Change and mental wellbeing
How can I change?
Today I discuss how we want to change when we face depression and sadness, fear and anxiety, pain and suffering, phobia and stress.
What is change?
For those who find themselves overwhelmed by stress or fear, who are deeply affected by chronic pain or enduring problems, who sit in the black hole of depression, the answer is quite simple. We want to get away from this experience. We want to be in a place where life is enjoyable again.
But the question “How can I change” also occurs to those who do not face the above situations. Some want to get rid of unhealthy behaviours; others have an inner voice that seems to demand change. In other words, many of us simply want our lives to be different.
How does your life look – after the change?
When you and I are working on change, we will work on understanding what this ‘different’ looks like. How can you live a life not overwhelmed by stress? How to leave the house without being trapped by a phobia? How to work to create your daily living with chronic pain? How does the morning look when the depression has gone? How does a change in the fear change you?
Change is – work
While the above requires us to think a lot, change does not come solely by reflecting, thinking and talking about wanting to have lived differently. It also requires action and a helping hand to implement these actions. You might want to think of it as a tailored training programme that we are creating together and then implementing into your life to move towards where you want to be. This includes working with setbacks.
Change and setbacks
One fundamental change needed for many of us is to learn how to work with setbacks. The significant word here is ‘how’. We all work with setbacks already. Yet many of us see them as proof of personal failure. Evidence of our worthlessness. The behaviour of a mediocre self. The confirmation of our inability to change. These belief structures can be so ingrained in us that we are totally unaware of them. They have become part of our psychological DNA. Yet they are changeable, and we are all worthy of making it happen.
Change can be scary
Setbacks can come with a whole bag of unwanted self-beliefs which can trigger even more of those experiences we do not want to have: fear, sadness, panic, pain, stress. Consequently, and understandably, we try to shelter ourselves from them, by choosing to stop the behaviour that triggered all of these setbacks in the first place: change. By trying to shelter ourselves from the pain, we are now no longer going for the very same thing we so so so want.
Change: We can
This is when many of us seek shelter in hope. Hope, in relation to change, can take two forms. On the one hand, it can be understood as trusting that mercy and salvation will be given to us. On the other hand, it can be understood as the belief that a better tomorrow can exist, and that we can bring it about.
You nor I can influence mercy or salvation. We can, however, believe in our ability to adapt our behaviours to help us live a better life. Regardless of how often we fall and fail, change is possible. Allow me to believe it – possibly even for you – until you can believe it too.