No matter how hard you try, you cannot avoid change. Life is full of change. Things are constantly shifting, growing and withdrawing. As humans, we are adept at handling change. After all, we have been experiencing it every day since the time we were born.
Usually, we don’t even notice the changes around us. Small things like the change in weather or the passage from morning to afternoon are so normal we don’t give them a second thought. They become part of our daily routine, requiring very little of us. We come to expect them and are very rarely surprised by them.
With so much expertise in change, why do some changes completely throw us off the rails? Why are some changes hard to deal with? How come some of us are unable to gracefully handle major changes in our lives?
Why Big Change is Hard
These questions bring up the fact that we don’t want to feel pain. It’s a natural tendency to do what it takes to avoid things that don’t feel good. When a major change or transition happens in life, there is a great deal of unknown. What will happen next? How will this turn out? Will I be ok? In these cases, it is fear that makes change seem so challenging, not the change itself. When we realize that we don’t have control over the things around us, we begin to panic. When we find that we can’t anticipate what will happen next, we feel agitation.
Another aspect of change that causes apprehension, anxiety and paralysis is that it forces us to face our limitations, whether they are real or perceived. Are we equipped to handle what comes next? Do we have the courage, intelligence, resilience or abilities to navigate a big life change? This apprehension causes many people to stop dead in their tracks, to fight the change and attempt to retreat to when things were simpler.
5 Tips for Navigating Change
Change will happen. Instead of fighting it, it is better to learn how to handle it with care, grace and enthusiasm. Next time you are faced with a life change, no matter how big or small, consider the following tips.
Accept that the change is happening.
Resisting the inevitable will not do you any good. Instead of ignoring or retreating from the change, accept it and embrace it. Don’t harp on the negatives or the unknowns. Focus instead on the possibilities and growth it can create.
Acknowledge your feelings.
Change might not feel good. Although normal, it can make handling the change even more challenging. You may experience feelings of fear, loss or mourning. Acknowledge these feelings and know that they are valid. Give yourself permission to feel those emotions.
Analyze your fear.
Fear is a protective response meant to keep us safe and prevent us from feeling pain. Too often, we listen to our fear and remain stagnant or stuck. When you feel fear, acknowledge it and assess where the fear is coming from. Take the time to get down to the root of it. By doing this, you will see if the fear is rational or irrational.
Be confident in yourself.
Our fear has a tendency to convince us that we aren’t enough. It tells us that we should just stay safe inside our bubble where we know what to expect and how to handle everything that comes our way. Don’t listen to fear! When it tells us that we can’t do it or that we aren’t strong, smart, pretty or experienced enough, trust yourself instead.
Enjoy the ride.
We’ve said it already, but we can’t avoid change. It is bound to happen and it isn’t something we can control. Rather than avoiding it, embrace it and enjoy the ride. By following the tips above, you can put yourself in the right mindset to accept, embrace and actually enjoy the changes you are experiencing.
If you think about change as an opportunity that has the potential to open amazing new doors, you might actually be excited for what comes next!
Life coaches are skilled at helping people navigate changes in their lives, from relationships and careers and everything in between. Are you looking to explore how a life coaching career can allow you to help people navigate change with grace? Contact Life Purpose Institute to learn more about our flexible certification programs.