To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. - Winston Churchill
Nothing endures but change. - Heraclitus.
Change is inevitable and yet we fight it so often. Why do we fight it? Fear, perhaps? A deep-rooted fear of the unknown. Usually, a change leads to the unknown. Should I quit my job? Should I move to a new city? Should I move in with my partner? Will I make the right choice? The bigger the change, the more we fear it.
If you fear change, you are not alone. In fact, I feel safe in saying you are in the very good company of millions of people. I’m going to try to help you move from a perspective of fearing change, to one of embracing, or even seeking out change. And really that’s all it is, a change in perspective. It is something you hold in your mind and you have the power to change it! I will simply try to help.
I would like to pose a question to you. If I could give you a crystal ball, right now, and it could tell you your future exactly, and assuming you had no power to change anything, would you look? Think hard on this question, and the implications if you answer “yes”. Would you really want to know the exact details of your future? You would no longer have to fear any changes, because you would know their outcome. But, is it a fair trade?
What is the point of life, but to live it, experience it, and relish in the journey? There would be no surprises, no adventures, no undiscovered moments, no real spontaneity. Everything would be known and constant.
Think of the moments in your life. The great stories you, or your parents, or your grandparents tell to others around the table. Are they moments when the status quo was being maintained? Or were they moments when their world shifted, and they discovered something great? Maybe it was a moment of hardship, followed by struggle and then triumph. Without change, there can be no hardship, but there can also be no success, either.
At the end of your journey through life, are you going to relish in the moments where your path was straight, or in the detours you took along the way? The challenges you overcame. The moments where you rose to greatness and your life changed forever. Those are the moments that make life worth living.
One of my biggest fears is of standing still, and not changing. I can’t imagine myself laying dormant, content and unchanging. It sounds like death. I actively seek change in my life. Why? Because at the end of my life, I want to look back knowing that I truly lived. That I experienced everything that life has to offer.
Ask yourself now what you would change about yourself if you could. Would you change careers? Live somewhere else? Get married? End your relationship? These can be daunting changes to undergo. Why not change them now?
ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR EMOTIONS
We all have different emotional reactions to the various changes in our lives. By acknowledging these emotions, we take back the power that they have over us. Be honest with yourself, and understand the emotions you’re feeling. Ask yourself why you feel that way. You should especially express any fears that you have over the change. The more thoroughly you understand why you’re feeling that way, the better equipped you are to move through the change easily.
You are not alone in feeling this way about change. As with most things in life, change is easier to go through if you are not alone. You may feel vulnerable and exposed by revealing your emotions about change, but everyone feels this way. Opening up to another person will only help in deepening your relationship. You may be surprised at how many times other people have gone through similar changes in their lives, especially our parents or grandparents. Take advantage of their wealth of knowledge, experience and wisdom. Finally, people love to help out their friends and family. By asking for help, you are giving them a chance to do something that most people love to do!
THIS TOO SHALL PASS
Not all changes in life are happy, but by embracing them we can relieve ourselves of the struggle, and move forward. Losing a loved one is an extreme change in our lives that we have little control over. When I lost my grandfather, it was very difficult. I was deeply saddened by the loss of someone so great. He was an immense man in terms of his love of life, his generosity, and his heart. He fought in WWII and lived with diabetes most of his life, and never complained. He was a truly remarkable human being.
It becomes hard to embrace change when we struggle against what is a reality of life: nothing lasts forever. Accepting this fact helped me to overcome the struggle of losing someone so dear to me. I cherish the memories I have of my grandfather. I remember all the great times we had together. When you accept this, as I have, you are better equipped to transition those hard times. I learned so much from my grandfather about how to live. He was always one to embrace change, and I plan to do the same.
If you are going through a rough time now, know that this too does not last forever. Change is inevitable, and things are bound to get better. It’s OK to be angry, or upset, or frustrated. Have patience, and this too shall pass.
There is little point in thinking, “If only I could go back in time, I would do it differently.” Your past made you what you are today. All of your experiences and choices that have made you into a wonderful person. All of the stories you have, the wisdom you’ve earned, the bumps and bruises that are your life’s trophies, have been well-earned. Do not trade them for anything!
You learn from failure. And from each failure, you are one step closer to success. Lamenting change will not help. So, instead of trying to change the past, change now. Embody the change you want to see in your life. Embrace change, and move forward to the life you want to live! By forgetting the past and looking at yourself now, you can start to see all the possibilities your life has to offer. If you embrace change, all the possibilities are yours to choose from.
To make your life better, you have to first be willing to change it.
FIND THE SILVER LINING
Often we are so busy focusing on the negative parts of change, or our negative emotions, that we fail to take a step back and consider the positive things it may contain. In even the worst changes, there is something positive to be found. Search and find those hard-to-spot gifts, be it a blessing in disguise or an opportunity for personal growth. Doing so will help you move forward and make yourself a happier person.
To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly - Henri Bergson
We cannot exist without change. By struggling against it, we are refusing to accept the very laws of our existence. Not all changes are good, but by accepting change as inevitable we can equip ourselves with the tools to move forward.
If you are going through a big change in your life, I strongly urge you to meditate, clearing your mind of the clutter that permeates our beings on a day-to-day basis, and approach the situation anew. If you consider it a negative change, try to find something positive within it. Learn something, if you can.
By embracing change, you allow into your life the endless possibilities that constantly surround us. With change in your corner, anything is possible, you have but to choose. I challenge you to try to seek out change in your life as a way of learning how to embrace it. Tonight, tomorrow, this weekend, do something completely different. Make a new choice. Maybe it’s something you always wanted to do, maybe it just popped into your head now. Only through change, are you truly alive.
(Editors note: Article previously titled “Embrace Change”)