13 Ways to Change When Life Changes Around You

Man in Tunnel

“We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden.” ~Johann Von Goethe

When my first love died suddenly, my life changed dramatically and permanently. Barely 22 at the time, I had no coping skills and no support system. I couldn’t anticipate how deep sorrow would render me completely devastated and heartbroken.

As a result, I engaged in extremely self-destructive behavior. I believed I was going “with the flow,” but in truth I did so many reckless things that I’m surprised that I survived. I didn’t know how to deal with my anguish in any other way.

Because life was obviously unpredictable, I decided to stop making plans. I didn’t know what it meant to be responsible for my choices or how to be emotionally healthy. Many years were spent in a foggy haze of grief, depression, and anger.

Slowly, over time, I turned my life around. I engaged in therapy, recovery work, and spiritual exploration. I studied everything I could on personal growth. I learned to identify and express my feelings appropriately.

Ultimately, I decided to make plans again, with the intimate knowledge that things could always change in the blink of an eye.

Of course, there will always be events that are out of my control, but at the same time, I can choose my reaction. Now, I actively seek ways to maintain my peace of mind and serenity.

I’ve learned to accept that change is a part of life and a process that cannot be avoided. Some changes are easier to accept than others, but the decisions about how to cope with those changes are mine.

To change is to transform, alter, modify or shift; these are behaviors that I’ve integrated into my life in order to survive emotionally.

Growth requires action. Think of a seed. The potential to grow is there but nothing happens until that seed is planted and watered.

My desire to grow arose from recognizing the difference between where I was and where I wanted to be. Internal changes came from an aspiration within for things to be different and a desire to cultivate new behaviors. I chose to transform the dark and tangled garden of my life.

Internal change requires a distinct set of skills. These skills are not difficult to learn but do require a shift in thinking and behavior.

Here are 13 suggestions for managing the ebb and flow of changes around you.

1. Recognize that change is part of the fabric of our lives. 

Just as the seasons change, so do we. Some changes we can choose, others we do not.

2. Clear your mind. 

Develop awareness of the changes that occur around you. Notice the natural changes that take place in every day life.

3. Establish a quality of purpose, a goal or some objective to be reached. 

Start small. Practice making minor changes in order to build confidence.

4. Imagine the elation of manifesting your intentions. 

Visualize what you want to create in as much detail as possible, then release it. Allow change to flow naturally without force.

5. Trust your intuition.

There is a deep well of inner wisdom within you. This innate sense of wisdom will guide you.

6. Identify your fears about change, whether it is the fear of failure or the fear of success. 

Perhaps it’s the fear of not doing anything or the fear of doing something new that prevents you from changing. In any case, you deserve to be successful.

7. Remember that change requires courage. 

It is the ability to act in spite of feeling insecure or uncertain. Ask for support and allow yourself to receive it.

8. Take a loving and gentle approach. 

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t succeed instantly. Change requires consistency and persistent action.

9. Be curious. 

Try experimenting with new foods, listening to new music, varying your route to work, or shopping at a different store. Question whether or not you are acting out of habit and investigate new behaviors.

10. Expect to feel uncomfortable with what’s unfamiliar. 

Anticipate resistance. Give yourself permission to feel weird.

11. Consider healing activities that will enhance your senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. 

Make a list of things you like to do to relax. Take a walk, write in your journal, or drink a cup of tea.

12. Listen to your self-talk. 

The words you say to yourself need to come from your heart, where wisdom and compassion live. Say all the things you want and need to hear.

13. Create incentives and rewards for changing. 

Evaluate what motivates you. Generate enthusiasm by celebrating along the way.

You will discover that you have strength you don’t know you possess until you need it. Cultivate your skills so that when you do need to cope with a major change, you will be able to stay as emotionally healthy as possible. You’ll be relieved that you created good habits for managing change.

May joy fill your days.

May you be happy.

Photo by sax m

About C. Loran Hills

Loran is a travel guide on the spiral journey of life.  Her business, Loran’s Heart, is filled with journaling prompts, nature photographs, and inspirational products to help you grow and develop spiritually. Her e-course, The Seeker’s Journey, will take you on the quest to discover and manifest your inner truth.

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  • joychristin

    Beautiful, Loran…thank you! I practice presence to unfolding, so each day “I” change, external changes, and I am learning to celebrate that change. I was raised with chaos and abuse, so I didn’t like surprises because they were followed by drama…learning to love surprises, delight and joy-filled ones, has opened my heart to all kinds of surprises, even those that unexpectedly hurt. I am thankful I/we have the capacity to love as we do, and that gratitude is the energy that sustains/nourishes me. I am sorry for your loss; I am grateful for all that you have opened to through it.

  • Thank you, Joy, for sharing your insight and open heart with me, always.

  • kay.rea3

    This is wonderful! Thank you for sharing this with us. I totally relate to the feeling of not being able to plan. At one point in my life I became really stuck in fear and worry and just didn’t really know what there was to live for anymore. I was scared of agreeing to anything in the future, especially because I was never certain if that was something I wanted to do that day. I really believe in living in the moment. The 13 steps you have listed are so helpful! I love the idea of trying something new all the time. At one point when I was struggling with eating, I had to try a new food every day (‘new’ meaning something I didn’t eat the day before). Self talk is also HUGE!!! It is generally my self talk that sets me back a few steps sometimes. I love this!! Thank you again! Such a great reminder on how to embrace change.

  • You’re welcome! I’m so happy that you find these steps to be useful. I believe in living in the moment too, but sometimes a plan is necessary. It’s also vital to realize that plans change and not to become too attached to the plan. Now I have that problem sometimes too.

  • JP

    Great piece! I really needed this! I have resisted change for a lone time and only starting to embrace it now! Thank you!

  • marie

    Nice piece, but I think with the death of a loved one it is extremely difficult to just “accept change”

  • Gina Rafkind

    Great post Loran…..change is always in the air…..that is certain for sure…..and as you said, we can choose how to respond……awareness is so key and your 13 tips will help grow that awareness…..thx for sharing 🙂

  • As the Borg has stated, “resistance is futile!”. It only slows down our progress. Good luck with embracing change, JP.

  • Yes, it can be very painful to lose a loved one, but it’s impossible to change. The only thing that can change is our attitude and that takes awhile. Compassion for ourselves and our grief is invaluable.

  • Thanks, Gina, I know you understand this process. You have been a great role model for me.

  • CaptainCsaba

    This message couldn’t come for me at a better time. I’ve just finished my childhood and moved far away from home into a new house. I feel empty inside, having to start all over agagin and not knowing what to expect, but you gave me courage and I’m thankful for that.

  • Gina Rafkind

    And you for me as well my friend……….

  • Thanks so much for letting me know that you find this helpful! Remember you are on a grand adventure!

  • Lavaish

    Hi Loran
    Going through tough phase of life, don’t know what to do, wife suddenly left with both kids after 21 years feel betrayed, job is not of my choice still carrying on with it. Gone through 13 ways & will implement it in my life. Will surly come back in life with love