In my earlier years, a great college professor introduced me to the book “Wherever You Go, There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn. This book heightened my awareness of acknowledging that “the grass is not always greener on the other side.”

We often believe life might be easier if we move to the other town, buy the other house or leave the old for an exciting new marriage. We are still the same person in the new town, house or marriage.

Yes, we shift through the years, but if we don’t heal from our wounds, we just take with us whatever baggage we have.

We get lost in what we should do versus what we need to do. What we do with our wounds and the journey of change matters.

Maybe this is one reason why change can be so hard.

Sometimes we move from one transition to another without a care in the world. It is clear. There are no doubts.

However, there are times we feel absolutely stagnant.

The journey of change can be frightening.

When predictability disappears, our sense of safety feels lost. When we are motionless, human nature can move toward negative coping strategies.

Ask yourself, “What loss or emptiness am I trying to fill with poor choices?”

These habits might include substance abuse, harmful relationship choices or sometimes, just plain fear of making the wrong decision.

We know these unhealthy habits might block out the immediate discomfort, although when we sit on a decision, this can inevitably intensify anxiety. Below are some helpful tips on moving through the journey of change.

  1. Trust your instincts. Listen to your body. This will not only increase your self-confidence, but might land you in a better place.
  2. Change can be a growth opportunity, even if the end result is poor. We can learn from loss and gain more clarity of what is truly crucial.
  3. Accept an “okay” outcome. Oftentimes we strive for a perfect end result. Sometimes a decision needs to be good enough. There is no such thing as “perfect.”
  4. Let go of bad habits by replacing them with new healthy ones.
  5. Don’t stuff your emotions. Be genuinely open with intentions and feelings.

Philosopher Lao Tzu sums it up beautifully by sharing, “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”

Ultimately, we know our true direction. Sometimes, we just need a helping hand in doing so.

Jodi Watts, MA, is a licensed professional counselor, certified addiction counselor and associate with Psychological and Counseling Associates of the Lowcountry, LLC in Bluffton.