We have all heard the saying that Change is the only constant (other than death and taxes, of course), and for most of us, it’s becoming more and more a reality. Gone are the days of people working for the same company for 30 years, or the guarantee of finding a well paying, secure job after finishing a degree or training program. And although it has become much more acceptable than it used to be to start your own business, it’s still challenging to be an entrepreneur due to so many factors being in constant flux. The way the world works has completely changed and it means things are not stable or predictable anymore.
Personally, the last few years have involved constant change for me, and I’ve learned how to manage in this state pretty well.
One of the most important skills I have learned is to Embrace Change. Try avoiding it or resisting it and you’ll see: It doesn’t work. Yes, there is almost always some fear and even anxiety as you anticipate the worst, so step back, BREATHE, and sit in those feelings for a moment. Consider the worst case scenario, and really FEEL IT — see it happening and realize there are steps you can take to mitigate or deal with it.
Once we actually put ourselves in that space, we realize it’s never as bad as we imagine, worry, and make it out to be. We are very good at wasting a lot of energy, losing a lot of sleep, and creating a lot of anxiety when it comes to the unknown. But this doesn’t serve us. Instead, write out options that you have if things don’t work out, and what your “Plan B” is. Ask your trusted friends and family to help you imagine creative ways of managing change. Brainstorming with others is a powerful way to generate ideas. Realize that life is all about learning and the journey — not about “getting, achieving, success/failure, accomplishing” etc., which is the black/white belief system that we have been brainwashed into adopting.
If we don’t face and embrace our fears, we resist them, and this creates even more anxiety and fear, resulting in even more wasted energy — a vicious cycle. Allow your emotions to come up rather than running away from them, avoiding them, and suppressing them. (This kind of avoidance is, again, a great way to waste a ton of your energy and actually make yourself physically and emotionally ill in the process.)
Here is where I have found some Self Inquiry exercises to be helpful. As soon as I feel fear or anxiety about a situation/change, I ask myself some questions and write down my answers, plus whatever else comes to mind. I also use this process when I feel irritable or “off.”
Rather than run from it, go into it and allow it: surrender to it, sit with it, and feel it. Ask yourself: What am I feeling right now? Where in my body do I feel it? Is there an old memory attached to it? Is the fear/emotion rational? Can I find the positive of this situation? There is always a positive in every situation, but we seem to focus on the negative when we are in a state of fear. Keep searching until you realize both the positive and negative of what is happening, which helps balance the situation. The truth is, every situation is actually neutral, but the judgements we place on it, due to our individual subjective perceptions, polarizes it for us, so we see it as lopsided.
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From here, I take a few deep breaths and STEP BACK from my “drama” and OBSERVE what is going on, from a NEUTRAL standpoint — as though I am watching my own self-created movie (which is what it is). I ask myself, how is this experience serving me for my growth? Am I able to see how my fears and challenges are pushing me to expand myself — to go outside my safety parameters and to question my belief system? How do I feel about myself (a big issue for many of us) and is it true? Remember your true nature — you are capable, certain, and a powerful creator, whether you realize it or not.
I usually find that after doing this process, I feel a sense of relief, a lightness as I allow myself to feel my emotions, consider the “worst case scenario,” and come up with steps I can take to manage it, if that does happen. It’s empowering to realize you are not as helpless as you think you are or have been made to feel. You recognize that you have made it through many challenges and changes in your life, up to this point. You also realize that many of your fears are irrational and exaggerated — we are masters of making mountains out of mole hills.
In addition to asking ourselves questions, we need to LET GO and detach from the outcome of the situation (ie. what we want) and realize that whatever is needed for our highest growth (and the highest growth of all involved) is what will be. Try controlling Life and you will soon learn, it’s not possible. The only thing we can control is how we RESPOND to Life, and that is where we have a choice. What choice will you make? Fear or Empowerment? Anxiety or Understanding? Worrying or Taking Action?
Holding onto the need for specific material things or our “Status” (ie. maintaining a standard of living, “keeping up with the Joneses”) will only create more self suffering. ‘Right-sizing’ actually feels good — a lot of our stress comes from the over-consumption model our society embodies and promotes. Simplifying life as much as we are able allows us more freedom. A complicated Life means a busy mind and that creates a lot of exhaustion. It also prevents us from being present and enjoying moments as they come.
Lastly, laughter and lightening up are key. This is the game of Life — you actually wanted to come here to planet Earth to play. Yes, it took me years to “get” this concept, and it sounds crazy, I know. But consider the possibility — many who have had NDEs (Near Death Experiences) speak of this idea that we are here to experience and expand. We create a lot of self made suffering and drama through our stories of the past, of our hurts, of our resentments, and all the rest.
It’s like playing a video game: you play different roles and put on different suits to play in different scenarios. The difference is we forget it’s just a game and so we take things here very seriously and intensely. Realize it’s time to DROP your stories of the past and be here NOW, embracing Where you are, Who you are, and All that has happened to you along the way.
It may take a few cycles (or many) of doing this process, depending on how intense the fear is and how big the change. Stick with it and keep working on it. Our fears and belief systems have layers and it’s like chipping away at a block. Don’t get discouraged if the same issue keeps arising; know that you are working on it.
Practice, Practice, Practice is key to managing Change more smoothly. The good news is, it’s up to You to decide how you view and handle Change as it comes up. You get to determine how it affects You. So the key question is: HOW do you choose?
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