What I like most about change is that it’s a synonym for “hope”. If you are taking a risk, what you are really saying is, “I believe in tomorrow and I will be part of it.”
~ Linda Ellerbee
I am blessed to have a mentor, who also happens to be my therapist, who totally and completely gets me. I just finished a session with her and am feeling so hopeful and enlightened about what we talked about that I wanted to share what she and I spoke about.
We were talking about change.
It’s a topic that comes up a lot, and for good reason—but I am not always comfortable with it. The unknown can be scary and unpredictable, but we must seize the day and make decisions the best that we can without regret, or we may be forced to live inside of a self-sentenced cocoon of existence in our personal comfort zones. And this may not be healthy.
This is definitely a choice that many make or fall into through life events that can dampen our hearts’ abilities to sing and roam free.
So, if we are finding ourselves in a place that makes us feel suffocated, or the opposite—just a little too comfortable in a way that limits us, what should we do? How can we help positive changes emerge within our lives?
This is what I learned and I hope that it might give others a little hope and courage to take the next step along their own path.
1. Acknowledge that it is ok to not be in the mood for change.
We are not always ready to accept change, even if it is positive or an opportunity.
This is nothing to feel badly about. Our natural reaction to keep doing what we know feels comfortable, even if it is not always the healthiest choice. I can think of plenty of situations like this—not traveling, lack of socializing, bad eating habits, etc.
When we get the notion that there is a change in the air, our first instinct may be to shy away from it,. Should we beat ourselves up for not being excited or optimistic about every notion of change that crosses our paths? I think not. It doesn’t behoove us to spend time worrying about where we are now or how far we have to go to get where we have decided that we should be.
2. Imagine that change is a possibility.
This is not going to force a change, so when we see the idea of manifesting change as just an option that is there for us, it can take the scary element that some changes come with.
Just sit with the possibility and be cognizant of it. See it as a pleasant idea, but nothing that needs to be forced into fruition.
3. Easing into the possibility of change a bit further.
To become more familiar with the idea of changing, you can take it a step further than just accepting it as an idea.
Write a post-it-note about what the change is or a pros and cons list. Meditate about it. Remind yourself to think about it in general in a way that will personally work for you.
Discuss the idea of a positive change with others. This may lead to getting the feedback needed for shifting your thinking into being ready for the next step.
4. Take Action.
“The best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
This does not have to be a ‘jumping all in’ process. But that would be okay too. We need to remind ourselves that we are all individuals walking our own paths in life. No matter how slow we progress or how many times we falter along our ways, we are still way ahead of the game if only for being willing to try something new.
5. Reinforcing the change and other’s reactions.
This may happen organically. When we change, it causes a shift in those around us or even the in our own energy when it comes to being mindful of the change. We may like the feeling of the change or the way that others react to us in a positive way regarding our change.
Then again, sometimes when a change occurs in us, even when it is from the positive, it may catch our loved ones off guard. They may have to go through their own process in terms of reacting to your change.
I have heard it said that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent the way we react to it. Just as we have taken time to go through a change, others may need to get used to the changes you have made too.
Also, when someone says, “You’ve changed,” it might be because you have stopped living your life their way. At the same time someone else does not have to be wrong for you to be right. There is room for everyone to keep changing while being right.
I have found that these steps don’t always happen in the order that they are listed. Sometimes we change something in our lives on instinct, but then may step back and realize that it made us feel off or strange. We may run for cover—back to our old ways. It is at this point that the steps might help us to bring our focus back to what it is we want to accomplish.
We may also go through the steps time and time again, establishing a deeper and more permanent change for the better. Or we may jump from the thinking of change to the possibility step many times.
It’s okay to make mistakes. Change is a constant. Some changes that we go through are small, while some may arise from being in crisis mode.
No matter what our state of change is, the most important thing that we need to remember is to be kind to ourselves if we do decide to leave a bit of our old selves behind.
“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” ~ Anatole France
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Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photos: Wikimedia Commons