I found it a little ironic, when I was editing this, to realise that I was writing a blog about change as we entered Autumn. The still conditioned student in me knows I always get a burst of motivation around this time of year, and that as the trees begin to change colours, shed their old weight and let go, I happen to have written about the same thing: how to embrace change.
Change shakes up our idea of normal. No matter how happy or unhappy we are in a situation, change is our only constant. Thrown to the wind, we’re each carried on currents that help lead us on our journeys – much like the autumn leaves.
But, there’s a certain comfort from knowing nothing lasts forever. Although we might jump straight to protecting the things we want to keep indefinitely, the promise of change means our woes are also never permanent. Change always offers opportunities to improve our situations – each loss brings a chance to gain.
“We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.” – C. JoyBell C.
Change is a catalyst
Of course, you probably have your own life’s purpose in mind, but our collective goal as a species is to expand our persons, to become the best versions of ourselves and to use our particular cocktail of skills and traits to help the species evolve.
Change is the greatest catalyst of personal development of all.
When we’re pushed outside our comfort zone, we’re faced with new challenges and obstacles to give us the opportunity to develop our skills. We’re tested and trialled on our journey to improve us so that we can complete whatever our purpose in life may be.
If change causes you uncontrollable or excessive amounts of anxiety, seeking help from a therapist or professional is a great help for reshaping your relationship with change.
How to embrace change
1. Identify the source of any resistance
Whether a change has come to you as a shock or not, you’ll probably feel resistance to it. We love the cosiness of our comfort zones and it’s natural to be apprehensive about leaving it, especially when change is sudden and out of your hands.
So, when you find yourself having an emotional reaction to change, ask yourself where it’s coming from. I find journaling or talking it out with someone you trust to be great ways to do this if you struggle to find it on your own. Usually, the place our reaction is coming from is an underlying issue that’s very different from the change we see happening. It might be a fear or memories of an old wound. Once you’ve identified the source, you can begin to separate your underlying issue from the situation and start to deal with them separately.
2. Write your own story
Shooting an arrow is pretty difficult, but it’s much easier once you know where you’re aiming. Prepare your aim, check the angle and pull the shot back as far as it needs. This is the same with change. It’s overwhelming to face, but if you know where you’re going in the grand scheme of things, it’s easier to work the change into the picture. This is honestly one of the best things you can do to learn how to embrace change.
Humans love stories, it’s our brain’s favourite way to process things. So, if you have ideas for your life plan, life purpose and a little bit of faith, it becomes easier to see changes as little bumps and twists on your road. Using a story, you’ll be able to write yourself a plot in which this change is just another twist, that even if you don’t know where it’s going yet, turns out alright.
3. Choose to see the benefit in pain
Change usually results in us losing something, but equally, it’s always an opportunity to gain. No matter where you are or what you’re facing, there’s something to be learned or gained.
One exercise you can use for this is to start noting lessons/benefits down when they happen. When any kind of change or rough situation approaches you, note down the lesson or the positive from the situation. Even if it’s tiny, note it down. With this habit, you task your brain with searching immediately for the positive, so eventually, you’ll do it automatically.
This isn’t blind optimism. It’s also really important to take the time you need to accept and (and if necessary, forgive) the change for whatever you’ve lost, but it’s can help too to thank it for what it’s brought to you. Once you’ve accepted the negatives for what they are, you can ask yourself with a clear head how you’re going to move forward and enjoy the positives.
4. Make change yourself
Like we said at the start, change is a catalyst for development, but it doesn’t have to always happen outside of your control. Encouraging and even orchestrating change will improve your ability to deal with and thrive in times of uncertainty. The more frequently you leave the safety of your comfort zone, the more frequently you push your own boundaries, and the more confident you’ll become in your ability to.
You’re not 100% in control, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of control, either.
Routinely mix things up, recognise parts of yourself and your lifestyle that you’d like to work on and tackle them. The more you prove to yourself that you can do it, the better at it you’ll be.
Here, you’re learning valuable skills you need to tackle change with: gratitude, compassion, curiosity, optimism, and creativity. These skills are key to open-mindedness. They’ll keep you appreciating and recognising change for its good and utilising the lessons the negative experiences provide.
There you have it, my guide on how to embrace change in four steps. In the words of Napoleon Hill, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit”. Trust the world and take it headfirst – you’ve got this.
Love, Ella-Rose xx