People often seek counseling because they are no longer able to tolerate some element or elements in their lives. Many times, things have reached a point of crisis, a place of unbearable discomfort, of anxiety, of depression, or relational stress. You might come into my office at that first appointment wanting a “fix.” You might leave feeling frustrated by my encouragement of patience. This is a natural dance for many therapists as we engage our clients, collaborate on solutions, and offer our support and guidance.
See the thing about change is that it really can be an entirely uncomfortable thing. So once the “crisis” subsides, the unbearable state of your life neutralizes, and emotions return to a more manageable state, all of a sudden those factors that drove you to my office no longer seem so urgent. Now is when the real work actually begins. We start examining how you ended up in that unbearable place. And the thing is, my friend, you will need to make some changes. And these changes, you see, well they just might be harder than you anticipated.
The balancing act begins. You will weigh the discomfort of change against the comfort of staying the same. The comfort of staying the same?? Yup. Because even though things became unbearable a little while ago, it was still in YOUR comfort zone. The stress was YOUR stress, the relationship is YOUR relationship, and so forth and so on. Basically the negative feelings are ones that you are used to feeling, they were just in a heightened state. Changing the way you think, the way you feel, the way you behave, the way you connect to yourself and to others is not comfortable. It is OUTSIDE of your comfort zone. I will not tell you if you should make these changes, only that growth usually occurs when we are at the edges of our comfort zone. To travel to that place has risks. There are surprises, revelations, and sometimes there is pain. Sometimes there is relief. And sometimes, it is really worth it.