Long Train, Big Mountain

Since I've worked as an Atlanta counselor and psychotherapist for decades I've been fortunate to frequently witness people making heroic changes in their lives. Sometimes these are major transformations that are evident to anyone close enough to notice, but often the kinds of changes that make the most difference in the long run are subtle and not immediately evident to anyone other than the person who is undertaking them. One of the many challenges along your journey of personal growth occurs during the initial period when other people either don't notice the change you're making or don't believe that it's real.

It's gratifying when other people notice the changes you are trying to implement in your life, and even better to feel supported in your efforts. But people often don't notice right away. It's like growing your hair longer: the transition to a new style won't be evident for some time, even when you know it's happening.

An analogy I sometimes use is to think of a long train traveling over a hill. The engine may get to the peak and see the view on the other side before some cars have even started up the incline. We are the engines of our own lives, and while we can see where we are heading others are back in the caboose and may not even notice the view has begun to change until much further down the line.

This is a very relevant mataphor for the recovery process many couples face when they are trying to heal from chronic infidelity and the associated deceptions that often surround and protect these behaviors.  When I'm helping Atlanta men and women with this problem I will use this metaphor to point out that the person who is working to live with in integrity may celebrate some vision of a better life while the hurt partner is often still down in the valley of despair.

Like any worthwhile endeavor, you may make solitary gains before the benefits become evident, even to yourself.  Keep going!  When you make a conscious change in the way you live simply because it's right thing to do then it's not as important whether those around you can tell the difference right away. By the time many of them notice what's been happening you will have developed a healthy momentum that will carry you far down the line to your more developed self.


Bill Herring, LCSW, CSAT is an experienced Atlanta-based counselor and psychotherapist wo helps individuals and couples seeking to live a happier and more meaningful life.  He is a nationally recognized specialist on compulsive sexual behavior, chronic sexual infidelities, sex and porn addiction and other forms of problematic sexual behavior.