How many of us like change? The answer is very few of us. Change can be scary and uncertain, and when we already feel as though our lives aren’t in our control, the idea of more change is almost as appealing as a root canal with no anesthesia. Most of us are just trying to get by, doing our best to juggle the growing demands of work, family, having a social life, taking care of our physical and mental health, making enough money to pay our bills on time, and getting 8 hours of sleep each night. It feels absolutely impossible, and we end up feeling hopeless, helpless, completely lost, and incapable of handling it all.
Why would we agree to more change on top of that? Why would we go out of our way to experience more uncertainty when we’re barely holding it together? This is where I find many of my clients, the people in the Evolve Ventures community, and even myself, at times, to be. And as much as we would like things to be different, to get better, the idea of having to do any more than we already are, to challenge ourselves or to eliminate some of the things that may not be the best, but help us get through the day, seems like an impossible task that we just aren’t willing to do.
When clients come into my virtual “office,” it’s because the impact of living life that way for so long has become unbearable, and they’re ready to make a change. But most of the people that I see don’t feel ready to make (what they believe they need) a drastic change. They list hundreds of things they’re unhappy about, and hold this expectation that they need to get all of it done as soon as humanly possible; this level of intensity leads to frustration, shame, burnout, and the inevitable, the inability to follow through and make the changes occur. We set unrealistic guidelines and expectations on our growth, healing, change and progress because we wait until the pain is unbearable, and the weight of it all is crushing our shoulders. At that point, change becomes incredibly difficult, and seems impossible.
We all know that real, lasting change requires time and effort, but when you’re in a state of high stress it’s hard to wrap your head around that fact because we feel a sense of urgency to “get it done” and make it happen. I say to my clients, almost daily, that change takes time, and the permission for that to be so. It’s going to look different for us all, and unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” approach to healing. We all are different and unique, we have our specific needs and challenges that need to be addressed, and we all have a different timeline for how long that will take. The good news about this is that growth, healing, and change don’t need to be a daunting, intimidating experience. Because we are all unique, it will look different for us all, and we can go at our own pace and still experience the benefits of it.
When we give ourselves permission to take our time, to do growth in a way that works for us, it allows us to have it be a part of our lives, rather than the bitter pill that’s taken when life becomes too hard to bear. The process of change can be done in a way that fits our own lives, that we fit into our lives. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go sit on someone’s couch each week and expel your deepest darkest secrets. Growth for you might look like joining a book club that meets once a month, doing an online video series, seeing a virtual therapist every two weeks from the comfort of your own home, or any number of alternatives.
Even when I see clients, I don’t give them all the same program, even if they have the “same challenges.” Some clients meet with me weekly and do intense therapy that challenges them and encourages them to dive into their deeply rooted trauma, other clients meet more infrequently, and use the time to share the day-to-day challenges. There is no wrong approach, except not trying. For growth and change to happen, you have to go at it at a pace that you can manage and sustain, in a way that makes you feel good about what you’re doing. It needs to be an experience that, in the end, leaves you feeling empowered and capable. When you feel good about it, you will want to continue to show up, and that’s where the magic happens.
Two clients I have in mind, I’ll name them Naomi and Ashley, both came to see me due to challenges they were having with Anorexia Nervosa as a result of trauma. Naomi wanted a more intensive type of treatment, she had been in and out of hospitals for the last year and felt at the end of her rope. She asked to meet twice a week, to give her some time to feel safe enough to open up, and then to dive into her trauma. After three months of meeting regularly, she finally felt comfortable enough to begin sharing more of her story, how it led to her eating challenges, and over time we helped her to set boundaries, learn better coping skills, and minimize the intrusive thoughts that led to her eating disordered behavior. Ashley hadn’t been admitted to hospitals or in programs, she kept her eating disorder a secret from everyone in her life and sought out therapy for “relationship issues.” The eating disorder only came to light after she finally felt safe enough to share with me what was really going on. She asked for this to take time, to not directly talk about the eating challenges unless she brought it up, and to give her space to feel ready to take it further. We worked together for 2 years, took it slow, and she’s made incredible progress.
Growth has to be on your terms for it to work, and one of the ways you can choose your own growth at your own pace is through the Evolve Ventures #YouDoYou program. This program is what Ashley eventually transitioned into. This program is a self-paced, indirect, online therapy and coaching program that allows you to have 24/7 access to a therapist or coach who will guide you in the ways that you feel are best for you. We have been told by so many people in the Evolve community that change just feels impossible because of what is going on in their lives, and we made this program as the answer. Help does not have to be something that requires you to change your entire life to receive it, help can be in a way that feels right for you, in a supportive environment that allows you to have your own personalized evolution without pressure. This online program was made for people just like you, who want to dip their toes into growth in a way that feels safe to do so. We’re excited to take the journey with you.
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