Everything’s Changing

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal how to respond when everything is changing.

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Now, let’s talk about how to respond when everything is changing.

For a moment, think of the many phases you have experienced in your life; think about the physical changes – from being an infant and a toddler, to a teen and an adult.

Think about the mental and emotional changes you experienced that are connected to those physical changes.

Now think about the changes that you personally have experienced based on the unique aspects of your life – a friendship or relationship that ended, a job that no longer exists, family members that have grown, aged or passed away; successes and wins; losses and disappointments.

There are always beginnings and endings.

Now think about the way the world is changing – and faster than ever before – technology, terrorism and the environment.

What once may have appeared to be certain is now clearly uncertain.

However, ‘certainty’ in life usually refers to a limited time period. We know that for particular periods in our life, there is relative certainty i.e. the years when we are at school.

However, only when we truly analyze our life does it become truly evident that there is no certainty – everything changes.

The only thing we can depend on is change – we know that our bodies will change; we know that people around us will change (friends, family & colleagues); we know that society will change, and; we know that even what we want, expect and need will also change or evolve.

“There is nothing permanent except change.” – Heraclitus

And although I use the words “we know” that something will change, we actually don’t know until we have experienced it. In our twenties, we feel immortal and invincible – we don’t actually, consciously think that our body will change, nor do we consciously think that we will become weaker and suddenly aware of our mortality.

When we enter into relationships – friendships and marriages – we don’t think or expect that those relationships might change; we expect them to be constant, certain and even permanent.  Read more.

However, everything changes and everything needs to change.

We wouldn’t enjoy the comforts of modern life and technology unless there was change. We wouldn’t be able to enjoy the things we plan for and dream of, unless there was change.

The challenge is that we only want some things to change and not everything to change; we seek security in the constants and yet we become excited by the possible changes that we select for ourselves and which, we believe are within our control.

And no matter who we are, what our personal situation is, what our status or health are, how much money or power we have, we are powerless to prevent change.

Change will always occur – whether or not you want it, and whether or not it suits you.

When everything around you changes, then you too, have to change with it.

Here are some tips to help you respond when everything is changing.

Awareness
Notice, identify, list and describe what is actually changing in you and around you. Only through awareness is it possible to learn how to respond to the change in a healthy and empowering way. You cannot live and survive in denial of the change.

For example, define what the change is and list what emotions you are experiencing – sadness, loss, disappointment, fear, anxiety, helplessness, joy, excitement, anticipation, expectation, energy, hope, optimism, inspiration, etc.

Are you actually aware of how you are responding and feeling in connection to the changes?

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Tolstoy

Action
Anxiety only occurs when we are trying to control something which we cannot control. We experience extreme anxiety when we try to control someone else or something that is outside of our realm and control. For example, if you sense that you are losing a friend or relationship and you desperately try to control or manipulate the other person, then you will experience anxiety (even if you succeed in being able to control or manipulate that person for a short while.)

When we focus on changing the other person, we lose ourselves in the process. We become desperate, clingy, needy, afraid, angry and resentful that we cannot control or change him/her.  Instead of feeling powerful, we actually feel weak, nervous and anxious.

Identify that which is in your control and then take the appropriate action.

For example, if you feel a relationship is fading or crumbling, you can ask the other person what you need to do to save and rebuild the relationship.

Another example, you may sense that your job is in jeopardy. What can you do about it? Can you speak with boss or board of directors to determine what action and steps you can take to regain some security and constancy in the job – to rescue your job?

“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor E. Frankl

Acceptance
In both above examples, a personal relationship and a job, you may become aware that there may be little if anything you can do to rescue or regain the relationship and job.

It may or may not be possible to do anything about the relationship if the other person refuses to participate; it might not be possible to do anything with regards to your job if the company is taking action that is beyond your control.

That leads to the next point – acceptance.

Once you have gained clarity about that which you can and cannot control, then your next option is to create anxiety and more pain and suffering in the futile attempt to control something over which you have no power, or, to gain peace and new control over yourself by accepting that which is outside of your control, and then taking action to build something new.

Although I have placed “Action” and “Acceptance” in two separate categories, they are not mutually exclusive.

For example, there may be a change in your relationship or job, you recognize that you cannot control it (the job or person), and you refuse to accept the change because it clashes with your values & principles. Then, your next step is to take action by removing yourself from the job or relationship – removing yourself from that which you cannot accept because it goes against your integrity.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” –  Maya Angelou

Healing and Opportunity
We often fear the change and fail to see that there might be a wonderful opportunity for something new and something better. We sometimes close our eyes and freeze ourselves from closing the old door and opening and entering into the new door.

To embrace the new opportunity, you can begin by asking yourself, “What can I learn here…who do I need to become…what new qualities, skill or talents do I need to embrace and develop…what do I need to let go…is there an opportunity here?”

The healing component occurs when we are willing to accept our emotions and experience the sadness and grief. It is true that you do leave behind a part of yourself when things change; you do leave behind an old identity, an old habit or an old behavior when things change. Allow yourself to grieve before taking the next step using the questions above.

Finally, remember, it is only through change (new beginnings and old endings) that we can look back on the past and think fondly of certain experiences, times and phases in our life. Welcome the contrasts!

You can also learn more about embracing and conquering change in this article.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist
www.patrickwanis.com

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