I took my kids to Funderland for the fist time the other day. All of you Sacramento natives probably know the spot...the good ol' amusement park that time forgot. It didn't take long for my kids to zero in on that train and get in line for their turn to ride.
This sweet little train ride immediately took us into what seemed to be a quite dark and long tunnel...no easing in here folks, right to the scary part. I looked back at my little one's to see their response to the unexpected and abrupt darkness and I noticed both of them leaning forward, almost perched in their seats searching for light ahead.
I wanted to offer them a bit of encouragement as we traveled through the dark tunnel, but I realized that they worst way to calm their uncertainty was to "Don't worry guys, it's just a tunnel". The much more reassuring statement was something like "Gosh, it's pretty dark in here, can you see where the train is leading us?"
It made me think of something I'm constantly hearing in my own life journey as well as something I'm sure I've said before in therapy.....Trust the process. Telling someone to trust the process when we are smack dab in the middle of a challenging journey isn't necessarily helpful? I mean although it's a nice statement in theory, it has a way of invalidating how scary the journey is right now, am I right?
Because honestly, the process is really scary and sorta sucks! Brutal, I know, but there is often very little reward or perspective that comes when you are gosh darn in the middle of something really hard and challenging. It's scary, it's unknown and it can feel like each giant leap we take is barely a baby's step.
So what gives? Why are we constantly offering reassurance to others about trusting the process when what we should instead say something like, "Yes this stinks right now and I know it's really hard to see how hard you're working and how amazing you are but each step you take and choice you make is leading you in the right direction".
Wouldn't that be a lot better than some cliche "trust the process"?
Because in reality, we don't have perspective when we are on the journey. Life is one of the few journey's that doesn't offer us a rear-view mirror until after we've arrived at our destination.
But this is what I know, the process....as scary, overwhelming and confusing as it is, really is the amazing part. It's the part where we are growing and stretching. Gathering self-awareness and insight. Making movement and taking action. And no matter how small those steps are, you are getting there. You are not trying to change, you ARE changing.
The process is not meant to torture us, it's meant to challenge us. And I know with certainty that the fears we confront in the process of change are usually smaller than we imagined.
So be bold, be fearless and when in doubt be patient with yourself as you make way on your journey, because it isn't usually until after we've arrived that we realized how we needed to get there. You can master this dark tunnel...I promise!
I can't wait to hear about what the process has looked like for you. And, if you feel stuck in the process, give a call, maybe we can troubleshoot it together.
916.955.3200 or firstname.lastname@example.org