Change in therapy, one common denominator is clients often seeks a big change, rather than gradual shifts into change, we can make ourselves mountains to climb. We’re most of us familiar with the famous Chinese quote from Laozi “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and this is how the guides tell us to effect change, bit by bit. In a world of instant gratification however, this is less appealing than the idea of announcing to the world (or ourselves) that we are suddenly different in a big way, a dramatic way.
For some of course, who are ready for change, it can be a resounding success, for others we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment when those old familiar patterns creep back in. Patterns are a big part of how we live, and of course are often a big part of how those around perceive us, and therefore predict our behaviour. Most people aren’t fond of change, but many want it.
The science of change, habits, addictions and patterns, is far too big and complex to even touch upon here, but that’s just a repetition of the ‘oh it’s no use, it can’t be done’ mantra that appeases the slip back on the seemingly endless path into ‘changed forever’. So I say this, consider the effects of that change, that potential small step.
When we change one thing that means other things change as a result.
You get off a plane after a few hours to a blue sea and sun, your mood changes. You serve up breakfast in bed, you get a great big smile, someone else’s mood changes, so your mood changes, and on it goes… One thing affects another and before you know it, your small change has taken you somewhere completely different. One of my old lecturers used to call it the M62 (an English highway) principle, a turn off begins by diverging only a tiny bit from the route and before you know it, you’re on a radically different path, and that’s it, evolution and not revolution.
So maybe don’t dismiss that small change as not enough, or if you’ve made a big resolution that has fallen by the wayside but leaves a fragment of its intent or meaning to germinate on fertile ground, then maybe make that your focus, tend it, nurture it and see where that beanstalk leads you.
‘Changes aren’t permanent, but change is’ (thanks to Neil Peart for that quote).