First 30 Days Blog

16 oct

Make Change an Evolution, Not a Revolution

MaricleMaricle3A young woman was telling me recently how torn she feels about whether or not to leave her boyfriend. They have been together for years, but now they spend less time together, he isn’t supportive, doesn’t like her friends, and gets jealous when she wants to go out without him. Should she leave him? Sounds like a no brainer, right?

Not really.

Each one of us follows a set of routines and habits that make up what we think of as our “reality.”

Consider this: there’s a consistent pattern to how you get ready in the morning, when and how you contact friends and family, where you get coffee, and where you go out for fun. What I am suggesting is that this young woman’s current habits make her boyfriend seem like integral part of her life. She texts him, talks to him, and may hang out with him on the weekend. Despite the fact that they no longer get along, they have habits that keep them connected. She is uncomfortable with their lack of connection, but the habits of their relationship are still comfortable, and therefore she has not changed them yet.

Because our habits and routines are so ingrained, we don’t have to consciously think about them.

This creates the sense that our reality is fixed, when in truth, it’s highly impacted by our habits.

Someone who is outgoing and seeks adventure likely has a different view of themselves and the world than a person who is a homebody. However, if either of these people wanted to change, a first step might be to slightly shift a habit or two.

As our experiences, interactions, and what we see changes, so does our perspective, and therefore our behavior and feelings.

If you think you want to change something, you might experiment with shifting one small habit and see what you notice.

For example, this young woman might be subtly avoiding conversations with men in order to not anger her jealous boyfriend. Perhaps she might experiment in low-pressure situations with making small talk, such as with the barista who makes her coffee, or the man in the elevator. She might notice that these men are kind to her and make her laugh. She might even feel desirable. Wouldn’t that experience shift her view of herself and her “reality?”

Sometimes change is simply peeking around the corner to see what else is there. We tend to think of change as big, sudden, and sweeping, but frequently change is more evolution than revolution. We have to prime ourselves for change through mini exposures to new experiences. This allows us to experiment slowly, deciding what we like and don’t, therefore incurring minimal risk. That’s a change most of us could tolerate.

DISCLAIMER: This information is not a substitute for professional psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content provided by Maricle Counseling and Amy Maricle, LMHC, ATR-BC is intended for general information purposes only. Never disregard professional medical or psychological advice or delay seeking treatment because of something you read here.

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Posted by Amy Maricle on October 16th, 2013 in Career, Health, New Directions, Relationships | 0 comments Read related posts in , ,

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