Life isn’t always easy but we can struggle against the current of change or we can embrace it.
Change can be abrupt; like when we lose a loved one, a job, or develop an illness, or change can happen gradually over time; such as children growing up and leaving the nest, or dissatisfaction in a relationship or a career. But however it happens, you cannot avoid it. CHANGE HAPPENS!
In my life, change is almost always accompanied with a feeling of being slapped in the face. It happens quick and has a certian wow factor to it! I don’t ponder career choices – I lose jobs I love with no advance warning. Serious illnesses pop up like daffodils in the spring, and although I hate moving and always swear this is the last time, I change homes every 3-5 years!
Sudden changes never feel good when they are happening but I’ve learned a lot from the changes I’ve had to endure and I now have a brighter outlook about change.
– can bring better opportunities
– can teach us new things
– motivates us to reflect on what’s important & valued
– can teach us what NOT to do in the future
– almost always carries a message for us
When you choose to make a change in your life it’s quite easy to feel positive about the change but when change is forced upon you it’s a lot more difficult to be optimistic about it!
Whenever change is forced upon me, I allow myself 24 hours of self pity and anger, and then I analyze the change. I ask myself what role I played leading up to the change (being brutally honest with yourself is the only way to go). Was I responsible for the change? Did my actions, inaction, or attitude cause the unwanted change?
If I played a role in bringing about the change, I again allow myself 24 hours to mentally beat myself up for it. Then I accept responsibility for my actions and ask myself what can I learn from this experience and do I need to make any personal changes to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Hanging on to feelings of guilt takes too much energy so I look for the lesson I’m being taught and move on.
I have recently started to keep a log in the back of my journal of the lessons I’ve learned from unexpected or forced change. I review the list periodically to make sure that I’m not slipping back in to old patterns that are going to cause the same results. It’s one thing to say you’ve learned a lesson, but we are creatures of habit and it is very easy to slip back in to old patterns. The log helps me remember what the universe has already taught me so that I don’t have to repeat the lesson.
Sometimes though, we don’t play a role in causing the change. After analyzing the change, if I can’t find any personal responsibility for it I let it go. I have accepted that there are things, people, and circumstances that are beyond my control and I focus instead on what I can control.
What I control:
My Attitude and Thoughts
My Actions and Reactions
My Beliefs, my Dreams, my Hopes
What I do NOT control:
Other peoples Attitudes, Thoughts,
Actions, Reactions, Beliefs, Dreams, & Hopes
When a situation is out of my control and I know I didn’t bring it on myself, I resort to faith. I am not a religious person but I do believe that there is a force at work in this universe that controls the things that I cannot. I have to believe that this God, Higher Spirit, or whatever you choose to call it, knows more than I do and that there is reason behind whatever happens. I might not understand the reason for an unexpected change but I have faith that everything happens for a reason and that someday maybe I’ll understand why the change was forced upon me.
Examples of the changes I’ve endured and the lessons I’ve learned will have to wait for another day as this entry is already getting a bit long (my loved ones tell me that I tend to ramble on a bit!), however a summary might be useful!
1. Change cannot be avoided.
2. Change can bring better opportunities, teach us valuable life lessons, and motivate us to reflect on our values.
3. Analyze what caused the change and accept any responsibility you have for it.
4. Give yourself a chance to feel self pity, anger, and guilt but never for more than 24 hours at a time. These emotions will drain your energy and will not constructively help you to move forward.
5. Remember that there are things that are beyond your control.
6. Watch for the lessons or ‘messages’ that change is sending you and try keeping a log so that you don’t have to repeat them.
7. Have faith that everything happens for a reason.
8. Accept that you might not understand it right now, but that it is for some unknown reason going to benefit you in the long run.
Some of my favorite sayings that help me cope with change are:
This too shall pass!
Everything happens for a reason!
If it is meant to be, it will be!