Making Our Way Through Change
What do you do when you’re confronted with change? Sometimes, we run, we hide, we are in denial or we might feel overwhelmed and arrested. Others cling to the familiar because their anxiety overcomes them. Getting comfortable with change is the first step but then we have to figure out how to navigate through it, and ultimately, how to use it to shoot us forward. It is not enough to just survive something, we must also thrive in it. The silver lining is no matter how painful and uncomfortable change is, learning how to confront it in a healthy way can only help you grow. Managing change and the emotions that accompany it helps you learn about yourself, broadens your perspective, fuels your creativity when it comes to dealing with all aspects of your life, strengthens relationships and clarifies your vision. Dealing with change is the best way to test the foundations of your character; Are you resilient? Are you happy? Are you adaptable? Are you strong?
Power Tip 1: How do you feel?
Acknowledging how you feel when change hits is crucial. Are you sad? Anxious? Fearful? The fact of the matter is, we have to be ready to deal with whatever deters us from moving through it. The first step then is to recognize and name the beast. Usually, people are scared of a lack of control in their lives, which is one aspect of any change, but the key is to understand why you’re afraid of relinquishing some control. A shift in perspective can help you with this step. The lack of control is really just one facet of any big changes in your life. Change is a multidimensional experience! There’s the good, the bad and the ugly. Write your feelings down, deconstruct the source of your negative emotions so you can start having that conversation with yourself. How will I answer that fearful voice in my head? The goal is to open yourself to a dialogue with your anxieties instead of letting them spiral and fester on their own.
Power tip 2: Who can you talk to?
So we’ve acknowledged our feelings about the change, now what? Look around you and think of the people in your life you can confide in. They are your anchors through any monumental shifts in your life. Communication will help you navigate for many reasons. For one thing, you might feel as though no one will understand what you’re going through. Even though your particular journey may be unique to you, the tools and advice needed to get through is somewhat universal. We all need a friend to be there when we feel like our world is shaky, someone who we can count on to just sit there and listen even if they have no wisdom to share. Having an objective point of view while you share your anxieties about change can help you navigate the fogginess that our feelings create. Maybe you need to hear that you’re overthinking, maybe you need someone to bounce ideas off of, maybe you need someone who will not judge you. Once you have the courage to open that dialogue with yourself, it’s time to open it up to your circle of friends and family so you can get as much support as possible.
Power Tip 3: What keeps you hopeful?
Finally, communicating is just one good habit of an arsenal of healthy habits you should build. Change has a way of reinforcing your vision for your life. What’s more important to you, the fear of change or the fear of staying exactly where you are? Are your dreams worth taking that risk? What actions can you take every day that make that dream clearer and clearer in your mind? Warning! This clarity will come incrementally but demands consistency.
Patience through change will help you keep your peace.
Stress is probably the most common side effect of change, or being unprepared for it, and stress manifests in very tangible ways in our body. Learning to take care of yourself physically (eating well, sleeping enough, exercising) is as important as taking care of yourself emotionally (talking to friends, finding a therapist, journaling your feelings). You can’t navigate anything, let alone change, if your body and mind aren’t equipped for the adventure. As you move through these good habits consistently they almost become second nature and in that way, without even realizing, you’re moving forward through whatever change comes your way. Having this positive vision for your future also gives motivation and hope to continue these habits, whether it’s working out or fostering good friendships. It fortifies you against pain and uncertainty, helps you manage stress and encourages you to find creative solutions to your problems. Hope cannot be underestimated and it only stays alive if you wish to keep it alive with your acts of self love.
What’s the vision that will keep you striving despite the struggles and the uncertainty you may be facing?
Real talk: Change is daunting. Change is inevitable. Change is necessary. At the intersection of these three truths, you can discover so much about yourself and your dreams if you can manage change in your life with a healthy, hopeful outlook. What gives you hope for a better life? What drives you to fight through all the trepidation that change may bring? In the end, it’s not even about how well or how fast you can get through a shift in your life, but the small ways you yourself change for the better along the way.
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