“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 twenty-two 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 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 thirteen 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