Change is the one constant on this planet. It is also perhaps the one thing most sentient creatures abhor above all else.
Change is uncertainty. Change is unease. Change is something we spend a lot of time avoiding. Because at the heart of it, if things stay the same then we know exactly what we’re going to get and thus, we are safe.
So, most of us spend a large amount of time mitigating change. Then, when it happens to us anyway, we spend a lot of time complaining about it and trying to fix it so it goes back the way it was. The comfortable, known, way.
While sometimes change is the result of tragedy or terrible events, more often change is the softer kind that leaves mostly annoyed and put-out on a daily basis. Maybe your usual route to work is under construction. Perhaps that 7:30am meeting you rushed so hard to get to was cancelled just as you pulled in the parking lot.
Sometimes the changes aren’t quite so soft. Maybe you lost your job, or your long-term relationship has ended. These changes are painful and scary. They leave you reeling, unsure of what to do next. It seems so much easier to just not do anything. These are the times when hiding under the covers seems the most appealing.
With any and every change, you have a choice. You can accept circumstances as they are now and move forward with this new information, or you can not accept the circumstances and fight to return to what was. I’m not saying these choices are always easy, mind you. Just that you have them. It is far easier to choose a new route to work than it is to choose to accept a relationship is over. What I’m saying is, how you choose to react to the change (accept or fight) determines the path you travel.
Accepting change (especially when someone else initiates it and you’re left dealing with the consequences) is a difficult thing. Many times, it requires a period of grief or contemplation before continuing on to the next steps. Many of us, instead of taking time to pause and integrate this information – and this is certainly my modus operandii – jump straight to reacting to the change. Which, more often than not, ends up being a whole chain of actions that either make things worse or are regrettable later.
When faced with a change that seems bigger than you care to deal with, force yourself to take a step back. Before reacting, instead ask yourself the following questions (in no particular order):
- Is this change a big problem in the grand scheme of things, or does it feel big now?
- Is this something that needs to be dealt with right now, or can it wait?
- What are the steps I need to take now, with this new information I have?
- Is this something I can handle on my own, or do I need help? Who can help me with this?
- Do I need to take time to come to terms with this change before I start making big decisions?
Be kind to yourself during the big changes. Do what you need to do to feel taken care of, safe, and secure. Take the time you need, and think before making decisions. If you need help, ask for it. If you need time, take it. When going through a big change, be sure to integrate extra self-care time in when you can. Whether that is a long walk, a bubble bath, or a good session at the gym, that time is for you. You will find that this time to reconnect to your Self becomes invaluable and often clears the mind so new solutions can be found.
We are changing. Every minute of every second we change. We are not the same being we were five minutes ago. And who we are five minutes from now is someone completely different from who are are in this moment. Change is inevitable; how we choose to live with it is up to us.