Questions for Mid-life: How Do I Go About Changing the Way I Live?

We may have the feeling that we want to change something about the way we live but do not know how to go about it. To an extent this is because we live inside the problems we are trying to escape from, so from that position making changes, even seeing what changes might be like, is difficult, if not impossible. Making a meaningful change to our psychology and emotional well being involves changing and often breaking out of the world we are living in. How are we supposed to do something as challenging as that?

An image comes to mind of frontiersmen and women, explorers who made real geographical journeys because they knew that staying where they were was limiting and possibly dangerous to their own ongoing survival. So they travelled, to the west in search of new worlds and possibilities. These journeys were often dangerous but they knew they had to try to make them, not only for themselves but for their hopes for the future and for their children’s lives to come.

I use this image to make a point. Thankfully we may not have to think of getting the wagons ready to roll, in psychotherapy we have an alternative. The fact that you are frustrated that you are going round familiar problems again and again, I take as a sign that something within you is calling for a change to be made. Change is needed, you know it yourself and to my mind there is a real opportunity in this knowledge.

When I work with people I do not try to suggest or force my own ideas of how they should be living, rather I try to engage with them and with their frustrated feelings. In my work I try to help people find a way to engage with their own wish for change, and try to help them clear some space for that change to make itself felt. The more we can find out about this wish for change, the more life and energy we may be able to give it, and that bodes well for making the longed for changes. The fact that you find yourself going round this mood and feeling for the umpteenth time is a real sign and opportunity that change is desired. It may be time to get the wagons rolling.