Soucheray: Listen to self when change is imminentKnowing when to make a change can be as important as knowing that a change needs to be made.
Knowing when to make a change can be as important as knowing that a change needs to be made. Does that sound confusing? We all know there have been times in our lives that making a change is imperative, but making that change can cause anxiety, or for us to question our judgment, which in turn may cause us to doubt ourselves.
Think about all the young people leaving for college in a few weeks. We know there will be some students who will arrive at their college selection, following the long and arduous struggle to come to this all-important choice, and find they are not happy. They may find they become anxious, or even depressed, and know they need to make a change.
There may be people who have gone through the difficult process of finding a new job, only to get there and know it’s not the right place for them. But the benefits or location, the hours or challenge of the work itself are appealing, but yet there’s something that is not quite right. Maybe it’s the climate of their new work environment that does not feel supportive or just not right. For young moms, leaving their children in day care for the day and going to work at a place that is not encouraging and obliging to their situation can be very challenging.
Sometimes we find ourselves in relationships, perhaps dating or even married, and things just don’t seem right. If the situation is dating, the feelings of unease must be acknowledged and recognized as valid. If there is a marriage situation, seeking assistance from your pastor or a therapist, before making any decisions, is always a wise idea.
In these three scenarios, all of which are very real for average people, the outcome of making a change can be positive and life-giving or negative and harmful. The most important thing for us to do when we think a change is necessary is to pay attention to our thoughts and feelings and to honor them by accepting them as legitimate and not brushing them aside. Sometimes, we may hesitate to make a change because we worry what others will say or that our actions to change our situation in some way will disappoint someone.
What we know, however, is that when we don’t make a needed change, for whatever reason, we are the ones who must carry the outcome and result of remaining where we are. When we know it’s not right and we remain anyway, the results can be detrimental and hurtful to us, and perhaps to others.
If you’re contemplating a change, go through a discernment process of evaluating all the angles of staying and leaving, examining the consequence of each choice. After you have examined the consequences, find someone in whom you trust to share what you have written. Take time and listen to the wisdom of their comments. Be open to all they have to say, but realize you have to make the final decision.
When you have made your decision, then have the courage to stand behind your convictions and make the change you are anticipating. And remember, even after you have calculated as many angles as possible, realize that some things will not go according to plan. That is life. Accept it and have the determination and resolve to go through with your plans, anyway. And good luck to you.
Soucheray is a Woodbury resident and a licensed family therapist