A client of mine recently told me: “I want to change the way I am living my life. But I am also scared. If I don’t change, then this will be my life. At the end I will know that I lived this way because of the issues I had in the past, because this is how I am. But if I change now, I will have regrets - I wasted all those years.”
I’ve found myself going back to what she said. The thought has a certain beauty, I could easily see it in a novel.
Then I started to argue with it, to untangle it. Regrets. If she brings up regrets, does she feel some already? What exactly are regrets? Learning or wisdom from a hindsight? Having regrets can suggest that a person is a bit stuck in the past, still mulling over things they cannot do anything about now. And how does she know what she will feel in the future? What she’s saying does make sense, but who can be sure what they will feel in the future, tomorrow or in twenty years? Maybe it is not exactly regrets but the old and familiar critical voice beating her up for not doing something she could not do at the time. We could look closer at this critical figure, find out more about it, so that my client will have some ways to fight it if the voice shows up.
I thought this over and over again, but something was missing, nothing seemed to be ‘the answer’. And then it dawned on me. I got caught in a trap. This thought is only a smaller part of the whole picture and by focusing on it I was missing the rest - that my client with her body, her feelings, body sensations, emotions and other thoughts has been moving forward already. She is not on the crossroads considering her options. She said yes to the opportunity of working with a coach and this was our third meeting. She is already walking down the path. Her voice sounds differently, she holds herself more upright. She exercises more. She’s finding she is more resilient than she would have thought. She’s learning to progress in small steps. Not to panic, if something doesn’t go smoothly, but to stop, breathe and think about the next possible move. And - she’s enjoying all the changes.
How often do we get caught in what we are thinking. We are so sure that we are right. We do not need to check whether we might be missing something. But our thoughts are only one part of ourselves, they are not everything. So - thanks for the reminder!