation, our current behavioral choices, our current ways of thinking, there is also a certain amount of pain associated with making a change, even a positive one. The thing is as humans we like certainty, even when it is certainty of a less than ideal emotion or way of being. Making a change is scary and emotionally painful because we tend to fear what we do not know.
In my life, I can provide an example of this idea. For about 6 months, I juggled 2 jobs, and felt discouraged and depressed. I was nervous to go down to one job partially because of practical reasons such as finances. However, some of my fear was a fear of change. Some of my resistance to change was I was so focused on work and getting where I wanted to in my career and not wanting contentment to equal settling or complacency. A lot of my resistance came from finding too much of my identity in work and being a hard worker. A lot of my resistance to changing my way of thinking was feeling stuck, feeling like I had tried so much in the past, it is not even worth the effort to try to think differently about my circumstances because I would just end up feeling anxious or depressed still. Plus, if it did work, I had to face the painful realization that I could have made a change a long time ago and failed to do so until now.
The truth is positive changes, although scary, are always worth the effort. I am so much more at peace now that I have gone down to one job. I have been more diligent in my own efforts to change my way of thinking and that has also helped.
Although you may feel you have failed due to not changing sooner, celebrate the here and now. Celebrate progress. And know that change is not easy but that it is through painful changes that beautiful growth is made.