As we go about our Life each day, most of us will at some point come across situations that require us to accept change – whether in our job, in our health, in our relationships with family or friends, in our finances … or in almost any other aspect of Life one could imagine.
There’s an old saying that suggests the only thing constant in Life is change … and if ever there was a time in the history of humanity when this adage was true, it’s now. In previous articles, we’ve acknowledged how today’s ever-evolving technology seems to have quickened the pace of Life – whether through inter-personal communications, or in advancements in safety, medicine, or science … change is the name of the game.
And If We Don’t Like It?
But what happens when change doesn’t really improve the game itself? Or what if we just don’t want the change that confronts us? What do we do then? Well, most of the time, we don’t have a lot of choice in the matter – we’re merely along for the ride. Change visits in spite of us, although sometimes even because of us.
I’ve noticed there seems to be two basic ways to manage change. One is ‘resistance’ … the kind with white knuckles and clenched teeth. This scenario represents change as something to reluctantly face, something inevitable and possibly even somewhat painful. But this particular perspective on change can be exhausting because (let’s be honest) with this attitude, we’re not really embracing the change facing us. Instead, we may tolerate it, endure it, even suffer it or bear it … but we do not embrace it.
If You Refuse, Do You Really Lose?
The problem with this strategy is that it is ineffective at best, and at worst can engender a resentment that could even become something more onerous. Adopting a resistance approach will almost always set us up to fail, or at least make us miserable through an inner monologue that fixates on “These changes are terrible and will make it impossible for me to succeed. I will resist them at every opportunity!” Such people are metaphorically ‘dragged, kicking and screaming’ into their new circumstance. It’s so emotionally draining …
The other way to deal with imminent change is through ‘community.’ Like the name implies, this tactic creates a social network that provides encouragement, support, information and even mentoring, all of which can help us learn to both accept and internalize the change we’re facing. Choosing this approach internalizes our belief in our ability to succeed, embracing a great outcome as if it’s already achieved.
We may have preferred no change, given the choice … but when the status quo is not an option, we must recognize that it’s in our own best interest to position ourselves in such a way as to maximize our benefit. This tactic helps to reframe any potentially negative energy into more positive and productive energy, and leans us toward a more empowering acknowledgement that says “I am worthy of success and I will gladly accept help to make that happen.”
Change Isn’t Always Bad
So what’s your change management strategy when you find yourself on the threshold of a new beginning? Do you resist and become negative and disruptive? Do you sink into depression, feeling victimized? Perhaps you look for ways to leverage your situation? Are you able to go with the flow and see where it leads? Maybe you reach out for some social community support?
Remember, change isn’t always a bad thing – in fact, it’s often quite stimulating. It opens new doors, closes others, and allows us to turn the page and begin writing anew. Fear is most often what feeds our resistance to change, whereas Faith is most often what urges us onward. If we can only believe that Life is an adventure meant to fill us with diverse experience, we might be more willing to embrace change as exciting – even if we must bid farewell to the secure familiarity of our yesterday.
To quote the brilliant Greek philosopher Plato, “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of Life is when adults are afraid of the light.” So … where does this leave you??
… and as you consider this, remember to always focus on the Good Things in Life!