The Nature of Change: Misery

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about change for a number of reasons. First, here it is March 1st, two months into the new year, and I have yet to implement a single one of my New Year’s Resolutions. But, better late than never. Actually, March 1 is a much better time to try for change. It’s a harbinger of spring, the season of beginnings. This is true despite the fact that we have been issued a severe weather warning yet again for tonight, a reminder that winter may never end this year. But, let’s assume that it will. And March 1 will usher in, not only spring, but also my New Year’s resolutions. Feel free to borrow my logic.

Secondly, now that my novel, THE HOUSE THAT TILTS is completed, I’ve been polishing up the synopsis, plus creating the synopsis for my next project, and a synopsis encapsulates the changes in a book’s main characters. I have to say that my characters are doing a better job of incorporating change than I am. Still, they’ve been through hell. I’ve made them go through hell because that’s the story. And because hell is the only thing that triggers change.

That brings me to the third reason I’m focused on change. Because I’m a psychologist. My clients come to me in order to change their lives. Or maybe not. I’ve learned that, unless we are absolutely miserable with the way things are, we aren’t likely to do anything different. And some clients, while unhappy, are not miserably unhappy. They’re not quite ready. That’s okay. We all get there on our own schedule.

One of my professors, a wizened, brilliant teacher with the personality of Eeyore, told this story:  There was a man sitting up to his neck in horse manure (however, the wizened professor did not say ‘horse manure’). Every time someone went by, he whined, “It stinks in here. It stinks in here.” Finally, one passerby turned and said, “Well, why don’t you stand up and get out of that?” To which the first man replied, “But it’s cold out there.”

That was our lesson for that day. Not everyone of our clients would be ready to give up the familiar and risk the cold in order to find a better space.  If WE really want to change, if we REALLY want to take up those New Year’s resolutions, we’re going to have to be pretty dang sick of the way things are. And if we’re writing a believable plot, our character has to have reached the end of her rope. Which does not bode well for my resolutions.

So, here goes. I’m off to ingest a totally nutritious, guilt-free dinner of steamed vegetables.

See you later.

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