Not EVERYTHING that is faced can be changed, but NOTHING can be changed until it is faced.
~James Arthur Baldwin
Changes are never far from our door, whether it’s breaking up with an ex, having a best friend move away, the death of a relative, the loss of a job or a demotion or something that once meant a great deal to you but that has not turned out the way you hoped it would. Being prepared your changing world involves flexibility, strength of self-purpose and belief in one’s own worth. Here are some ideas to help you.
Be prepared. Life is full of unexpected surprises; don’t let this be a lesson you refuse to learn. Death, loss and strange situations will be a part of your life, no matter how much you may try to cocoon yourself with reasoning, savings and assets. The major key to coping with change is to accept the reality of change and its inevitability.
Realize there’s only one thing you can control – yourself. Once you have accepted the reality that you cannot change others and that the only way they can change you is if you let them, then you suddenly find yourself empowered. Empowerment is a key element of change acceptance and change management. When you feel empowered, you will roll with changes as a whale rolls through the ocean waves, commanding and unbothered by events but conscious of a need to roll with the surrounding effects to lessen their impacts.
Take time to recoup. If you are grieving after a death, be it a person or a pet, do not let anyone tell you how long to grieve for. That decision is yours. It does make sense to make a decision in your own mind about what grieving you need to do, as your life cannot meander in sorrow forever. However, it is most clear that those who avoid grieving end up worse off and can experience break-downs and inability to cope at unexpected times. With grief for death, there will always be a piece of your heart missing but if you accept this and you are willing to carry the memories as lively as can be for the rest of your life, this will help you reach some acceptance of what has happened. If it is a job loss or some other personal loss that is not death, you still need mourning time to assuage your sadness and grief over a loss of something that once filled a large part of your life. Perhaps a small ending ceremony of some sort will help to give you a sense of closure and allow you to move forward.
Be purposeful. Change occurs but you do not need to be buffeted by it. Have a purpose in life, no matter what it is, that serves as your own personal anchor. While it is important to be open to change and to be flexible as to the possibilities that change opens up for you, it is also important to remain true to yourself and the dreams that you hold in life. This self-belief and your dreams are your anchor. Whatever else life throws in your way, these are the barometers by which you can measure your progress in the world and how you are reacting to change. Be prepared to question your methods of getting to where you wish to go but be less prepared to change your destination if it means dismantling the person you are inside.
Look for the silver lining of change. Remember the adage Every cloud has a silver lining. There is a reason for this saying – wise humans of the past knew well that change could herald both fear and opportunity. Once the fog of shock, despair and anger pass, look for the opportunities that exist in the change. There may be an amazing find, such as memoirs written by a lost one that were uncovered when his or her house was emptied out and these recall many wonderful times of all family members. Or the fact that there is a gain in time for those who have lost employment, time in which to reanalyze one’s life and direction and make fruitful changes to oneself and one’s sense of direction. Look for the opportunities that you can make use of rather than continuously viewing the change as a deep loss from which time nothing will ever be the same.
Leave harping on behind you. When a change thrusts you into complaining, it can be understandable for a short period of time. Friends and family will rally at the beginning of a misfortune. However, as time progresses, constant complaining turns you into your family’s and friend’s misfortune and does absolutely nothing to improve your state of affairs. Rather, you may alienate the very people who would be happy to support you through your hardships if you turn into a grouch and someone who feels permanently victimized and scolds the entire world for your troubles. A little ranting is fine at the beginning; a sourpuss for life is someone who becomes increasingly isolated. Do not allow this to happen to you.
Move on. You cannot remain rooted in the current or a past situation. It may feel comfortable and returning to a habit is always the simpler path of least resistance. Yet, change requires change from you as well and you will need to learn to resist turning back to the past and trying to recreate what once was. Forge on into the future and stand proud. Use what you have learned but don’t let it use you.