SAFETY EXIT

Counseling | Change

Counseling Corner

By: Tami Earnhart, LMFT, ATR
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, #95728
Registered Art Therapist

My family has farmed in a part of the country where the sky is very big, so big in fact that a storm can be seen on the horizon from miles away. Doppler radar is unnecessary, yet still extremely useful. The sky can darken suddenly, winds shift, and clouds begin to move in a fast-forward motion. You don’t know what changes are in store, but you head to the house anyway and prepare.

Similar to the weather, change is inevitable and sometimes we feel anxious about the uncertainty that often accompanies change. Even changes by choice and joyful happenings, such as the birth of a new child, a career change or a marriage, can trigger anxiety and cause us to doubt our abilities to learn and adapt. Other changes are thrust upon us and we put on a good face, but inwardly we protest. We would like to avoid saying good-bye to people, then life happens and we are given no choice. Loved ones die, relationships end, and co-workers find new jobs or retire and we find ourselves trying to acclimate to their absence.

I’m going to state the obvious here, “Change is not easy.”

I’m going to state the obvious here: “Change is not easy.” Like standing on the plains, peering up at the enormity of the sky, we can feel small and powerless. I say that not only as a person who struggles with changes, but also as a therapist who each week witnesses clients navigating challenges that accompany life changes.

I’m not sure what all the ingredients are for adapting to change, but I think it starts with the acceptance that change is not easy. In fact, whether we welcome or resist change, there is still an adaption process that involves new thoughts, actions and feelings on our part. Maybe, just maybe when we accept that change is not easy we would give ourselves permission to ask for help, take some time to slow down, be more patient with our ability to process all the feelings, and be curious and reflect about the meaning.

Then again, maybe it’s just time to head to the house and hunker down in the storm shelter.