Change gets a bad rep sometimes.
It’s scary and it can be painful and it’s usually a lot easier to just keep going with the status quo.
How many people stay in jobs that aren’t fulfilling, relationships that aren’t loving, living spaces that aren’t home or any other less than ideals simply because the notion of making the leap into that great unknown and making a change paralyzes them? Even scarier are the changes we have no control over: procedure, policy, staff changes at work or the economy.
I was always a weird kid. I didn’t fit in any of the cliques, and unlike most kids who don’t fit in, I didn’t want to. What I did want and have always wanted was to be the best me, whatever that looked like.
The first dramatic realization of this was in sixth grade. I got it in my head that being quiet and not sticking up for myself, not using my voice, was actually hurting me.
So, I changed.
I started talking more, sticking up for myself, and speaking my mind. This was not easy. Not only was it scary to use my voice, but sticking up for myself often led to more teasing than less, more hurt feelings than fewer, but still, I knew in my core it was the right thing to do. Perhaps it was brave, perhaps it was socially stupid, but I did it anyway, and have continued to do things like that all my life.
In a job interview recently, I was asked how I felt about change. I’m fairly certain it was my atypical response that got me the job, despite my initial hesitance at giving this answer. I explained how I’ve always felt a connection to butterflies because of the changes they experience in their lifespan. They go from a creepy crawly creature on the ground through some very dramatic and likely painful changes to become beautiful, admired, free flying creatures.
I view my life, and each change in it that same way. It’s not that change should be undertaken just for the sake of making a change, but well thought out, purposeful change, has the potential to make something beautiful.
When it comes to changes I can’t control, I’ve learned over time to take that same attitude—that it’s the right thing to do for someone or something, even if it’s not me and trust that if I roll with it and give my best to participate it will, in the long run, wind up being for my best too. Is it always easy? Absolutely not! I still get upset, worried, and scared.
When I do, I remind myself to be a butterfly and follow the steps below.
With each inhale, breathe in peace; with each exhale, breathe out fear.
Trust yourself, trust that the universe has a plan you’re not privy to and that only the best can come from it even if you don’t see it right away. Trust that no matter the outcome, you will learn and grow and that is good.
3) Create space.
The butterfly in the chrysalis (pupa) stage is essentially in hiding working on it’s big transformation. Give yourself that same space to grow and change and feel.
4) Be present.
Observe and acknowledge your emotions about the change and then let them go. Much as you might a leaf or feather floating on the breeze.
Smile because you’re proud of yourself for riding the waves of change even though it’s uncomfortable and/or out of your control. Smile because you’re learning and growing and getting stronger with each breath you take.
6) Give thanks.
Focus on what’s going right, on what you have. Be grateful for all the positives and watch how the fear of change grows smaller and smaller.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Sarah Woodard
Editor: Catherine Monkman