May 26th, 2022
Today I wanted to discuss something that we all go through; what most, if not all people tend to struggle with in some way or another; and also a song I could not stop listening to in the ‘90s — changes. I read a quote recently that I feel would best summarize what I’m going to talk about. I don’t know the background of the person who said it (I did a quick google search and nothing bad came up thankfully). I’d rather focus on the words anyways and not so much the person who said it so let’s just do that.
“Change is inevitable, growth is optional.”
At times it can feel like we are overwhelmed with change. It starts off with one thing that feels annoying or gives you an unsettling feeling then it seems to add up. The whole concept of “when it rains it pours”. Sometimes we feel like we’re drowning in change and even the good changes can feel overwhelming for us, which starts making them feel more negative and blinding us from the potential positive they bring.
The best route I found to helping one through this is to break down each individual change and then look for something positive that comes along with it. If you think about change, it doesn’t fully mean that something is gone, but a different view from what you are used to. It doesn’t make it any less beautiful. Our perspectives on a situation can define it in anyway we see fit. So focusing on only the negative portions will make us biased towards it and remove the positive portions. If we’re able to allow both the positive and negative to exist then we come to more of the reality of the situation. We’re not showing a bias in either direction, but instead seeing whatever the change may be as it is. Not in a way that we’re discarding the bad, but that we’re able to understand that although it isn’t what we wanted or what we had doesn’t mean that it no longer exists. It’s just a different view of it.
I know in most jobs they say that you must be okay with change. Be able to roll with the punches. I feel like a lot of people, if not most, have trouble with change. Having a routine and a sense of security is something most people enjoy or feel comfort in. Think about most of your vacations out of state. After a few days or a week you’re ready to come home and fall back into your own routine (of course there are exceptions). Snuggle with your animals, lay in your bed, and enjoy your cup of coffee and shower. Yes, we can take breaks from it, but there’s a feeling of home that wraps us up and helps to keep us grounded. Changes are happening everywhere. Ranging from work, school, that traffic jam that made you take a detour, and relationships (platonic and romantic). When we have something we enjoy and feel we have worked to get; the moment it sways or is taken away we may feel a loss of control along with a loss of security. When this occurs then we may feel like our world is shook. That we have lost our footing and also cause possible issues down the road with trusting a feeling of security with someone else or something else. If it failed now, why won’t it fail again? If what I had with that person disappeared then why would this new person not do the same thing?
Normally when something new works, we hold on to it and try to keep it as is, because it feels good. “Why fix something that isn’t broken?” The issue with that is it doesn’t account for all the variables life will be throwing at us that adjusts our personality, attitude, life circumstances, schedules, and other attributes that cause a shift in what was “perfect” already.
An example of what I’m talking about would be people with friendships lasting 20+ years where they never allow themselves to fully feel vulnerable or give their all to a new person because they don’t want to change the dynamic they have with the friend they’ve had for 20+ years. Or when that person does try to give more to another friendship then the other friend may feel like they are losing a bit of that person which is a big change in their world. When we change a dynamic of something we’ve known and felt secured in for whatever period of time, an adjustment will have to be made even if our energy levels or mental state are not ready for it.
We have to ask ourselves some introspective questions that will help break down the change and hopefully better understand the cause of our reaction to help us figure out how to cope with it. Here are a few questions I tend to ask myself when something occurs that is different from my norm.
1. Why did I handle the situation the way I did initially?
2. How should I handle it?
3. Why did the change occur?
4. What can I appreciate from what I’ve been through and what the changes will bring?
5. Why is it sad, frustrating, or scary for me when this change occurred?
A lot of people’s initial thoughts when a change comes around is that we are losing something instead of gaining a new view of it. Life is about perspective and a lot of times we focus on the negatives that come out of a scenario. Take forgetting a memory for instance, do we actually forget it and feel bad about losing this precious memory or is it misplaced or pushed back into a filing cabinet in our brain because we have 100 more memories that came in between then and now? Doesn’t it feel better looking at it in a way that we haven’t actually forgotten it? Have we lost a pair of sunglasses or misplaced them? Why do our minds jump right to the negative side, the side where we feel like there is no way to recover? Instead we should give ourselves a chance to figure it out. To find what is lost, to correct what was broken, or to view the change as something positive, while also not dismissing the negative. Perspective will help us move forward in life when these hardships come. I’m trying to help us grow from these times in our life. A new responsibility at work, a friend leaving, or a loved one getting a new schedule can throw you off your day to day game. Find alternative solutions and be creative with them. Even utilizing what you know and the circumstance as a guiding point to what you need to do next in life.
If you have a new responsibility at work, add it to your resume and collaborate with new people who were doing that job previously. Potentially finding new people to add to your network or maybe realizing this isn’t the job for you and have this motivate you to look for one that suits what you want to do. If a friend leaves utilize communication methods that you may have put aside (check out my Keeping in Touch blog for ideas), or if they’re gone for good, then focus on the friends who are there still and try to put your energy into them. If your significant other got a new schedule and it disrupts the time you spend with them, figure out creative ways to make the moments you do have more meaningful. Look into a hobby you can do during the time you do have together or separate, that you can talk about with one another.
Instead of accepting something as gone by using statements such as: “It was good while we had it”, “everything comes to an end”, and “life is filled with impermanence”; we can take these ideas and add a silver lining to them. An example of this would be: “It was good while we had it and now I will try to use what I learned on my next relationship or revisit this friendship at another time to see if we both have grown”. As life continues to change so should we. We don’t have to change the core of who we are, but the way we handle situations and our reactionary mindsets. This will assist us in many situations as changes are constantly occurring in many aspects of life.
Remember, that even if the view is now distant where you can barely see it, that doesn’t take away from when it was near by. That person you loved that no longer wants to speak to you was still in your life for a period of time that impacted you in many ways. That job that you enjoyed doing helped add to your experience and you can bring what you learned into a new job. That detour you had to take home may have been a bit longer, but now you know a different part of town and possibly got to enjoy some scenery that you wouldn’t have seen on the highway. Life is all about moments, and how we view them.
“If something makes you sad when it ends, it must have been pretty wonderful when it was happening”This is Us
Until the next Scenario.