Why Changing Is Hard And What To Do About It

This morning, I fell on my paddle, catching the handle on my hip. My hip is aching. And now, several hours later, my shoulders are sore.

by Lee Baucom, Ph.D.

Oh, and I have a rash on my forearm from the friction of the board, from me climbing on repeatedly.

I have been paddle boarding for a couple of years, and did a little surfing as a teen. Never good, but always loving it.

Up until this morning, my paddling was on the waterway and on a river near our home. But I really wanted to try the ocean.

So this morning, I gave it a shot!

I knew how to get past the breakers, and then tried to hop up like always. Only to discover that the ocean was multidimensional, with movement on every axis. So down I went. . . over and over.

It wasn’t fun. But I wanted to learn how to paddle in the ocean and maybe how to surf a big board.

Like many people interested in a topic, I had read a lot on how to do it. So, the “how to” was in my head.

It was not so much in my muscle memory. I just kept on falling.

Until I got it.

After 45 minutes, I could stay up pretty well. Not great, but good enough to enjoy.

Then, just as I headed back in, a pod of dolphins surrounded me. That moment, at that instant, I didn’t care about the falls, the rash, and the bruises.

Any challenge is like that. It seems awkward at first. It may even be a bit painful. But if you persevere, there is almost always a blessing.

It may not be what we expected. I didn’t suddenly start catching waves. But I did feel a blessed moment with the dolphins.
If you are working to save our marriage, there are some self-imposed boundaries:

1) “What if it doesn’t work?”

This is a question that haunts us at the beginning of any venture. It is just fear talking, as it can be used as a debate point with yourself at the beginning of anything.

If it doesn’t work, you have still done all you can, and you will have grown.

Instead, go the other way: “What if I do nothing?” The answer to that is easy. Things will either stay stuck or get worse. There will be no improvement

2) “What if I do something wrong?”

You will. That is the nature of doing something new and different. But trying is moving in the right direction. So just accept you will stumble. Just pick yourself up and do it again!

3) “What if I get hurt?”

We all fear pain, emotional and physical. But pain is a part of life, and can lead to growth.

Fearing pain does not prevent it. Accepting pain as a fact of life allows you to try something new.

Protecting yourself keeps you on the defense, living a constricted life. Choose to live big, in spite of the fear.

4) “What will people think?”

People were all along the beach, including my wife’s yoga class. I am pretty sure they a) got a chuckle over my falls and b) forgot about it 5 minutes later.

I believe this: it is always amazing and noble when people take on a new challenge, when people choose to leave a comfort zone.

Don’t worry about what others think. Concern yourself about what you want and move in that direction.

Risk a stumble. Challenge yourself. Live a life of growth and opportunity.

Lee Baucom, Ph.D. is a best-selling author, therapist, coach and speaker, and has over a quarter of a century of experience helping couples and individuals learn to thrive in their relationships and their lives. He is the creator of the internet marriage program, Save The Marriage.

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