Embrace Change During Transitional Times
The Task: Choose one prompt everyday
1) Think about a time from your past where you went through a big change. Write about how you were feeling when presented with this change. Write about how you grew because of this experience.
2) Think about a change you are experiencing right now. Right about how this change makes you feel. Write down all you fears surrounding this moment of transition. Can you write about some positive outcomes that may come from this change?
3) Write about a difficult time in your life. Write a list of qualities that you gained from this experience.
ex. I got through this difficult time because I learned to . ( be assertive, be disciplined, set boundaries, prioritize myself, show myself compassion, strengthen my friendships...)
The Irony of Resistance to Change
The one thing that life promises is that nothing stays the same forever. We experience massive changes in our first two decades of life. Each decade afterwards we continue to experience more growth and change than we had expected, but less than the first two decades. People talk about finally getting to a point in their lives where they feel like they are the person they were "meant to be." The reality is that you will be forever evolving until your last breath.
So why do we resist and fear change so much? Our Nervous Systems like predictability. This is why parents are told to provide a well structured day for their children, where they know what to expect day to day. The stability in schedule and routine is a comfort for your mind and your Nervous System. Change generally means unpredictable future outcomes and we can respond in a spectrum of ways. While fear or feeling threatened is on one end and excitement for the potential is on the other end of the spectrum.
Physiologically, Fear and Excitement look the same to your body. The chemicals emitted, shortness of breath and increased heart rate happen in both cases. You are the one who, based on previous experiences, places the name of fear or excitement onto this new experience. This can be a tricky thing to change, because the more often your system decides to be fearful the easier it will be for you to choose to be fearful the next time. Of course there are valid reasons to be cautious and vigilant. There are also times when we can access a situation to be safe and allow ourselves to shift our perception to that of excitement.
You can think about loosing your job. It's normal and healthy to feel sad about a job you enjoyed and the people you may loose contact with. Allow yourself to feel that loss and then when you are ready, think about all the possible opportunities in front of you. You may decide to change your career path altogether. Maybe you think about the ending of a relationship. Whether that is a friendship or an intimate partnership, you should take the time to grieve the loss and sit with whatever other emotions pop up for you. Then, can you cherish the good that had been and feel gratitude for the love that was shared. You may also hold anger, regret and pain. Once you can take accountability for your own actions and forgive them for theirs you might be able to move forward and participate in even healthier relationships in the future.
Big shifts tend to happen in life when our role in our family or society changes. As we go from a child to an adolescent, we are trying to prove that we are independent and capable beings. In our early twenties many of us try to find our purpose in life. This goal is lofty and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to have our life passion sorted out at a very young age. Away from our childhood family, we begin to look to build a family unit of our own. For those who have children, the shift to the role of parent proves to be challenging, rewarding and exhausting. As your children grow and become more independent it may send you into another phase of questioning, "what is my purpose?" And as our parents grow older and start to need more support from those around them, we are faced with the inevitable fact that our time is limited.
Our role in life is always shifting and evolving as we grow. The more that we experience, the more capable we feel for the next big life lesson. Just because we learn to be adaptable and resilient doesn't mean things get easier. The more we love the harder the loss is felt. Remember, we are not trying to avoid these feelings. Allow yourself to feel without criticism. The challenge is to move forward in a healthy way. Can you highlight the positives? Can you feel excitement about the potential of what you can create? Can you allow yourself to envision an extraordinary outcome for yourself?
Instead of resisting change, can you learn to meet it with open arms and embrace it?