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Small Changes are Worth Celebrating

Posted on: Thursday, March 15th, 2012

There is an old saying that states: a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. A twist to the last statement asks, which mile is the most important in the journey of a thousand miles? Answer is, every single one of them.

As a Calgary marriage counselor I am involved with helping couples navigate through change in themselves and in their partner. Sometimes there is frustration at the lack of change or the slowness of change. It can be discouraging to have patterns of fighting repeat themselves even after counseling or unhealthy behaviors, negative thoughts, or depressive feelings linger longer than you would like. Change is usually slow and incremental in nature and the same is true for us. However, each step in the change process is as important as the next. Each little bit of change is worth celebrating for that reason.

First we have to become good at noticing the small changes. We have to modify our expectations and look back and ask, “what is different from a week ago, a month ago, a year ago, from when we first started working on our relationship…in us and in our partner?” We then have to identify that change has actually happened. Maybe you used to blow up and fight 3 times a week and now you only fight once a week.

There are many ways to celebrate little amounts of change. A simple acknowledgement may be a start, high five’s, a dinner out, mention of the change to someone other than your spouse, a song written and sang, a certificate awarded to yourself. It is helpful to check off that one mile has been traveled and while there may be many more miles yet, this last mile was an important one.

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