“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” – C.S. Lewis
Change can be absolutely exhilarating when we’ve initiated the process – applied for a new job and been accepted, said yes to a wedding proposal or simply decided to change our hairstyle or color. On the other hand, when change is thrust upon us unexpectedly and uninvited, it is easy to become frozen by fear and anxiety uncertain of what to do next, even when we know we should do something. However, in such situations, what we want to do initially is return to the way things were when we were content and no disruption had taken place, even when we know that isn’t an option, unfortunately.
At some point in our lives, change will seek us without asking if we’d like to have it as our guest. On the face of it in such instances, change is the most horrid houseguest who is disrespectful, rude and seems to have no clue how to fit into our lives. In fact, at the time, it seems as though it is making our lives worse instead of better.
While there are situations when change is indeed for the worse, I would argue that the majority of the time, change is an opportunity, even when we don’t see it that way to begin with. What determines the beauty of the change that is thrust upon us is how we deal with it.
I have written numerous posts on change (here, here, here and here, to name a few), but most have focused on change that is initiated and chosen by the individual. When change is thrust upon us uninvited, and it will, there are ways to make the most of it and come out ahead and even more fulfilled, exuding more strength and in the end, thankful for the opportunity. Yes, you read that correctly – thankful that it occurred.
Why am I writing this, you may be wondering? While I will keep the most private details to myself, sufficed to say, what I wanted and what life had in store for me were two different things, and while I was initially frustrated with the powers that be (Universe, God, whatever/whomever you want to address), I have enough experience to know that beautiful days lay ahead, but only if I pick myself up, resolve to be genuinely thankful for what brought me to this moment and move forward with faith, determination and hope.
What I’d like to share with you today, are steps on how to navigate what can be an emotional, uncertain, yet rewarding journey if handled properly:
1. Understand What is Ahead
“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” – Deepak Chopra
Begin the journey understanding that the change that has occurred happened for a reason. As you move forward and make the journey from “here” to “there”, understand that in order for change to happen, there will be moments of emotional anguish, obstacles that seem initially insurmountable (but always keep in mind, the assumed impossibility is a mirage – any obstacle is indeed possible to overcome), and moments of fear. When you accept this fact, you are well on your way to success.
2. Feed Your Faith, Not Your Fears
“Fear, uncertainty and discomfort are your compasses toward growth.”
I discovered a fantastic quote from Positive Provocation about remaining optimistic and motivated. While it is easy to become frustrated when obstacles jump in our path along our way to where we want to go and the life we want to create, choose to feed your faith that you will overcome it, instead of feeding your fear by engaging in negative self-talk. When you accept that in order to change, there will be difficulties, you can also choose to address such fears with faith, instead of feeding the fear monger that will only keep you frozen. Choosing to feed faith propels you forward.
3. Take Action
“Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.” –Walter Anderson
Some of the most difficult days in my life have been the days immediately following an abrupt and unexpected change. For some this may come by way of job loss, a relationship ending, an accident or loss of someone you love. While it is healthy to grieve, we must not lose ourselves in grief. Yes, allow yourself time to mourn the death of the life you thought would continue on for some time, but then, take action. Get busy pursuing a goal that you’ve had in place but maybe placed on the shelf. Get busy doing your best work and chasing dreams that you now can put into action. Whatever you do, get busy. Take action. This will keep your mind busy and will put it to constructive use, so that by the time you’ve given your heart some time to heal, you will have produced something you are proud of.
4. Allow Yourself to Get Excited
“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” –Jim Rohn
The life you thought you were going to live may not occur exactly as you predicted, but guess what, I’m confident it will be better than you expected if you commit yourself to the change that must occur. Take the reins of your life, take a few more risks, show the world who you really are, and brush aside nay-sayers. After all, at least you have the gumption to live this once in a lifetime experience called a life in a way that sits well with your soul and is tailored to your gifts and passions. Living authentically is the right path if handled with tact and compassion toward others.
5. Find a Hug
"It doesn't matter who, when, or where... you can always use a hug." – Hope Floats movie
By choosing to embrace this change that has been thrown into your lap, you are choosing growth. With this acceptance, you are opening your heart, trusting that wonderful things will find you again and bravely moving forward even when you aren’t sure exactly how it will work out. If you have chosen this path, you are already becoming a better version of yourself, but as mentioned previously, it will be difficult at times. In these times, as well as others, find a hug. Find someone who loves you and cares about you and seek out a hug, a good hug, from them (I do love hugs from those I love, they mean the world!) You will need support as you progress through the change you are embarking on, but the gift of who you are becoming is worth the journey.
“What I like most about change, is that it is a synonym for ‘hope’. If you are taking a risk, what you are really saying is ‘I believe in tomorrow, and I will be a part of it’.” –Linda Ellerbee
Know that I am on this journey with you, and if I can do it, so can you.