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?
Bea saysDecember 19, 2016 at 4:47 am
It sounds silly, but I do not love change and really avoid it. It’s as you say above I think I’d rather stick with something I hate than try something new and maybe hated as much or more.
Susie @ SuzLyfe saysDecember 19, 2016 at 5:13 am
With this journey into IVF, I am thankful for just that–the fact that it is a journey into a journey. Because of how my protocol is, we have had some time to adjust mentally to what is to come, and I won’t lie–I’ve needed it.
Nettie saysDecember 19, 2016 at 5:28 am
I really like that last step. I think I get really excited about change and hope or believe everyone else will be as excited for me as I am.
Lots of times and throws them off and they aren’t excited.
Marcia saysDecember 19, 2016 at 6:15 am
As typical, a kick in the pants right when I need it. I am guilty as charged on the stagnation thing in some aspects. Thank you for this!
Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home saysDecember 19, 2016 at 6:16 am
I wouldn’t say I embrace change, but I don’t fear it. That’s probably honed from years of working in healthcare–nothing is the same. Ever.
messymimi saysDecember 19, 2016 at 6:21 am
It is so much easier for me to embrace changes others are making than my own. Very often i can happily support them, and so easily doubt whether any change is good for me. Slowing down will probably help that.
Pamela Hernandez saysDecember 19, 2016 at 6:35 am
Fearlessly? No. But bravely? Yes. 🙂
MCM Mama saysDecember 19, 2016 at 7:19 am
I’m an embracer of change. I think it’s because my dad was military and change was pretty constant growing up. Now I tend to seek out things to shake things up around here, although I’m not as bad about it as when I was younger. My husband and older kid, on the other hand, are extremely change resistant, which makes for some interesting days around here.
Renee saysDecember 19, 2016 at 8:01 am
I have faced change so many times in my life it really doesn’t even faze me now…I actually have started to embrace it.
Haralee saysDecember 19, 2016 at 8:26 am
NO. I don’t like change but I accept that nothing in our lives is stagnate. Life isn’t linear. When I went through cancer they language used is ‘your cancer journey’. I really would scoff and mutter about this fr***ing journey that I never signed up for and didn’t want to take, but what was my alternative!
Leanne saysDecember 19, 2016 at 8:30 am
I always find change to be really scary – I love it when I’m past the point of changing, but the actual process is always outside my comfort zone. It’s good for me though – and I think the idea of slowwwly is a good one.
Jen saysDecember 19, 2016 at 8:43 am
Love these tips! I think change always bring some level of fear, but these tips are perfect for helping to tackle it!
Patty Chang Anker saysDecember 19, 2016 at 8:45 am
I am pretty good about not letting fear keep me from change, but that doesn’t take care of the dread I feel about how my kids will handle it.
“They’ll hate it. *I* need to love it.” are words I needed to hear – and will repeat to myself often from now on! Thank you, Carla!
Nancy Fox saysDecember 19, 2016 at 8:49 am
Wonderful post Carla. I especially like, “sleep a lot”. It helps to deal with any change that comes my way!
Elle saysDecember 19, 2016 at 9:20 am
I am one of the weirdos who thrive on big life changes. I seek them out. I think it is because I want to have as many experiences as I can and this is one way. I am lucky my life partner feels the same… or at least supports me!
Sharon Greenthal saysDecember 19, 2016 at 9:22 am
Change was neverending during my childhood, and as a result it took me years to accept and even welcome it as an adult. Now I am ok with change, because new is almost always exciting and stimulating.
Jody - Fit at 59 saysDecember 19, 2016 at 9:38 am
Terrifying is the word for me! I actually have a GoFundMe campaign set up – have for a couple weeks now & have not published… terrifying!
Roxanne Jones saysDecember 19, 2016 at 11:22 am
Like MCM Mama, my step-father was in the military. Between his deployments, and my mom and him separating multiple times, I rarely spent an entire school year in one place. I was always the new kid. So I got used to change and today, I don’t fear and actually embrace change. I love the feeling of empowerment this engenders–if things aren’t working in some area of my life, well, I can change it! Even when the change is imposed on me/not of my making, I seem to adapt fairly readily. Great post, Carla!
Susan Bonifant saysDecember 19, 2016 at 11:37 am
Of favorite discoveries is learning to achieve change by degree. If we can think of the end result and back out, the different things we have to do on the way become clear.
I pick one thing at a time and make baby goals. It really works. I see a lot of that in what you’ve written.
Glenda saysDecember 19, 2016 at 12:19 pm
A type of post that has left me with little to say. I can only ponder your question at this point.
Walker Thornton saysDecember 19, 2016 at 1:40 pm
Maybe not fearlessly. I don’ think a little fear is so bad, particularly if it’s a big transition and we accept that a range of emotions will show up. I have to confess to using sleep as a bit of an avoidance–my body does tend to crave it when something big is shifting.
Love your reminders that transitions can be moments for awareness and self-care.
Jennifer Dunham saysDecember 19, 2016 at 7:28 pm
I think it is such a great reminder that there is nothing wrong with baby steps. It is so much easier to face change, or even achieve a goal, when there are small clear steps to take to get there rather than facing it all at once.
Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table saysDecember 19, 2016 at 7:58 pm
This last tip and the last quote are sheer genius. Can you just move in with me and be the good angel on my shoulder when I’m about to do something stupid or over react?
Laura @ Mommy Run Fast saysDecember 20, 2016 at 11:24 am
I’ve gotten better about accepting and welcoming change over the years but it’s not easy for me. I really like #4- preparing yourself in advance that it might not go over well with others. That is often where some of the fear comes from and I love that it allows you to deal with- what’s the worst that could happen?
penpen saysDecember 20, 2016 at 11:37 am
we just underwent a major change–my husband and I sold the house we lived in for 43 years and moved to an apartment nearby–one where we could walk to shops, restaurants and the Metro. Wish I’d had your four-point check list. It was much too fast for him. What has helped is your point 4: the stagnation factor. Many people don’t sell and move because it takes too much effort. I keep pointing out to my spouse how proud of himself he should be for having the gumption to change his life style. That’s helping.
Deborah saysDecember 22, 2016 at 11:07 pm
I’ve been through a lot of change and changes but I struggle with transitions. I think I’m pretty good at doing the preparation needed but not great at the ‘going slowly’ thing.
I just want it to be done and am probably too impatient and sometimes it takes me a while for my emotions to catch up to the rest of me!