Life is full of circumstances, big and small, that throw us for a loop and elicit feelings of stress and uncertainty. Sometimes even when circumstances are unchanging, we feel a shift internally of emotions or perspective. Time and time again we are faced with change and our reaction to the unknown determines how well we navigate life’s ups and downs. The process of embracing change is not an easy one, but it is one we must do correctly if we want to see growth and peace of mind in our everyday.
I’ve mapped out four practices that can help us approach change with wide arms rather than clenched fists.
1. Check your emotions
Changes big or small often cause an emotional reaction. A small business owner feels fearful when profit isn’t coming in as expected. A friend feels disappointed when another cancels dinner plans. A bride feels overjoyed as she walks down the aisle. Every change comes with a consequent emotion. The first step in embracing change is recognizing how the change is making you feel. From that awareness, you can begin to separate your feelings from reality. It is okay to feel something when faced with change. However, it is crucial to not let feelings keep us from moving forward.
2. Consider the possibilities
Although some personalities welcome change more readily than others, it is in our DNA to prefer what is safe and controllable. In order to embrace change, it is crucial to realize that we do not have full control over our circumstances. Once we realize this, the tension that surfaces with change becomes soil for growth. Take time to consider all the opportunities that can come from change. If you are caught off guard by a big change, it can be beneficial to put time aside to process what is going on and perhaps list out all the possible positive outcomes.
3. Continue through uncertainty
Embracing change does not mean having it all figured out – and thank goodness for that. Change often brings us to a place of vulnerability, so we must commit to continue even if fear threatens to freeze us. Change is a lifelong journey, not a destination, so having enthusiasm for the process will keep us from caving in to the fear of the unknown.
4. Celebrate the growth
Change is life’s best teacher. We can always find a lesson to be learned when faced with the unexpected. Choose to celebrate the way that past changes have shaped you into the person you are today and look forward to the way that change will grow you in the future.
Hugh Prather is quoted to say, “ Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes.”
We’re never going to figure out this crazy journey called life and I don’t think we are meant to sit around and figure it out. There is beauty in the unknown and excitement in the potential for growth at every turn.
words by lindsay – project manager
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