How Change Happens
Change is a subtle dynamic; we can never seem to pin it down. Obviously change is happening all the time, all around us and it is difficult to see because it is an intangible. Some of my work for many years surrounds teens and young adults who have made poor life choices, they have been involved with gangs, sold drugs and engaged in behavior that they are not proud of, (at least not when they are in my small therapeutic space).
In the therapeutic space, we explore how they got to this space of despair. I ask them to look at themselves many years ago as a young child. I walk through their hearts and minds and query if this is, what they hoped life look like when they were children of 4 or 5?
As we walk through the process of life expectations, values, rewards and consequences, we focus on what they REALLY want out of life; Do they want the bling, the noteriety, the family and protection that comes from gang life and we compare their wants with the costs. What are they willing to give up to live the "street life". When we look at change and loss, we compare their child self, there present self and project what life looks like as an adult during and after incarceration.
For a particular youth, we focus in on the series of events and decisions in his life that led him to be where he does not belong, where he does not want to be and where he does no good to anyone.
After we explored what he does NOT want, then we begin the process of therapy, in my mind... identifying what you DO want and what you can do to make those changes happen in your life-one step at a time. The smaller the step, the more you are able to accept and sustain those changes and yes I am a cheerleader that will take the little steps because I know they add up to real and lasting change.
I have full faith that we are all empowered in our lives to make those changes big and small to be able to say that yes, I am going to walk away from this argument, or make this apology or sign up for this class or do something for myself in big and small ways that stays true to our vision of who we are and what we want from our lives, to remain true to that little boy that wants to be a police officer, or firefighter or mailman or teacher but who never thought that he would grow up to be a gang member who hates himself and the world around him. So today, let's encourage the small changes in ourselves and others.
How do you celebrate change?