CHANGE HURTS SO GOOD
Over the last few years, I have gone through a significant amount of change, more so than any other time in my life. From transitioning into singlehood from a very serious and long-term relationship, living completely on my own for the very first time, traveling, to breaking out of my shell and meeting new people. I remember the first changes were the hardest.
I needed so much mental preparation, I needed “more information” before I could commit. I would make a decision and then change my mind again. I would be scared of the unknown, and I didn’t want to make a mistake and end up in a worse situation than my current one. Once the change had occurred, it becomes accepting of the new situation and that took some time too. It was so foreign, and so new. I would hate it at first. I’d romanticize how great the old things were, making a comparison to my new situation. However, with time, I would adjust and accept the new normal and wonder why I didn’t do it sooner. As more changes came my way, the process became easier and faster, less worrying, less back and forth and I would feel more confident in my decisions and my ability to adjust and succeed. I wouldn’t quite say “change is my middle name”, but my adaptability has come a long way.
Many of us have had similar feelings when facing change in some form or another.
Change presents uncertainty and our brains don’t like uncertainty. In uncertainty could lie a real threat, so we go into an alert response and we start to worry and speculate about the possibilities in an attempt to gain control of the situation. We like certainty so much, we would rather take a situation with a worse outcome that provides us with comfort than go into the unknown and take a chance. This is why we find ourselves hanging on to habits, things, people and jobs that don’t serve us anymore because at least we know what we are getting.
But hope is not lost, although nature can get in our way at times, nurture can help us. We can LEARN to be more adaptable to change. Adaptability involves both flexibility (being open to the idea of change) and versatility (the ability to actually adopt the change).
Whether you are about to encounter a change or are in the middle of a transition the following can be helpful to ease your mind:
- Accept change as a part of life that can’t be avoided – instead of thinking of it as “why fix what ain’t broken” think of change as the necessary updates you need to keep yourself functioning at the highest level.
- If you can, anticipate and go towards change, instead of waiting till it’s no longer your choice – your perspective will be different if you choose change versus if it is thrust upon you.
- Self-care – as you are dealing with new adjustments go back to the things and habits which make you feel good.
- Most problems you will have are not unique. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, there are already solutions out there. Do a little research.
- Remember there is no wrong choice, just different opportunities. No road is a dead-end, it just leads you somewhere different.
- Be open-minded – the more interested you are in learning about new things the less fear there will be since it will no longer appear foreign.
- Stay in the moment – don’t worry about what is behind you, or what is ahead of you, deal with what is there right now.
- Focus on what you do control and less on what is out of your hands.
- Most things we fear will never actually happen.
- Stay in a positive mental space – brainstorm all the possible good things which could come out of the situation, really imagine it and try to get excited.
- Believe in yourself – there isn’t anything you won’t be able to do. What you believe about yourself will be true, so choose your thoughts wisely.
- Don’t expect perfection – every expert was once a beginner. Give yourself time and room to grow into the change.
The more you see yourself grow and change, the more enjoyable the process becomes. Soon you won’t just be adapting to the changes coming towards you, but you will start seeking out change yourself.