How to Make Friends With Change
Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one. – Dr. Seuss
We are all resistant to change to one degree or another. For some of us, it brings feelings of dread and anxiety as we anticipate what we are leaving behind and possible (in our minds) losing. We feel anxiety over something new and different that takes out of our zone of familiarity. We may ask ourselves ” How will I make it, How will get through this?” Change is always uncomfortable and a lot of us do not deal well with anything that makes us feel uncomfortable or awkward.
Most people enjoy their routine. It is safe, it is known and predictable. But change inevitably happens and, if we have not developed the expectancy and understanding that change is normal, then we might find ourselves ill-equipped to deal with it emotionally, physically or even financially. The fact is, not everything stays the same; children grow up and leave home, jobs terminate, cherished friends move away or pass away, family members pass away. nothing ever stays the same forever.
If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living . Gail Sheehy
Let’s admit it once and for all: No one likes change. Usually, change doesn’t happen because we have initiated it; change usually happens to us or around us whether we want it to or not. We just have to learn how to deal with it in the best way possible. In his book The Difference Maker, John Maxwell talks about attitude and change; how we view change makes all the difference.
Five main reasons are given as to why people resist change:
Fear of the unknown
It Feels awkward
They cling to their traditions
The first concern people have is one of loss. We are afraid of losing what we have worked hard to acquire in terms of finances, recognition at work or even a community of friends we may have to leave. We may fear losing the stability we are used to and a lifestyle we have been accustomed to. People around us may try to encourage us by saying that it is for the better, but, if we are the ones directly impacted by the change, it is very hard to see the gains and benefits. Change necessarily means that we will have to give up something to gain something else.
Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change. – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Fear of the Unknown
When confronted with a new reality, we are not always prepared to step in and adapt. The newness carries with it a certain uncertainty because of what we don’t know. For example, moving to a new city means learning to get around, and making a new set of friends. We just don’t know how everything will turn out because it seems new and strange to us. A new job means new colleagues and new expectations. A change in health for us or a family member…….
No time is the right time for change to happen, but when we need to make changes, timing can make all the difference. There are changes that happen to us and changes that we instigate. When we go through a change such as a job loss, an illness or financial crisis it will never seem like the right time and we often feel like we have lost control. Other times we need to make changes such as career changes or moving, but, again, we may hold off because we feel that the timing is not right for a change.
It Feels Awkward
Anything that is new and different can feel awkward at first. Starting university for the first time, for example, can feel uncomfortable and we may feel like we don’t belong there. When we are placed in new positions, it can feel awkward because we are called to assume new responsibilities that we had previously not had. Changing habits and adopting new ways of doing things feels strange until it becomes routine.
Hanging on to Traditions
Our traditions are a hindrance to change and innovation, but we hold on to them because we have “always” done things “this way”. It is very difficult to convince people to start doing things a different way because people, being people, cling to their traditions; they are a source of security for them.
When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills. Chinese proverb
How To Have a Different Perspective
Generally speaking, we resist change because we tend to focus too much on what it will take away from us, how it will inconvenience us or where it will take us. We fear loss and the unknown and change represents both in our minds.
What we need to do is alter our perspective on how we view change from one of loss to one of gain. Everything worthwhile will necessarily mean a certain amount of sacrifice and sacrifice means we have to let go of what we have or are used to in order to gain new advantages or experiences. It is also helpful to adopt a realistic perspective. Often we imagine any change to be much worse and catastrophic than it actually is. We also downplay the opportunities that could along with change.
John Maxwell lists some reality checks:
Change will happen whether we like it or not
Without change, there is no Improvement
There will be a cost
Change Will Happen
All of life is about change; it is unavoidable. No day is like another; they all come with their joys and their challenges. People change, circumstances change, the weather changes. Life is anything but boring. Just coming to grips with this reality and accepting it can be a good start. Accepting and even anticipating change can help us to plan and adjust. We might not like change, but, because it happens all the time, we can learn to “roll with the waves”.
No Change, No Improvement
Change challenges us to hone new skills even if these are just skills of adaptation and patience. It will never leave us the same as we were before; it is always transformational. It can bring about gain, or opportunities, but it can also bring about loss. Change is the instrument, but our attitude regarding how we perceive change determines how we will be affected by it. Where there is no change, there can never be an opportunity to grow.
There Will Be a Cost
Change always requires payment in money, time, energy or other. No matter what the changes are in our life, whether it is personal change, professional change, or changes that “happen” to us or in our entourage, we must know that adapting or adjusting will require something from us. We may need to to make financial adjustments or schedule adjustments. We may need to adopt new ways of thinking and living. The best way to assume the cost is to understand that it is necessary and manage it.
A Perception of Change
It has been said that time changes things, but, in fact, changes are only circumstances or choices. We are responsible for assuming the responsibility for the changes we make and for our attitude towards changes that happen to us or around us. Change can not impact us, good or bad, without our permission.
Of course, the easy way out would be for everything and everyone to remain the same, but even the 3rd law of thermodynamics teaches us that change (or adjustments) is necessary otherwise everything will naturally go toward decline. nothing remains the same (or static). If we are not changing and growing, then we are necessarily going back towards decline.
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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, and the pursuit of a debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life. You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca
- February 27, 2020