Self-work is a process. It does not produce results overnight (or, much to the chagrin of our insurance companies, after eight prescribed therapy sessions). It is not achieved by rote behavioral changes (though these are Useful survival techniques) or by shaming ourselves into being different. It works gradually, through regular self-reflection and checking in with all our Parts. It takes patience, consistency, and time.
And then one day, seemingly out of nowhere, we find ourselves in a better place than we were yesterday. We wake up one morning and find that things are easier than they once were: that our anxiety has calmed a bit, that our confidence has grown, that our relationships have strengthened.
This does not happen by accident, but it doesn’t happen by sheer force, either. Change is not inevitable, nor is it hard won. It happens when practiced with intention day by day, year over year, and is so quiet that you hardly know it’s happening until you look in the mirror and realize you’ve become a different version of yourself. It is the accumulating of a million little drops of water to create an ocean.
Gentle and progressive change is the reward of self-work.