What are your thoughts on this? Most of us understand that if we really want to see a different result in our circumstances, we must be willing to do something different than we’ve been doing. That usually means we give something up to get something better. Perhaps you swap a bad, yet comforting habit for a healthier one. Or, you make an upgrade in how you spend free time that costs you a bit more time or money. Okay, that seems reasonable. But is there another catch? If making changes in your life results in positive outcomes, is there a downside to positive change?
It may get worse but always gets better.
In previous posts, I’ve examined the hidden costs of delaying important changes. It’s a subject that comes up often as I sit with coaching clients who are contemplating making major life changes. And there are always costs to be weighed in the balance. When changes are needed, there’s the cost of temporary discomfort that must be weighed against long-term fulfillment. There’s the potential to lose relationships built on unhealthy patterns versus the potential for gaining more stable relationships based on healthier foundations. Many times, important changes come with a financial cost. But regardless of the situation, change costs you something. And if it’s a positive change, most people decide the price is worth paying.
So, is there any downside to positive change? The short answer: YES, there is. Since change is a process, there’s usually a short-term downside, and here it is: Things can get worse before they get better!
I know. I know! No one likes to hear that, including me. But we’re limited humans and most of us don’t fully embrace change to the point that we suddenly abandon every response we’ve practiced making. We don’t just instantly stop doing things we’ve always done. We have to focus on our reasons for change and use a lot of grit and determination to stick to them. And along the way, there are people involved that may not be as excited about the changes we’re making.
For example, if you’re changing a parenting habit
You can be certain your child will have a thing or two to say about it. Why would a determined toddler who’s perfected the art of attaining more screen time with well-choreographed meltdowns be excited about your new zero tolerance of those Oscar-winning performances? As you work to draw firm, consistent boundaries that stand, the younger members of your family will consistently test those new boundaries to see if it’s a fluke, or if the jig is truly up. Some kids will actually feel relieved. But some will mourn the loss of their perceived freedom and fight back for a time. Therefore, changing your parenting habits can make things temporarily “worse,” before they get better. But they do get better!
If you’re changing the way you engage with your spouse
This one is certain to create some waves. Spouses create patterns of communication with each other. Some patterns are designed to arrive at a compromise or resolution. Some are designed to trigger and sidetrack so that certain topics never get addressed. If your purpose is to make positive changes in your marriage, be ready for the discomfort that comes along with adjustments in these patterns of communication. It’s a temporary situation and it may feel like things are worsening. But know that if you stay the course, healthy, positive change that brings you closer is the result.
And what about the kind of personal changes that help you in your own development but may make others feel convicted about their own self-made circumstances?
For example, if you’re simply choosing to keep positive thoughts about the people you work with, you may become annoying to those who are used to bringing you the latest gossip. Your renewed focus on solutions rather than problems may cause friction with those who would rather complain about workplace problems. The changes you make in your own personal conduct may initially reduce your connection with others. But eventually, you become a GO-TO problem solver who chooses to see the opportunities the situation provides.
The upside of the downside to positive change.
Think about a physical illness or toxic condition you’re actively treating. When you first begin to address it, the conditions that created the problem still exist. What’s more, you’re bringing underlying problems to the surface that also need time to heal. But HEALING IS THE OUTCOME! Meaningful, positive changes in the way you relate to yourself or others works the same way. Just because you’re changing your approach doesn’t mean you can experience instant change. You still must deal with the dynamics you’ve created in your relationships and circumstances. But HEALTHIER WAYS OF INTERACTING AND RELATING TO OTHERS WILL RESULT.
If your changes are for your good or the good of others, you will need to exercise grace and patience for those directly affected by them. An understanding of inner design for all those who have a direct stake in your changes will expedite the shift from a little worse to a lot better. Let the team at InnerKinetics help your UPSIDE show up as soon as possible.
Step 1: Take the InnerKinetics® Assessment to determine your unique inner design and discover your unique strengths.
Step 2: Grab a copy of this book that shows you how to live in your strengths and eliminate weaknesses. InnerKinetics – Your Blueprint to Excellence and Happiness
Step 3: Consider personal coaching if you need more support. If your particular circumstances are just too complicated to sort through on your own, request a consultation and an InnerKinetics consultant will call you to answer questions and schedule your meeting.