Monday, January 01, 2007

Change…? Okay. But What is It? And What’s Different?

Over the past few weeks, I have read numerous blog Posts talking about “resolutions” and “change” (e.g., Wowimo, Happy and Blue 2, and the Wink). And, as you may have noticed, I myself have done likewise. Nonetheless, let’s pause for a moment and look at the phenomenon of change. Fundamentally, “change denotes the transition that occurs when something goes from being the same to being different.”

Many times in my 33 years as a licensed psychologist when a client would say something like, “I’m so excited… it really has changed,” I frequently would say, “I truly believe and respect your excitement. But may I ask two questions: What’s it? And, what’s different?”

Part of my exploratory questioning has to do with specifically what it is? And another is: did it really change or did its appearance change. For example, one of my favorite old clichés goes something like… If you strap a stack of dictionaries on the back of a donkey, it’s still an ass.

Another potentially relevant concern has to do with whether it really changed or whether you merely are seeing it (perceiving it) differently. In my recently published pop psych book, Mom and Dad’s Pearls of Wisdom… You Gotta Love ’Em, in one of the 50 vignettes I talk about my experience of talking with a lovely woman, Alison, who I met at a biker bar. While enjoying a cold beer on a warm afternoon, we heard one person look at a parked motorcycle and say, “I just love that bike” and another person later whisper, “I wouldn’t want that bike if you gave it to me.” Obviously, she and I were careful not to acknowledge our awareness of the latter comment. Then, out of the corner of her mouth, Alison murmured, “I love my father’s Vince Lombardi like quote: Perception isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” Likewise, in my romance novels it is not uncommon for a heroine’s attitudes and feelings about something to change. For example, have you ever found yourself saying or thinking: “When we first met and he did that, I thought it was cute… now when he does it, I cringe.”

So, the next time you say or think something like, “I’m so excited… it really has changed,” ask yourself: What is it? What’s different? Did it really change or is it that my perception of it changed? And/or, have my feelings and attitudes about it changed?

Remember, sometimes the more things change the more they stay the same.

Now that’s different… Bill


Anonymous said...

That's good advice. I will henceforth and hitherto not enjoy any positive changes that occur in my life. If they actually change. Which seems somewhat unlikely, ha,ha..

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Thanks... I so enjoy your sense of humor. Nonetheless, I suspect that there will be positive change in your life in 2007 (at least I hope so) -- embrace it and enjoy the ride! Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

If I can lose about ten pounds I don't care if my body actually changes or if it's just the way the scale perceives me - I'll take it! Best of luck in the New Year!

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Yeah, I hear ya, Maconole -- if you don't feel good about losing the ten pounds, then why do it in the first place. With all best wishes to you and your family in 2007,