I've been thinking a lot about change lately. We are faced with constant changes throughout our life, on a daily basis. Some people have a difficult time with change. Some people embrace it. I am one of those that embraces change, for the most part. I am bored easily and like to shake things up every now and again! Don't get me wrong, I like some degree of structure and routine-it keeps me grounded, but change, in a general sense, is kind of exciting to me. Unless it's about changing myself. Then it's just plain old hard.
For Shan and I, and our herd, change is the essence of our work. Our work is about supporting people to make changes....changes to how they think and act. I like to ask people two questions when they come to us for help...what needs to change in your life, and what are YOU willing to do to promote the change? Therapy is not magic. It is hard work. The therapist should work hard, but the client needs to work harder. You have to be willing to look at yourself, admit your faults, bad habits, and quit blaming other people for how you act. Every day, you have to keep those things at the forefront at your mind and work hard at changing how you think about things. It is scary, it is humbling, it is frustrating, and it is hard. My last blog talked about doing hard things. To change something, we have to be aware that something needs to be changed, AND we need to believe that we have the power to do it. That is called self-efficacy. If you don't believe that you can do hard things, if the "tape" that runs in your head is about "I can't" and all the reasons why you can't, it's going to be hard to do anything different. You have trained yourself to be powerless. Feeling powerless is NOT a good feeling. Recovery, whether you are talking about mental health or chemical health issues, is not a "one and done" thing. It is a process. It is a journey. It is a transformation. It is a long road and for some, the road is longer than for others. I don't know anyone that is successful in doing it on their own.
I'm a therapist. I do not have the answers to your problems. I only have the answers to mine. I can offer guidance, help you see things in a different way, teach you skills, and a whole bunch of other things, but I do not have the answers to your problems. You do. Tomorrow, add up all the time you spend thinking about other people and how they should or did behave. Add in the time you spent being angry at someone else, being envious of someone else, feeling sorry for yourself. Write down the amount of time you WASTED on those things. The next day, spend that time working on yourself. Write down what you want things to look like 6 months from now. Write down the things about yourself that can help you reach those goals. Write down the barriers you may encounter or what skills you may need to learn. Write down people that can help you. Write down WHY you want to make changes. Be honest with yourself. Call yourself out. Just focus on YOU. YOU have the answers. YOU know what you need to do. Believe in YOU......