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What Makes Us Change

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What Makes Us Change

Do you ever wonder what happens in our lives that causes us to change? Have you ever heard the saying, “The only thing in life that’s constant is change?”

I was at a seminar a few weeks ago, and, in the afternoon, one of the speakers gave a short presentation on change. He spoke to us in a direct, real, manner and validated that, for right now, in our world today, there is something that is truly constant… stressful change. Presently, some people are experiencing more trials and challenges than others. Yet, we all know and understand how stressful change can be.

Sometimes the necessary change we need to make in our lives is internal. Whereas, at other times, it is a combination of internal and external. Sometimes, when things around us change, we feel we have no control. But I often wonder, when we have to deal with trials and challenges we feel we have no control over, is it really true we have no control, or does it just feel true?

The unique thing about us adults is that we have the capacity to choose. In every circumstance, we have choices. Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way, but we always have choices. Sometimes none of the options are really what we want to choose, but options are always there. I don’t think this fact is true when we were children, or even adolescents. At that time, we were not empowered enough to always make choices. Instead, others around us made decisions and choices for us, whether we liked it or not. But, as adults we can choose how to best take care of ourselves in difficult, challenging, painful or overwhelming times and experiences.

So, if we have the capacity to choose, when and how do we choose to change something?

Are we proactive or reactive?

  • Do we feel empowered when we change, or do we feel victimized?
  • Do we think about our options objectively and logically, or do we react emotionally and at times feel inside like we are kicking and screaming with resistance?
  • Do we change before we feel great pain about something, or do we wait until we are miserable and cannot stand it anymore?
  • Are we proud of our choices, or do we beat ourselves up because we should have handled it differently?
  • Do we change for ourselves, or do we really do it for someone else?
  • Do we see change through a lens of opportunity, or one of dread?
  • Do we sometimes wait to change until we are afraid of what may happen to us if we don’t?

Sometimes we are unsure of how to answer these kinds of questions. Sometimes we may not even know what we need to change. Yet, what we may know is that we are unhappy with the way things are, and SOMETHING needs to change.

Most of the time the most difficult thing to accept is that change must start from within. We really can only change ourselves. We can change our beliefs, behaviors, actions, and choices. It’s a challenge to look inside and see what you find.

At times, it is difficult to realize that it is up to you to make your life better. It is no one else’s job, but your own.

It’s part of being a grown-up. As an adult, you get to do what you want. (Unlike when you were a child, and you quite possibly complained about not being able to do what you wanted to do.) Congrats! You now get to make your own choices. You now can change what makes you unhappy.

You have the inner wisdom and power you need to make it happen.

Do you believe this is true?

Don’t wait. Take the risk. Take action. Make a healthy change to improve things in your life. You get to choose how, what, and when. You can do it. Make it happen… you are worth it.

Colleen Koncilja Bartlett Illinois Trauma Therapist

About Colleen Koncilja, LCSW, CADC, ICGC-II, BACC

I have been providing individual therapy, group counseling, and treatment services for over 30 years. I currently provide therapy to adults and couples in our private practice, Health and Healing Therapy PLLC, where I serve as the Director as well as a Therapist.

View my therapist profile.