In a tough economy, it’s not uncommon for my clients to face tough choices that create big life changes. Some of these struggles are personal; others involve family businesses for which I consult. These changes often come up around significant events: new financial circumstances; leaving a personal relationship; career changes; or relocation. Sometimes these decisions are forced upon us because of a difficult economy, a job loss or family crisis; and sometimes it’s our choice.
Often, people realize that they are in a terribly uncomfortable, even painful place. And they can see that making a change could eventually produce a better situation. Yet, they resist making that change or even taking the first step. Change is like that …it’s scary. It’s like a tunnel in which we can see something light and good at the end. We are in an uncomfortable place that we want to leave, an unstable situation that feels like a three-legged chair. We know deep down that it would be better to get to a place that is more stable. Yet, it’s hard to move from that uncomfortable place.
When we do move and get the courage to start down the tunnel of change, it feels scary at first. It’s dark and unknown, but we hope that something better resides at that end of the process. It feels unsteady, like driving down a rough road. Soon, we gain some balance and the bumps even out and feel less disturbing. We can see the light getting brighter; a clearer picture of what we want comes into focus.
As we get closer, it starts to feel easier and we wonder why we hesitated. We are stronger now and feel like we can take on more. At the end, most will say that it was worth it. “It turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever done,” they often say. Even when change was forced upon us, almost all will say they learned something valuable about themselves and are a better person as a result. They usually are much happier.
Today’s tough economy often forces us to make these changes. If you are thinking of making a change—or if circumstances are forcing it upon you—take heart. It will work out. The process seldom seems easy, but is almost always better than expected. We always grow into better people because we dared to embrace the change.
Editor’s Note: This column is authored and sponsored by the staff of Dunham Counseling Center and have offices in downtown Naperville and St. Charles.