Becoming open to change?
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
Change offers the opportunity for greater awareness and growth. If we resist we may limit our potential and avoid new learning experiences. Change can involve leaving behind the familiar and comfortable. I can be exciting to go forth into the unknown, but it can also raise anxiety. The choice to leave a job and start a freelance business can be scary, such change can bring risk and saying goodbye to life as we have known it. However, without letting go of what we know, we cannot open the door to bring in creative new beginnings.
Many of us (although not all) are creatures of routine, we crave stability and fall into habits which we hold onto to avoid change. Letting go of what we know and going beyond our comfort zone can create ripples for others around us too. For example starting counselling, can raise awareness and open up new perspectives on life. If we are seen to have changed, or try new ways of communicating with partners, family or friends, they may feel threatened or find they need to make adjustments too. This can be positive, but may create flux for family and friends.
Change can come about through others actions with little warning or consultation, such as the end of a relationship or redundancy. We may have been satisfied with our life as it was and therefore change creates a lack of control and a loss of the familiar and safe.
What our fearful voice might say when facing change?
Will it go wrong?
Will I fail?
Better stay with what I know as the unknown is scary and uncertain
Am I making the right choice?
Do I have the right to expect more?
I don’t want change its been hoisted onto me and I resent it
I am angry about this change it’s not what I wanted
If I resist maybe it will stop
I am fearful and I need to stop this feeling
Who am I now this change is happening?
Break down the process into small manageable steps, we cannot stop change but we can be compassionate to ourselves in facing the challenges ahead.
Facing fear, does not mean we cannot get through it, fear is just a feeling, it ebbs and flows like the tide and we can get though it. Ask yourself, what is the worst that could happen?
Talk about your concerns with others you trust and who understand and support you
We do not always need to have control and mastery over our lives, letting go of our need to know the future can give us freedom to face life with less fear
Allow yourself to go with the change don’t fight or resist it, of course you may feel anxious that is to be expected, but you may also feel excited, so acknowledge the contradictory voices and care for all parts of yourself
Remember the last time you coped with change, what helped you manage the situation, call on your past experiences and awareness, you may find that you are coping better than your imagined and if you coped before you can cope now.
If the change involves learning new skills, don’t have unrealistic expectations of yourself. Learning new skills takes time and its okay to ask for help.
Give yourself time to grow into new roles or activities, we can often be generous with others, so try and be kind to yourself
Rather than putting barriers in the way of change, try not to resist and fight change, you may look back and ask yourself why did I feel so fearful, I have gained rewards from this change?
Ask yourself if you can be open to the opportunity for new growth in your life, being open to change can enable you to enjoy and learn from the journey even if it is tough
We cannot control the future, we can only be in the present. Change will happen no matter what you do to try prevent it.
Open yourself to the new, to the possibilities of life, trust in yourself and the power which is greater than yourself that everything will be okay
What may be the benefits of change in our lives?
As the river wends its way to the sea and the sea ebbs and flows, it is inevitable we will face change in our lives. So part of coping, is recognising that we cannot stop change and there is no need to make judgments of ourself if we are struggling. If you find yourself feeling anxious about the change you are facing, just observe, be curious, be compassionate with yourself and try not to be hard on yourself. Sometimes we try to hard to make the right decision in regard to change, when if we allowed ourselves to flow and let things unfold in their own time, change would just happen without the need to fight or resist.
Ways of managing change