Are you about to do something hard, or maybe you’re already in the middle of doing something hard?
Sometimes life just ticks along, with ups and downs, but things basically stay the same. You know what’s happening, things might not always be easy, but they are usually manageable.
And other times, we find ourselves doing hard things. Some we choose, others are driven by someone else, and some things happen to us.
I’m thinking of things that involve change: looking for or starting a new job; a change in your relationship status; or a change to your family, for example.
Periods of transition and change can be really hard. Some of us rely on our routines to support our mental health, and so a change in routine can feel uncomfortable and make us wobble. Working out what new routine is going to work can be tricky, especially if you haven’t done it for a while, and I guess we are all aware of how hard it is to change a habit.
When we go through a period of change, perhaps our identity also changes. And if our identity shifts, then who we are can feel tenuous and vague, at least at first. When we used to feel solid in how we described ourselves, now we’re trying to work out how to best describe this new thing. What language are we going to use, and how do we feel about it? It’s hard navigating these things.
As well as things changing for you, you might also be wrestling with the reactions of the people close to you. While you figure out your new identity or path, your family and friends might have their own feelings and opinions about it, that they want to share with you. A supportive friend or family member is gold in hard times, someone who’s there for you, on your side. But when you change, this can unsettle people around you – maybe they are worried that you’re moving out of their reach, or are you reminding them of some hard things of their own they’d like to do?
I don’t know if you’ve watched any of the TV series ‘The Piano’ on Channel 4? Amateur pianists play on pianos in the middle of train stations for huge crowds. Some of the pianists make this look easy – although of course we don’t know what is happening for them internally. For others, they are clear that they are doing a really hard thing. In Episode 3, about 5 minutes from the start, the host Claudia meets Dana. Dana really wants to perform, but she is also really scared, she’s not sure how it’s going to go. She goes wrong, but she carries on and does well, with her own determination and Claudia’s support.
And for me, that is what counselling can offer you – a place where you can explore doing hard things. If you are thinking about doing something hard soon, your counsellor can help you talk about what it might be like, and what you might need to support you. If you’re already in the middle of a hard thing, your counsellor can be there to support you in talking through what is going on, and what it might all mean. Are you looking back and only just now realising that you just got through something really hard? Talking about it with your counsellor can be really helpful in processing what has changed.
And I can’t close this post without directing you to a podcast: We Can Do Hard Things!
Good luck to you with your hard things – with choosing them, doing them and coming out the other side. And good luck also if right now isn’t the time for you to do a hard thing – we definitely don’t have to do hard things all the time! If you are looking for a counsellor to support you, have a look around this website, you’ll find a How to find a counsellor guide.