Change is unavoidable.
Some seek it.
Most tolerate it (and would avoid if we could).
Others are so terrified by it we choose to remain stuck in unhappy circumstances (aka the pain we know) to avoid transitions to new ones (the pain we don’t).
Change is beyond our control. The manner in which we approach transition to change is not.
Even during situations where shifts feel scary we can consciously choose steps toward the new which lessen how frightening the transition feels.
Ever heard the phrase about ‘ripping the Band-Aid off quickly‘ which alludes to embracing the pain of an experience? This admonition focuses on choosing sharp, fleeting pain over lingering, dull hurt. Consider the validity of this concept and reflect upon times which you’ve experienced it. Now forget it. When it comes to making transitions less frightening it’s important to proceed deliberately and gradually. Slow movement, adjust to discomfort, slow movement, adjust to pain, repeat. Which leads me to…
Take only baby steps.
Consider the last time you saw a toddler take her first tentative steps. I’d bet your reaction was to cheer, applaud or another expression of celebration. I’d also guess your next thought was not: Well, that was nice. When’s your first marathon?? We need to treat ourselves like toddlers as we approach life-transitions. When we acknowledge and celebrate each small stride toward change suddenly the transition doesn’t feel quite so ominous and terrifying. Heck, *I* believe we should celebrate when we stay in place and don’t sliiiiide backward. Just as with being average, we humans don’t applaud often enough success in maintaining.
Sleep. A lot.
Sleep can sound like a silly suggestion with regards to mitigating stress or fear–it’s not. In addition, to those of us who excel at napping (sadly, I’m not one), it can feel like avoidance. (For the most part) It’s not. Not only is rest crucial to success in life, sleep offers our brain time to rejuvenate, reset and discover new solutions for old problems. Think about the last time you went to bed fretting about something and woke feeling better/possessing a fresh perspective. Sleep really is a panacea of sorts.
Decide everyone will hate the change.
Sure I’m being hyperbolic, yet the older I’ve gotten the more I’m reminded I do not reside in a vacuum. Our transitions may be scary experiences for us, but often they’re also threatening/terrifying to our people.
Prior to this realization, I wasted time/energy fearing how others might respond to shifts I was making in my life. Once I changed to a mindset of They’ll hate it. *I* need to love it. The rest will fall in place! my fear of transitions diminished. In addition, I was often happily surprised to receive support from unforeseen places.
Surprised by the friends from whom I was able glean encouragement.
Surprised by the manner in which unexpected people rose to support me.
I’m rarely an advocate of negative thinking, however in this situation a negative mindset has served me well.
The ability to go from being terrified of change to
embracing it lessening the stress it causes you can be learned.
Even now, when I forget and start to careen toward the terrors, I remind myself the only constant in life is change.
And *really*, who wants to go through life constantly terrified?
And I return, again, to my 4 steps.
- Are you able to fearlessly face transition and change?