Lately “I’m not ready yet” has been coming up a lot. I’ve heard it–and said it myself-many times, and of course it usually makes sense. Everyone need time to let wounds heal, get re-oriented to new situations, settle in after upheavals. But when does “healing” become “hiding out?” How do you discern what’s truly in your best interests, in the big picture of your life?
You’ll hear it about eating, drinking, and smoking habits: I know if I get back on my program I’ll stop this self-destructive behavior, but I’m not ready yet. And also, about starting new, prosocial behaviors: I know I’ll feel better when I expand my social group, but I’m not ready yet.
Obviously, we’re all different when it comes to how rapidly we take on big changes. Some people like to gather a lot of information, learn the details, and calculate the outcome probabilities. They’re very careful. and can spin in circles indefinitely. Others dive in recklessly and get repeated injuries. So how do you find that balanced center, where you are vulnerable enough to connect enough?
Maybe you could start with savoring what seems to be going well in your life, where you feel full and okay enough (nothing is perfect!) That’s important to acknowledge–there’s probably a lot that you’re doing well, so appreciate and enjoy this. You made it happen!
Then you can see what’s missing for you, what you want more of –when you’re ready. And be careful to be gentle about this. Saying you want something when you don’t have it can be painful–but saying you don’t want it is being inauthentic, and that can twist you around a lot more. It’s what we call “sour grapes” and it’s not really good for human development!
What is good for all of us, I think, is to stretch toward expansion, being a little more open to others, a little more vulnerable, taking little chances. Please note the word “little.” Scaring yourself out of these tasks isn’t going to help! If you’ve ever had a physical injury from exercising too hard or too fast you know what I mean…easing into it is the way to go.
So when you’re saying “I’m not ready” maybe ask yourself–Ready for what? A first small step that would take me in that direction? That seems more likely that the terrifying dives most of us contemplate when we’re feeling unready.
About Dr. Glenda Corwin: Glenda Corwin, Ph.D is a clinical psychologist who specializes in lesbian sexual issues. She is the author of Sexual Intimacy for Women: A Guide for Same Sex Couples (Seal Press, 2010). Dr. Corwin writes for the Huffington Post: Gay Voices, for the e-magazine Epochalips, as well as her own blog on www.DrGlendaCorwin.com. She presents frequently at professional conferences, and is a regular guest on Barb Elgin’s LesbianLoveTalk radio program.