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  • Why Change?


    What is your reaction when someone mentions change? Are you excited? Do you feel hopeful? Are you open to the possibility of something being different? Do you welcome the unknown?

    Chances are great, this is not your first reaction. As human beings we are resistant to change. We like our routine. We like to believe that our way of doing things is good and right and even the best way. We are certainly creatures of habit and often view change as disruptive or intrusive.

    So why do we not want to change? Any change that we execute, means that something will be different; that a loss will ensue. Change brings grief and we do not like to grieve. So we often hold on to maladaptive ways of doing things just because we resist change. This happens our workplaces, in our churches, in our families and in ourselves.

    A teacher of mine once said, “Sin is the preference to remain miserable in a familiar way instead of trying something new.” Sin means “to miss the mark.” When we prefer to stay miserable just because we are familiar with misery, we are missing the mark. So often I hear people say, “I can’t help myself, it is just who I am.” I counter that with, “you have a choice to help yourself, and you can always do better.”

    Often therapy is about examining dysfunctional behaviors. The question I often ask after someone describes a repeated non-functional behavior is,
    “How is that working for you?” Most people look stunned and say, “It is not working at all.” My next task is then to determine the function or purpose of the behavior. If something is not working, the healthy response is to examine why, and then alter the behavior.

    I have heard it said that it takes 14 days to change or create a habit. I have also heard it said that the definition of crazy is doing the same behavior over and over expecting different results. Part of emotional health is knowing what behaviors are not working for us and then being willing to change those behaviors with more functional ones. This may take time and effort but will be worth the work.

    Change is inevitable. The seasons change, our children change, our bodies change, our world changes. If we are not willing to adapt to what is going on around us, simply because we are resistant to change, we will miss much of what life has to offer.

    One of the most adaptable people I know is my father-in-law Smitty who is 75. He is proof positive that change is possible. He inspires me to pay attention to what is going on around me and then change when it is necessary. The reason he does this is because he loves his family and wants to maintain significant connections with them. And after all, isn‘t this a great reason for any of us to change for the better?


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