In my work, I’ve noticed that there are many moments when a client feels like nothing is happening. I work with women who desire a deep, fundamental change in their relationship with themselves – their confidence, their body, their creative self-expression. These are areas of life in which I, too, once longed for a real change to happen – and they are areas in which I continue to expand.
The question frequently arises: how do we know when we’ve experienced the change we desire to see?
Is there some way to objectively measure this change? Could it be measured in how much weight you lose, or whether or not you find a romantic partner, or whether or not you increase your income? I happen to think that these outward manifestations are actually byproducts of the change. Although there are external manifestations of the change, in my opinion, the real change is what happens on the inside.
So, back to the question: if we remove the external measures, how do we know when we’ve experienced a change?
Here are three ways I’ve noticed change happens:
When we feel the urge to run in the opposite direction.
While undergoing this internal change, one of the natural reactions a person may have is to resist the change. We know we have experienced change when we feel the urge to “cut and run” – and we choose to stay anyway.
When we start to react to things in a different way.
When faced with a challenge, we usually have a patterned response method of dealing with the challenge. We know we have experienced change when we start to respond to such challenges in new (and possibly creative!) ways.
When we recognize our own sense of agency.
It’s not unusual to feel powerless over circumstances beyond our control. We know we have experienced a change when we recognize how much power we have to create our circumstances in the first place. Even when things are rocky, we have a stronger sense of our ability to create what we desire to see.
My clients often feel disappointed at how long it takes for the external manifestation to arrive, but it can be helpful to recognize that even if it isn’t visible, change is still happening. If you think of planting a seed, you also know it must first grow roots before becoming visible above ground.
Are there areas of your life that you are working on but you feel like you have yet to see change? How might you view what you’re working on from another angle? Do you see ways that change may be already happening, like roots implanting, even if you don’t see your visible plant yet?
I’d love to hear about your experience with change.
Photo: Ray_from_LA under a CC License