It’s Never the Right Time
Updated: Apr 17, 2020
“It’s just not a good time right now.”
Do you find yourself thinking and saying this until it makes you nauseous to hear your own voice? I hear this statement applied to a plethora of issues in my practice. It’s a belief that keeps my clients stuck and prevents them from making important life changes.
Eating: It’s never the right time to wake up before work to get in a workout, invest in healthier meals which take longer to prepare, tell your parents you’re struggling with restriction and that you need their support, or ask your partner to support you when you start eating kale and quinoa instead of macaroni and cheese. Yes, these changes are difficult, but they WILL NOT get easier tomorrow, next month, or next year. Instead, they will get decidedly harder because (spoiler alert) our lives only get more complicated as we age. Starting today is scary and difficult, but starting tomorrow is equally as painful and also brings with it a sense of frustration from the previous days, months, and years of stalling.
Gender Transition: It’s never the right time to come out to yourself and others--there’s always something. While this statement is an inconvenient truth, it also devastates the lives of those it holds captive. Many of my clients consider others before thinking of themselves. It’s easy to do: problems with parents, siblings, or other family members seem to be more important, and soon the frustration builds to an intolerable level. If you constantly think of everyone else, you’ll never prioritize yourself and make the transition. It’s never convenient to tell your partner or parent you are questioning your gender, or that you’ve always known you were born into the wrong body. It’s a brave, life-changing step, and requires an immense amount of patience and compassion as you absorb the reactions of others. Although this can be an incredibly painful process, it can also have a fantastic long-term payoff: the joy of living your life authentically as you—something cisgender people take for granted.
Relationships: Statistically, couples come to therapy years after they should. Why do they wait so long? “It wasn’t the right time." There will always be a reason to avoid relationship struggles, but it’s best to confront them earlier rather than later. Conflict is painful, but temporary, and working through relationship problems will steer you and your partner in the right direction. No, it’s never the right time to end it, and yes, breakups are hard, but the longer you wait, the longer you delay the potential for happiness and growth.
“The best time has already happened” When it comes to making difficult life changes like improving your health, coming out to your loved ones or seeking couples counseling, it’s easy to think that way. Stop! That thought is a trap that keeps you stuck. Idealizing the past or the “perfect” time perpetuates the belief that the future will be ideal. Let me tell you, it’s not. It’s never ideal, and if you wait for ideal, you’ll stay stuck and continue to suffer. We cannot go back—only forward. The relief of engaging fully and authentically in your life is worth it.
Dr. Emily A. Kerr is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and owner of EK Counseling, LLC, a Denver therapy practice. With over eight years of experience treating individuals and couples, she brings her candor, humor, and motivation to each session. She specializes in eating disorders, body image struggles, sexuality and gender, life transitions, general anxiety, and building self-esteem. If you are struggling to make a transition, or you just need extra support to create lasting lifestyle changes, please call to schedule an appointment.