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What Ice Cubes Teach Us About Change

Photo by Mahkeo on Unsplash

Have you ever watched an ice cube melt? It’s not the most exciting way to spend an afternoon, but it conveys a valuable lesson about the process of change.

An ice cube in a typical freezer has a temperature of around 0°F (-18°C). If you take it out of the freezer and set it on a countertop you’ll need to watch it for quite a while until you seen any signs of change, as ice begins turning to water only when it reaches 32°F (0°C). It may seem as though this overt change occurs suddenly, but in fact the ice has been warming slowly but surely the entire time. Hidden from sight, before any change is visible to the eye, the ice’s temperature has actually changed 32 degrees Fahrenheit!

People change in much the same way. If you’re actively working to improve your emotional wellbeing, there is most certainly progress happening beneath the surface. Studies have even shown that the brain creates new neural connections as therapy unfolds. But we can’t see neural connections, and we may not perceive change until it manifests as new behavior. That means that over a certain period of time progress may not be apparent.

But, just like an ice cube, people often change internally before signs of progress are visible. If you’re developing insight and gaining awareness, then you’re moving in the right direction. Keep at it, and when the time is right the results will be plain to see.

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