Working out again after a hiatus, pretty much means that you are going to have some sore muscles. The next day you feel your body’s every little motion. It is a direct reminder of the effort you put in the day before. You are a bit achy and move a slower. You might even complain a bit about the soreness. Those around you responds with knowing nods and similar stories. We know what it is like and have empathy for the whole process. We have been there!
You hear stuff like this everyday, so much that you probably immediately relate. It is okay to talk about the soreness of building muscle and the sluggish response to a hard workout a day later. We are in a culture where working out to become strong and healthy are valued. The effort it takes to reach the goal is understood and the in-between-process of the pain makes perfect sense.
What would happen if we applied this very same concept towards emotional change? We have a normal predictable pattern of how we do things. We decide we want to shift some elements so we begin to try a new approach. It feels uncomfortable and we are uneasy with how others will respond. We are aware right away that things are changing and it is hard. It hurts to change and create a new way of living, it appears to make things confusing. It isn’t easy working those new muscles when they haven’t been used before. They have to be built up with desire, experience, and time.
We obviously aren’t going to have perfected the change right away. We work on them, feel stiff and tired. It is exhausting paying attention to yourself, changing, and dealing with what the changes bring. And just like we share with others stories of our strength training, we would begin to share our emotional lives. We explain that we get scared, bored, tired, or it all just hurts so much. We do this as a way to join with others, to get support and feel more connected.
Just like a new work out it is going to be harder some days than others, there are going to be a lot of times where you don’t want to do it and you force yourself anyway. And there are times where you just want a break and skip it. It’s all okay! You know your goals, you know it is going to get better and overall you are ready to commit to a stronger you. It is no different with emotional change.
Decide that you are ready, not exactly sure how it is all going to work, that change is going to be tough and will experience some pain in the growth process. Then go share this process with others and you will quickly find that you are not alone… we all are going through this and it is nothing to keep quiet about or be ashamed of. You are in the process of change and that makes all the growing pains worth it!