Change is Constant – The now truth most people just gloss over.
You probably encounter it more often than you’d like. Maybe you like your life just the way it is. Maybe you’re a creature of habit and a lover of routine. Or maybe you’re desperate for some kind of change – any change would do.
Many people will readily admit that they are not fans of change. And in any situation, the people with the most to lose when things change will fight tooth and nail to keep the status quo – even when we know that fighting change is like trying to control a volcanic lava flow.
Why do we hate change? One of our most basic instincts is self-preservation. Changes, even small ones, can feel threatening. Yet some people not only survive, but thrive during times of change.
How do we learn to embrace change?
Get real – The first step is to drop the illusion that you can stop change. As you watch your own life and/or children grow, the essence of this truth hits home. We’re all changing at a relentless pace – physically, mentally, and emotionally. We cannot stop this growth (thats how we should view change – as growth), stop learning new things (even things we don’t like), or gaining insights. Once we realize that change is an unstoppable force, we reclaim the mental and emotional energy we expend on trying to stop change.
Get uncomfortable – The concept of the “comfort zone” owes its very existence to the reality of change. In the zone, things are all according to our wants, desires, and preferences. We don’t really want anything in there that will challenge us or cause us pain, even if we’re better for it in the long run. Embracing change calls for a willingness to be uncomfortable. What’s the root of our discomfort? Our vulnerability. But as the saying goes: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” ~ Neale Donald Walsch. Can you sit with discomfort?
Get curious – The widely known proverb “curiosity killed the cat” is another anti-change construct. It’s meant to sow seeds of doubt and fear in the hearts of those willing to venture outside the “zone.” Instead of killing your curiosity in response, develop it. Curiosity is a powerful tool that can help you thrive in the face of change. See all of life as if through the eyes of a child. Ask questions of life when change comes. Ask: What can I learn from the experience of change that will help me to grow?
Get courageous – In the midst of change, we’re often asked to give up something we thought we couldn’t live without. We’re often asked to take on something we may not desire or think we can’t handle. You’re afraid to give up the life you know for the unknown. When we’re clinging to some aspect of our lives, losing it can feel like a threat to our very survival. Courage means letting that thing go despite our fear. It means making room for the new and the unfamiliar. Few things are more empowering than knowing that we can survive loss and adapt to change. How are you being called to be courageous today?
Get excited – We’re taught from an early age to fear and hate change. We’re taught to settle for the safe and the predictable – even if it’s sucking the life out of us. What if you treated change as something exciting? What if, in times of loss and uncertainty, you learned to anticipate a gift from life? A life lesson. A second chance. A chance to try something new. Getting excited means believing that you won’t be annihilated. It means expecting good things regardless of the circumstances.
What gift is life bringing to you in the form of change?
Change is always with us. How will you choose to engage this reality? Will you hide and pretend it’s not there or will you embrace it? There is no need to be afraid of change. You will survive. You will thrive.
So step into the most familiar of all things – change and embrace the gift of acceptance and growth.
Peace and Love, Jim