It's not so much that we're afraid of change
or so in love with the old ways, but it's that place in between
that we fear . . . It's like being between trapezes.
It's Linus when his blanket is in the dryer.
There's nothing to hold on to.
~ Marilyn Ferguson
Everyone wants to be happy. Everyone wants a life that is satisfying, however each person defines satisfaction and happiness. You may be ready, or more than ready, to let go of old ways of being that are unsatisfying, stagnant or suffocating. You may be able to imagine the life you desire, be able to describe it in outline form or in great detail.
Yet the process of getting from here to there often is overwhelming. It may feel like jumping over a huge abyss without a safety net. Or like leting go of one trapeze bar, hovering in mid-air, trusting the other bar will appear at the just right moment for you to grab it; if not, you fear facing a horrifying fall.
Or you may feel like Linus without his blanket, absolutely terrified of life without the comfort of the old and familiar, though completely worn out, ways of coping. The familiar is so comforting even when it is painful, or stultifying or completely unsatisfying. It feels SAFE. Nothing to hold onto doesn't feel safe, in fact usually feels perilous. And yet sometimes it's time to let go, time to risk, time to stop holding on so tight. Time to believe and trust that there is a way to get to what you desire for your life. That's a lot of what is involved in the process of therapy. Therapy itself, and the relationship with your therapist, are there when you let go, are there to help face that transition.
Peggy Handler, MFT, is a psychotherapist in San Francisco's Noe Valley