Once a lightbulb, always a lightbulb

There’s that old joke, isn’t there, about how many therapists it takes to change a lightbulb: the answer being one – but the lightbulb has got to really want to change.


Perhaps it’s true that many who go into therapy do so in the hope that they’ll change as a result.

Maybe there’s something about themselves, or their life, that they don’t really like, and there’s a feeling that working with a professional will help them instigate change.

Nothing inherently wrong with that, I guess.

There can be times in life when we all need help and encouragement to move things on a bit.

Could it be, however, that there’s the danger of adopting an all-or-nothing mindset which drives us to assume that nothing can change unless everything does?

That, say, we can never be a satisfied caterpillar until we metamorphose into a butterfly?

Big earth-shattering changes such as these are generally thin on the ground in a lifetime.

When people do move on, it’s more often than not a slow-and-steady process rather than an overnight transition.

Knowing this, I wonder if it makes sense for us to place a little more emphasis upon being comfortable with who we are, rather than uncomfortable with who we’re not?

I suspect that this time tomorrow you’ll still be pretty much the person you are today, so it’s maybe a better use of the next 24 hours to look for reasons to feel good about yourself than it is to while away the time pining for changes which may be out of your reach.

You know what?

Sometimes the lightbulb may be reasonably happy as it is, thank you very much.

8 thoughts on “Once a lightbulb, always a lightbulb

  1. Nice post, Jon, thanks. Perhaps it doesn’t have to be binary – one can be comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time, and also want to change. But take the changes in small bites – the notion of ‘one (small) step at a time’. Like the week, we don’t have to take leaps in stretches of 7 days, it can be a day at a time!

  2. Hi, this was a really interesting post, but I have to disagree with you on people going into therapy. I don’t know if it’s true that a lot of people go into therapy looking for a sudden, huge change, or even in order to change who they are as a person. I think it’s to do with wanting to know yourself better, as you are, and through that learning to enable yourself to face life’s challenges more easily. I think therapy brings slow and steady progress in this regard, and encourages gradual change rather than hoping to change everything all at once. I haven’t come across an attitude to therapy like yours before, and I find it very intriguing. Thank you for your posts, I enjoy them all and they always give me food for thought. Have a great day!

    1. Hello Chloe. Speaking for myself, I agree with Jon. I don’t do therapy any more as it has never worked for me and maybe I expect too much but it takes much investment, mentally , time and financial to actually engage in therapy. Therefore a gradual change might take too long for an individual.
      In the UK it is expensive to have really good therapy and therefore if we decide to send our money on this, we expect fast (ish) results.
      A friend of mine in America has been having therapy for well over two years with the same counsellor. Her insurance pays for it. I think it takes this long or even a lifetime of therapy to actually see results.

      1. Hi! You’re right, therapy isn’t cheap. I had therapy for two years but I was a student, so got a reduced rate of £15 an hour. I think it’s a very individual thing, and it probably depends to some extent what you’re hoping it will affect. I think it’s a shame that it’s so expensive, and less accepted than it perhaps is in the US still. You can get ten sessions of therapy on the NHS for free, so that would suggest they expect to see quick results – I agree with you that this isn’t really possible. Hopefully one day it will be easier to get good therapy for less money

  3. Great analogy today Jon, thank you. Sometimes at this time of the year, we feel or we are made to feel we should change so many things about ourselves…but just being me is good enough today.

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