Everything is in constant flux.
The question is whether we will accept change passively
or whether we will take the lead and create
positive changes on our own initiative.
While conservatism and self-protection
might be likened to winter, night, and death,
the spirit of pioneering and realizing ideals
evokes images of spring, morning, and birth.
That quote, which I found here, really made me think about change. I don't know about you, but something about the springtime always makes me think about change. I think it's because every day I walk out of my apartment and something is different. New leaves have sprouted up on trees. New animals are scampering about. New flowers are poking their heads up from the ground. Whatever it is, spring makes me think of change and, while all of the springtime changes are great, I'm not so sure how I feel about change in general. Usually I find myself resistant to change. Like Dar Williams sings in "It's Alright," I think of change as something that "breaks me down into a sorry, sad thing, not some iridescent, grateful butterfly." Of course, I don't feel this way about all change -- some change is wonderful, amazing, great! But sometimes, yes, I don't want to have to change or I don't want things around me to change. But you know what?
Change is inevitable.
Yup, it's going to happen. No matter what you do or how you live your life, you will, at some point (and probably at many points) experience change. Whether it's good or bad, you will have to deal with it and, whether it's good or bad, you may not always find it easy to cope.
How To Deal With Change
- Anticipate change. If you can, anticipate change and try to plan for it. This isn't always easy, but if you can do it, you will be more ready for the change when it arrives. Sometimes this is easier (like when you're about to have a baby) and sometimes it's not so easy (like when you get fired without any idea that it's about to happen). Try to be in tune with the world around you and you may be able to anticipate change better.
- Accept it. For whatever reason, I typically resent change. I think to myself, "Hey! What are you doing here? I was all settled and now you're just going to come around, trying to make things different?" But, unfortunately, that doesn't change anything. If there's nothing you can do about it (and a lot of the time there isn't), you have to accept it. Whatever you do, don't ignore it. That never works out well.
- Let go. Remember, you don't have control over everything. Some things in life (ok, a LOT of things in life) are out of your control. So just let go. Listen to Frou Frou's "Let Go" if you have to. It helps me!
- Be flexible. This is a hard one for me. I'm one of those set-in-my-ways types (yes, at twenty-five, I'm already like a little old lady) so it's hard for me to be flexible. Flexibility is a great attribute to have in general though. If you aren't so rigid, you can be happier in new situations and when change sneaks up on you.
- Remain calm. The worst thing you can do is panic. Going into panic mode will not help the situation. I emphasize that because it's so important. If you start to panic, you won't be thinking clearly. If you're not thinking clearly, your emotions will get the best of you and you won't have the ability to logically deal with the change and assess what needs to be done to make the change work for you. Remember this: calm. cool. collected. That's what you need to be.
- Think about the future. Ideally, you should be focusing on the now and trying to stay present, but if your present situation is too much to handle, think about the future. Think about yourself in five, ten years and whether or not you will be as concerned about this change then as you are now. Whatever you do, don't think about the past. Don't compare what was to what is. You will only bring yourself down if you do this.
- Set goals. So you've accepted the change. Now what? Think about what needs to be done to help you adjust to the change. If you create goals for yourself, you will feel more in control of the situation and you will have a plan to follow in relation to dealing with the change.
- Take charge. Of your mind that is. I've talked about this before and you all know it -- you can control what you think and, most importantly, you can control your attitude. If you don't like something it's because you are allowing yourself not to like it. Try to see the good and the positive in your changed situation, and... keep an open mind. This goes along with the flexible idea. Even if you might automatically want to resist the change, think about how it might be a good thing. Your boyfriend dumped you? Maybe that means there's someone better out there for you. You lost your job? Maybe a great opportunity is just around the corner. Stay positive!
So now that you have some ideas about how to deal with change, it should be a little bit easier. Next time I find myself faced with change, I'm definitely coming right back to this post for inspiration! It's up to us to control how we deal with change. As the quote at the top of this post asks, "Do you want to passively accept change or do you want to actively seek the positive in it?"
When change is positive, I love it. I love the spring and the new flowers. Bad change I'm not so sure about. I read a quote this morning that really made me think about this. George Santayana said:
To be interested in the changing seasons
is a happier state of mind than to be
hopelessly in love with spring.
I've always been that way -- hopelessly in love with spring and the "good" change. I never mind change if it's good change. But, as we all know, the good is never as good without the bad. Spring would never be as wonderful if we didn't have winter. If we want to be in a happier state, we have to embrace both the good and the bad change. If change (bad AND good) is inevitable, why not be interested in it? Why not think about it and accept its challenges, facing them dead on?
Change is intimidating. Even when it's good, it's not always easy to deal with. But try not to resist it. Try to think about the quote above and how you can be in a happier state if you accept all change -- good and bad. Whatever you do, don't stay hopelessly in love with spring. Instead, embrace all of the seasons in your life. Accept change for what it is.
Note: Stop by tomorrow to read an interview that I've done with Graceful Creative, an amazing blog that shares inspiring insights about life and how to make it better. If you haven't visited the site already, I strongly suggest that you do so. It's great, inspiring, and beautifully done.