Change is unavoidable and the part of life we all dread. Change can be hard and uncomfortable. The ways we navigate change are often a reflection of how we have experienced change before. Change can be threatening, inspiring and/or encouraging. Ultimately, the more room you can make for change in your life the easier time you will have dealing with the change when it comes.
How do we prepare for change? What can we do to focus on the positive aspects of change? Luckily, there are some things you can put into place for yourself that will help you effectively manage the changes you confront in your life.
The first step in making room for change in your life is acceptance of the following truths:
- Change is an inevitable part of life.
- Change involves loss — even if the change is positive.
- Change can offer an opportunity for growth.
All the feelings you experience while in the midst of change are valid. Sudden changes can make you feel anxious and ungrounded. Even positive changes can bring about a sense of loss as you mourn the way things used to be. It can be difficult to accept that for something new to begin, something else must end. Acknowledge the loss and create a way to symbolically let it go. There are no rules about how you should feel. Accept whatever feelings arise and be kind to yourself.
Acceptance becomes possible when you take time to reflect. Reflection is easiest when you have a quiet space and uninterrupted time. Important questions to ask yourself include, what do I currently value about my life? What would I like to change? In the midst of change, ask, how do I feel now that this change happened? What do I miss about my life before the change? What elements of my old life do I want to carry forward into my new life? What do I want to leave behind? With consistent reflection, both before, during, and after the change, you can be honest with yourself and others about how you feel, and what you need going forward.
Reflection is truly the heart of transition. This is a time where questioning, growth, courage and creativity happen. You may even make room for a new identity that is more authentic and a true expression of who you are and where you are in your life.
It is never easy to go through a major life change on you own. Reengage with old friends and past support systems. Prioritize and nurture your current relationships by consistently reaching out and connecting with those you are closest to. It might even be helpful to meet new people by taking a class, volunteering, or joining a civic or social group. Having friends and family members you can be open and honest with can help you feel supported, and serve as a source of strength as you navigate the changes that manifest in your life. Your support system will hold a safe emotional space for you to work through this period of your life.
These steps can help you manage and confront change with a positive and confident mindset. You have likely experienced many life changes already. Build on the confidence that you have navigated these waters before. It is these experiences in your life that have made you who you are today. Embrace these times as part of your narrative and know that you have what it takes to make it through.