And Today's Fortune Is…

by Ashley Solomon

Running therapy groups at the hospital where I work, the focus is often, or often becomes, the challenge of making a change. When my patients complain that change is hard, I recognize and validate the struggle that they face. Change is uncomfortable. It’s tiring. And it just generally kind of sucks in the process. Whether the individual is trying remove himself from an abusive relationship, quit binging, alter her response to her anxiety, or stop using heroin to numb his feelings, it always starts the same way – with a decision to do something different.

It’s important to remember that deciding to make a change is in itself no small feat. The change process starts long before attending the first AA meeting or writing the Dear John letter. It begins with a recognition of the need for a different reality, an awakening to the opportunity to be and do and live in a new way. And that is a BIG step, one that needs to be recognized. The next step is to actually decide to make that change and to begin considering how one might go about this. Will I use the patch or the gum? Will I attend a support group? Will I tell other people? Will I take this slowly or jump in head first? The answers to these questions are as individual as those considering them. They should be given time for reflection, prayer (if you’re into that), and discussion with others you trust.

And then comes the “plunge”… Please note: this is often the point at which you want to jump off of the moving train and go running back as fast as you can to the land of familiarity. This is often where fear and doubt and insecurity and pain and anger and frustration set in. And where your friends and family start to worry about what this New You will mean for themselves and their own lives. And this is precisely where you really need to order lots of Chinese food until you get the same kick-in-the-butt fortune cookie that I opened recently (see photo).

Do not give up; the beginning is always the hardest. Don’t give up? Oh really, China Wok Restaurant? What the hell do you know?!? Maybe a lot, in fact… Just ask the woman who lost 170 pounds to run the Flying Pig Marathon. If we can get through the initial stages of a big change, our momentum and success will build on itself. This is not to say that maintainance is cake walk – quite the contrary. However, the first step requires a leap of faith and an willingness to consider yourself in a different light. It’s telling yourself, “I am no longer X. I am now becoming Y.” And sometimes Y is scary.

But fear is a part of change and a part of life. I’m not convinced that change would be real if it didn’t come with a sense of fear of the unknown. So feel the fear. Embrace it. And make the change anyway. And when you feel like giving up, order some General Tso’s and Don’t give up.

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2 Comments to “And Today's Fortune Is…”

  1. Great post Ashley!

  2. Great Ashley Now I need to face the fear.

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