Changes Are Hard

Changes are hard. Everyone says it. We all know it. But until we are in a position ourselves of being in transition or making a huge life change, we really don’t know what it’s going to be like for us.

Planning a wedding and getting married is stressful. I have some friends that LOVED the process, and some others kept their weddings smaller to avoid the headaches.

Buying a home and moving is stressful. Some people have done it once and the experience was so aversive they are set on never moving again, and other people (me) found it stressful, but mostly exciting.

Then there’s the change that I made. I changed jobs. Sometimes people change careers which is a whole other blog post, but changing jobs within the same career is hard enough.

Back in October, I left my 8-5 full time salary job to come live my best life at DBT of South Jersey. I knew without a doubt that this was a move I wanted to make and was working toward for at least a year, and once all of the stars were aligned;  I was prepared to make the transition, I was beyond excited. Seriously. You could not tell me anything, I was seeing everything about this change through rose-colored glasses. I’ll have more flexibility, I’ll be able to help a greater variety of people, I’ll gain so much experience, and learn from so many different people, I’ll be able to spend more time with my dog, and the list goes on. All of those things have come true. I’m learning more every day and my dog had never been more spoiled. I am happy with the change that I made and I don’t regret it for a second.

My nonjudgmental practice comes with the things about changing jobs that I don’t hear people talk about very often – how hard it can be to try to mesh into a new team, practice, way of doing things, and what it feels like to make mistakes, get things wrong, and not know everything about the place you work. I was at my last job for just over three years, I started there as an intern and while I never thought I knew everything, parts of that job became easy because I knew exactly what was expected and I had the answers to a lot of questions. That is not true right now (yet).

It has been really difficult for me to adjust to this new job and expectations, but it has been more challenging to notice thoughts and feelings that I have not had at work in years. Making mistakes and noticing thoughts like “I don’t fit in here, I clearly wasn’t meant to work here or in this setting.” Noticing guilt over my mistakes despite the fact that they have been human mistakes. I’ve been feeling self-doubt about my choice when things have felt hard and when I’ve allowed those judgments to become loud and take over my mind.

Over the past few months I have had to work relentlessly almost every day to practice nonjudgmentally in response to my self-judgments and unjustified emotions. Nonjudgmentally is one DBT’s mindfulness skills so it takes awareness, intention, and patience (see the title-emphasis on ongoing). The goal is to replace judgments with facts in order to decrease suffering and increase experience in the present moment. I’ve gone out of my way to observe my thoughts and emotions, describe them for what they are (not facts) and state what the facts are. Here’s what I’ve come up with – I started a new job and I have been full time there for almost three months. There are many (I could count but…trust me there are a lot) new procedures to learn. I am working with a new computer system. I am getting to know a team of new clinicians and staff and I am still learning their personalities and how I relate to them professionally and personally. My work schedule is no longer the same each day. I am using DBT with clients in a completely different setting for the first time. Looking at all of these facts, doesn’t it make sense that anyone would have a hard time transitioning? OF COURSE!

In the past few weeks, I’ve realized that anyone in my position would be struggling. Since gaining awareness in that way, being more mindful of my thoughts and emotions, replacing judgments with facts, talking to my supervisor and other coworkers, family and just generally being nicer to myself my suffering and anxiety have decreased significantly. I still have my moments where I am hard on myself, I am still figuring out how I’m going to catch up on things I still don’t know, but the point is that non-judgmentally is a practice and it is meant to be ongoing. Maybe I’ll get to a place where I can completely eliminate self-doubt and judgments in this new job, but then I’ll need to use this skill in a different area. When that time comes, I’ll be ready because let me tell you – I have been PRACTICING this skill.

Changes Are Hard

DBT of South Jersey media

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