The Five Pillars of Change
Change is a process that we each desire, and yet often resist. The uncertainty of what such changes will bring and the work that is required- yes, my friends, work is required as change is a process can be unsettling for many of us. How often might you have convinced yourself that you will just make do, and things will get better?
Tony L Stone introduced the 5 Pillars of change that I have adapted to reflect the essence of the You work that is fundamental to seeing the benefits of therapy. Awareness is the precursor to change and requires your commitment to both raising your awareness and the change process. This begins with You!
1. The self- Knowing who you are is the most important element of any changes we make. Knowing what you stand for, value, and believe in are fundamental to creating any change. If you jump in to make changes about your life without having a strong sense of self, all efforts will become futile. Why? Not because you are resisting therapy or need control, rather because expecting change before having a solid sense of self is akin to making a batch of cookies without the ingredients.
a. Values guide you and inform your decisions. These are what you believe to be important. What are they?
b. Beliefs are what you believe to be true and guide our decisions and actions and can inform our worldview, the lens from which we see the world. What do you believe in?
c. Personal strengths are another fundamental aspect of who you are. These extend beyond characteristics and virtues yet rather your strengths- what you excel at, what you are challenged at.
These are each influenced by our experiences and as such change and shift as we grow. When you think o these, do they reflect the person you are today or who you used to be? Are your old ideals holding you back from creating changes you wish to seek now?
2. Time- is of the essence. Are you here now because you want to be or because someone told you you should ? What is your commitment to this process of change? Why now? The extent of your dedication to yourself and to that which you are trying to achieve will ultimately determine the degree in which you will see the changes you desire.
3. Having realistic expectations. Things may get worse before they get better as you may fall back into old ways of being. This is the human essence of us- we crave comfort and familiarity and let’s be honest, it can be easier to keep the status quo. Knowing that things will get worse before they get better enables you to anticipate the ebbs and flows of change. Change is a process, and many are slow despite our efforts to speed things along. Resist this urge to get it done. You are a unique being deserving of the experiences to enrich your life. This cannot be rushed.
4. Maintain healthy connections. Being willing to seek support and surround yourself with people who motivate and encourage you is also essential. We are social creatures hardwired for connections. Moving through the changes, ebbs flows and all with others is as important to celebrating in the joys and fruits of life with important people in your life. Seeking support is not a weakness, yet rather a commitment and testament to self.
5. Practice, practice practice and more practice make better! Change is not isolated to weekly therapy sessions. Change requires an active commitment to applying the skills, much of what involves being mindful in y our day to day. It’s the in between sessions, your day-to-day life where the real work happens. Committing to engaging with your strength and values in a day to day along with the tasks to affect these changes requires your active participation on a day to day to manner.
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