Facing the daunting task of dealing with change
I love change.
I hate changing
Change can be exciting, stimulating, satisfying, joyful; it adds spice to my life.
Changing can be tedious, unnerving, overwhelming, painful: it can throw my entire life out of balance.
If I could change the way things work, I'd seriously consider changing the way we change. In my redesigned world, change would just happen. If we wanted to lose 20 pounds -- presto! -- it would be gone. If we decided we'd like a new job, we'd magically have the skills we needed and a job offer we couldn't refuse.
Or, if we wanted our marriage to be more fulfilling, a simple word or two would make everything better.
There are probably some power of positive thinking types or motivational experts who are going to throw out all those platitudes about how the difficulties in changing are what make change so valuable. You know, "the reward is in the doing" sort of stuff.
If I had my way, though, I'd be happy to settle for change that came about quickly and easily.
Somehow I don't think that's going to happen. I suspect we are stuck with our often tedious, unnerving, overwhelming and painful process of changing. The change we accomplish may, in retrospect, make it all seem worthwhile, but it's frequently just no fun in the process.
Most of us probably don't think much about all this, but we do react to it. We may attempt to rush through changing, hoping to avoid as much of the discomfort as possible. Or we search around for the easiest path to where we want to go, trying to detour around the pitfalls of changing by taking the longer way around.
And many of us try to live without change altogether, believing that if we never seek change we can do away with the difficult process of changing.
None of the above approaches works, however. When we try to rush through changing, we miss so much that it becomes even more difficult. When we search for the easiest path, we often get lost.
And when we try to live without changing altogether, we cheat ourselves of the possibility of becoming all that we were created to be. And we also deny the reality that life itself is one change after the other.
Well, it seems like our choices are rather limited. We can accept that changing is often a process that is tedious, unnerving, overwhelming, even painful. And we can recognize that change, and the process of changing that proceeds it, is woven into the very fabric of life.
I guess that's about the only option that makes any sense.
(But that doesn't change the fact that I still hate changing!)
• Dr. Ken Potts is on the staff of Samaritan Counseling Center in Naperville and Downers Grove. He is the author of "Mix Don't Blend, A Guide to Dating, Engagement and Remarriage With Children."