“It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform.”
~Roy T. Bennet~
“No! N. o. With a capital N. No means No!”
I watched as Anxiety paced back and forth, clearly agitated. His clothes, as always, disheveled; his hair, as per usual, parted in ways that’d make anyone with OCD cringe, and cringe hard.
If Anxiety was an actual real person, and just not a figment of my imagination, he’d have worn out out a nice little path in my carpet by now with all the pacing he does, I thought to myself.
I sigheddddddd, shook my head and watched my imaginary friend pace as he always did.
“Yes”, I finally responded back to him, patiently waiting for the next outburst.
He skidded to a stop, and looked at me all wild-eyed as if I had freaking lost my mind. Maybe I did?
“What?! No! Absolutely not. I forbid it. Nope. No. Nein. Nyet. No sireee, no way. Nuh huh. Not happenin’.”
I rolled my eyes up.
“Oh c’mon, it’s not going to be that bad.”
“But whyyyyyy?”, he pleaded as if he was a child with a plate of vegetables in front of him.
“Because I think it’s a good idea.”, I responded quite simply.
“It’s gonna be done, whether you like it or not.”, I finally said.
Anxiety resumed his pacing, back…and…forth. Agitated beyond belief. As calm as I might be acting, my own thoughts were in a turmoil, as you can clearly see judging by the pacing figure in front of me.
“Look,” I took a deep breath, and leaned forward, “this needs to be done. I need to make changes in my life if I want to get better.”
He swung around and stared at me, mouth agape. “But you were doing just fineeeeee!”, he whined like a little kid whose toy just got snatched away from him.
“No,” I corrected him, “I wasn’t just fine. I was safe, sure. Secure, yep. I had my own little comfort zone going on here. Same thing. Day after day. Wake up, eat, drink coffee. Do some errands, do some work, go visit the fam, come home, watch some ‘Flix, so on and so on. Day in…day out.”
“Yeah? So? What’s wrong with that? Aren’t you happy?”
“To a point, sure. But I don’t want to live like this for the rest of my life, you know? I gotta get out and meet people. Be my charming self and flirt with the ladies. Get out there, bust a move on the dance floor even. Bring back the ole self confidence, and be proud of who I am. Can’t do that if I’m sitting on my ass all day, now can I?”
He points at my ears. Ah HA! There’s the trigger.
“Do you have to wear that??”
“Oh, you mean this?”, I tapped the hearing aids firmly lodged in my ears. “Why, yes, I do.”
“Duh. So I can hear better? All these face masks people are wearing nowadays, they aren’t really easy to understand yanno.”
“So? You can read body language, right?”
“And make myself look like a ‘tard because I assumed wrong? By the way, did you know that ASSUME means I make an ass out of u and me?”
He snorted at that and resumed his pacing once more.
“Look. I need to wear these so I can get used to them. So I can confidently go out and mingle with people. To have an intellectual conversation with them. To get myself back out there in the world, and hopefully, just maybe, juuuuuuust maaaaaaaybe find someone special, although that’s not on the top of my To-Do list. If it happens, it happens.”
“But this needs to be done, and I am fully aware that I am driving myself crazy with it.”, I continued. “I need to make these changes if I want to make a change in my life. I have to break these bad habits and make better, good habits. I know it’s driving us insane, being out of our comfort zone, but in order to make these changes, one needs to step outside of their comfort zone and make the changes needed. It’s simple as that. It’s gonna be done, whether we like it or not.” I finished with a shrug of my shoulders.
Anxiety disappeared, but the anxiety in my head stayed. I expect it to be around for awhile. After all, we are old friends, Anxiety and I.
- (verb) make or become something different.
- (noun) the act or instance of making or becoming different.
So, the example of change I give up above is just that, an example. And a very simple example to be sure. But change can happen in small steps, or in big doses. Change can happen when we least expect them to, or when we want to make the change ourselves. Sometimes we all need a change in our lives to grow and to learn from the mistakes we make.
Change is a double edged sword. It can be good, and it can be not so good. Sometimes change is forced upon us when we least want it to, and may cause an upheaval in our lives that sometimes is not for the better.
That’s not the change I am talking about.
The kind of change I am talking about is changing yourself to make a better you. A better tomorrow. Since this blog is all about mental health and mental health awareness, then that is what I will focus on. Changing yourself for the better to improve your life, your mental health?
But always hard.
Everyone’s story is different. Some are fairly bad. Some are pretty bad. Some are REALLY bad. But if there’s a way to make a change to make it REALLY good? Then do it. Find a way, make the changes necessary, and put a plan in place. Look below for an example.
Change Management Process
- Identification – Identify the change(s) that needs to be made is always the first and most important step. Sometimes we don’t always know that we have a problem, or even how to fix it. But once you identify the problem, you are well on your way to making a change.
- Presentation – Process the information that you have just learned after you identified the change(s). What do you need to do to make the change? What are the risks to making the change? The cost, if any, to making the change possible? Weigh your pros and cons before you start making the change in your life.
- Planning – Once you have thought things through, it’s time to put your thoughts into action. Plan ahead. Make clear, concise steps needed to make the changes. Sometimes baby steps are needed. Don’t rush in and expect instant gratification; expect resistance, mistakes and sometimes failure. Pick yourself up, try again. But always plan.
- Evaluation – Put your plan into action. Gather together information needed to make this plan work smoothly. Do you need to save money? Research on the internet? Watch the plan you so meticulously thought out beforehand come alive right in front of you as you unravel the change(s) that needs to be made.
- Communication – The final step to your Master Plan for World Domination. Execute all the things you need done. Identify problems as they spring up, and work to overcome roadblocks. Talk to the people who can help you along the way. Spend the money that you put aside to make the change(s) necessary. Everything you did in all of the steps before this, make it happen. Watch the change(s) you needed and wanted happen before your very eyes.
So with that, I can show you a quick and easy example of what I just did myself :
- Identification – I learned that I wasn’t happy overall. Why? I needed something in life that I was missing out, so I needed to make changes to my lifestyle.
- Presentation – After I quickly learned that I needed to make a change to my lifestyle, I targeted some bad habits of mine that needed to change. One of those was lack of communication.
- Planning – To fix the issue of lack of communication, I needed to ‘put myself out there’. To do that, I needed to get around the very sticky subject of not being able to hear. To get over that, I needed aids. I researched cochlear implants, and that was a no. So, then I decided…hearing aids it is. And to learn sign language.
- Evaluation – This part was easy as I already owned a pair of hearing aids. I simply put them in, and VOILA! Problem solved? No. I had to get used to them first. So I wore them every day for a few hours til I was happy with the feeling of it.
- Communication – The most important part of my plan. As already mentioned, I had to wear them to get used to them. So I did. And the end result was a very pleasant surprise. I could hear things i couldn’t otherwise hear before. I could understand a conversation at the dinner table that I couldn’t before. I heard a crow cawing at who knows what three or four buildings over. And I heard a little boy talk for the first time, and it brought tears to my eyes.
Change. It’s a necessary thing. Make the changes you need to improve YOU.