Local experts share the latest information and resources on all things mental health.
Posted: May 21, 2014 by Dan Harold LCSW
Yes, it's generally true that when one door closes, another opens. However, it can be hell in the hallway.
People often talk about how difficult change is. But if we really stop and look back on most of the difficult periods of our life, we often learn to appreciate the results of change. Of course there are certain hurtful experiences that will never feel positive. I want to acknowledge that, and point out that I'm talking about all the other changes in our lives. Not everything makes sense, and not everything happens for a reason. My next blog will be titled: "Everything happens for a reason. Well, maybe not..." But I digress, back to change:
In the wake of a big life change, there is often new found wisdom, increased strength, new memories, and personal growth, all of which we can appreciate with time. So, it really isn't the change that is the difficult issue for most of us. We struggle with the time we spend in transition.
So, is it true that when one door closes another door opens? Most of the time yes, new doors do open. But waiting for those doors to open can be very uncomfortable. The fear of not knowing, the fear we may not get the things we want, the grief and loss associated with losing something or someone, and the anxiety we feel when we hold on to things too tightly can all be part of that difficult experience.
The experience is completely different when we recognize a change as a positive event that immediately benefits us. Getting things we want or need feels great. Getting a raise at work is a change; falling in love with someone who loves us in return is a change; going on a vacation or altering a work schedule are changes that we look forward to.
Additionally, the very things we cherish the most today and want to hold onto were brought into our life by a change that occurred in the past. So the notion that change is always scary and negative is false.
I would invite you to talk about how challenging transitions can be while finding some hope in the idea that we gain strength, meaning, and new skills from change. Also recognize that we don't like pain and we like things that feel good. So, let's appreciate the good changes that are more obvious. We can always be more mindful of positive change and bask in the good feelings it brings.
Neuroscientists are finding that if we are mindful of our successes and our achievements just a few minutes longer, that it can increase the flow of feel good chemicals in our bodies. Something as simple as emptying the dishwasher can produce feel good chemicals if you sit in it long enough and appreciate your accomplishment.
Of course, sometimes it can be hard to appreciate and measure our progress and our success. We are so busy living our lives that we sometimes fail to acknowledge the positives. And while we can learn to appreciate changes that make us feel good, transitions can be really painful. What’s important to remember is that you don’t have to go through it alone if you don’t want to.
Dan Harold, LCSW, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Portland, OR. You can find out more about his practice by visiting his website or profile.
Tags: mood and feelings, relationship and family, anxiety, life transition
Love Lessons: A Guide to Dating Someone Who is Codependent
Shame, Guilt, Humiliation, and Embarrassment
Why Do People Have Open Relationships?