The Pain Of Staying The Same

When the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change… you’ll change…

The first time I heard that I was a 22-year old single mother working in an office atmosphere that, at times, bordered on abusive.

I was getting ready to leave for the airport to pick up my boss, and I’d called Mom to let her know I’d be late picking up my son. But, as so often happened when I started talking about my job, I ended up whining and complaining about how unhappy I was.

Mom, who isn’t an overly-patient person to begin with, had reached her limit of listening to me whine without making any effort to change my situation. So in a very non-emotional… almost bored tone… she said,

“Well, when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change, I guess you’ll change.”

I gripped the phone tighter and narrowed my eyes as I stared at the calendar hanging on the wall in front of me. I was shocked by her response, because it sounded like she was telling me to either stop complaining or… quit my job?

It was a terrible situation, but the thought of leaving was terrifying.

I was afraid if I left that job I’d go from bad to worse… worse being no job at all. And since my ex-husband didn’t pay child support, and I was solely responsible for providing for my baby… I had to have my job!

Drawing in short, shallow breaths, confused and incredulous at the bizarre turn of our conversation, I asked her to clarify. “Are you telling me to quit?”

Now, Mom was coming from an entirely different emotional state than me. She was viewing my situation from a place of love and possibility…

  • She wanted me to be happy, which I obviously wasn’t…
  • She saw my potential and knew I wasn’t living up to my abilities…
  • She wanted more for me, and she knew I could have it, so yeah… she was basically giving me permission to go find something better.

I, on the other hand, was coming from a place of fear… I was depressed, which is a low vibrational energy… I was scared, which caused me to have a “lack and scarcity” mentality… 

And because I was contracted with a narrowed focus, all I could see was my yucky situation and pain. I couldn’t see the amazing possibilities that were out there waiting for me like Mom could.

I decided to borrow her faith in me, and on my way to the airport, I stopped and grabbed a newspaper!

I remember the nervous energy coursing through me as I sat in the airport parking lot perusing the want ads… I was excited by the possibility of doing something different… something better… I was also really afraid… 

To keep myself moving forward, I repeated Mom’s comment out loud, over and over…

“The pain of staying the same is too much… I’m ready to change… I want something better… I want something more… I’m open to possibilities…”

One of the ads I circled was for a receptionist position at an advertising agency. I ended up getting the job… which led me to a career in advertising that I loved, but more than that… through that career, I met my second husband, Charles. 💗

Looking back on it, the risk was minimal. I didn’t quit that awful job until I had a new one lined up… and even though I didn’t know what the working environment at the new job would be like until I started… it would’ve been difficult to end up someplace worse.

I wouldn’t have taken a new job that paid less than my old one, which was barely over minimum wage, so that wasn’t much of a gamble either.

So with the benefit of hindsight, I look back and think… why?

Why… Why did I wait so long to make a change?

But we all do that sometimes… don’t we? We know we need to make a change… we need to leave a toxic relationship, and yet we don’t. We’re no longer challenged by our job… or it’s sucking the life out of us, like mine was me… but rather than go find something that serves us better, we stay stuck.

So let me ask you… is there any place in your life where you feel stuck? Is there something you’d really like to change, but you keep holding yourself back?

It doesn’t have to be a big, life-changing thing… it could be something most people would consider small or insignificant… but it’s important to you… something that isn’t exactly the way you want.

(Last year, I did a 10-part video series called “Courage To Change.” It was primarily for women who love addicts… women who know they need to make changes in their life, but they keep letting fear hold them back. If you’re interested, you can watch the series on YouTube. )

Remember… change doesn’t have to be painful… it can be exciting and even peaceful… it all depends on your intention, expectation, and what you make of it.

I wish you much peace and love,

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