“Let go or be dragged.” – Zen Proverb
Change often comes to us when we don’t want it — when we’re not willing participants. We cling to the past because it’s comfortable. We refuse to surrender to the present because that would mean acknowledging that our comfort zone has dissolved.
It’s not always easy to gracefully accept life changes.
When we are fired from a job, a relationship ends, or we’re unsure about the path we should take in life, we cling. We hold on to a vision of perfection and stability that doesn’t really exist anymore. But adaptation is key to our survival — maybe it’s more rapid than ever — but it always has been.
5 Reminders to Help You Cope When Change Happens
It’s critical that we become proficient at accepting change and embracing its results. Like most others, change has dragged me through the mud, leaving me with plenty of experience in this department. Today I’m sharing five reminders to help you accept change in your life.
1. Life isn’t a straight line.
Accepting change can be difficult in part because we are so exposed to the successes of others: their perfect relationships, six-figure careers, gorgeous homes, and travels. You’ve heard it before: social media gives us a glimpse into the Instagram-filter worthy moments in peoples’ lives. Every once in awhile, you will get a peak at vulnerability, but mostly it’s the A+ moments in life that are shared.
The reality, however, is this: life is a series of ups and downs, highs and lows, wins and losses – for everyone.
2. Perseverance is your friend.
There has been much written about grit and perseverance over the past few years; it has even been called the “key to success.” Unexpected and unwanted change allow us to become more resilient and foster our ability to persevere. While it doesn’t feel good at the time, know that in the long run you will be stronger and more resilient for it.
3. You can change your brain.
One of the most profound insights I have learned is the fact that we can rewire neurons in our brains and change our habits and thinking. I can attest to the fact that this works because I’ve accomplished it. It didn’t happen overnight, but it happened in a reasonably short period on the grand scale of life.
If everything were perfect in life, there would be no need for brain rewiring. It’s the challenges, the resistance, and realization that we lack control that become the catalyst for this rewiring. In other words, change helps us in the long run to make positive changes in our psyche.
4. Small things count too.
When we’re experiencing shifts and periods of change, we sometimes feel like we’re wasting time. We could be doing big things – important things. We could be working toward something more aligned with our dreams, we could be making and saving more money, we could be building a solid foundation in a relationship. All valid thoughts.
But during these times of change we often neglect the small things. We can spend time with the people we love more. We can take extra classes and hone skills that we would never have done otherwise. We can read those books that we’ve wished we had time for for years. There is no perfect use for time – it’s not all about the climb to the top – sometimes it’s simply about recharging and rebuilding with a stronger foundation.
5. No time period defines you.
Coming from someone who left her twenties behind only a few short years ago, I can tell you that the pressure to accomplish in your twenties is real. You feel like your twenties are the most pivotal time in your life when you’re there. It’s only when you hit thirty that you start to realize how ridiculous it is to think that a single ten-year period of time in your lifespan defines who you are.
We are evolutionary beings. We shift. We adapt. And for some reason, our society is obsessed with the idea that there is one right way to do things – one of everything. One perfect career (because you’re not allowed to have multiple passions). One perfect time to marry (because marriage isn’t optional). One perfect time to have kids (because kids complete you). While these may be true for some, they certainly aren’t true for everyone.
When it comes to worrying about where we’re headed in life, there is no need to resist change because it allows us to slip into our own skin at just the right pace.
Change happens to all of us – do you find it hard to accept?