“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin
We are constantly negotiating with change. In the course of a day we can change our plans, change our clothes and change our minds on a hundred different things. Most of the time we are flexible enough to deal with the twists and turns change can bring and if nothing else it keeps things interesting.
But what about the changes that threaten to derail the course of our life — the changes we don’t anticipate, choose or can nimbly weave into the fabric of the day to day? Perhaps a significant relationship has ended or you’ve been made redundant at work. We aren’t simply inconvenienced by these kinds of changes. We are angry, sad, resentful and afraid. We feel a loss of control. Suddenly we are a spectator to the events of our life and not an active participant.
So how do you find your feet when you feel like your life has been turned upside down? How do you negotiate with changes you didn’t ask for and, quite frankly, could do without? Well, first you fall apart and then you put yourself back together again!
Get emotional — Working towards acceptance
There’s no way around it. For a while at least this will be a very emotional time. Give in to it and let it be what it is. Life has dealt you something you didn’t ask for and it sucks. Get angry. Be sad.
Vulnerability researcher Dr. Brene Brown suggests that as a culture we are losing our tolerance for vulnerability. We think that to be vulnerable is to be weak when really the opposite is true. While revealing our vulnerability does stir up the ‘dark emotions’ of fear, anxiety and shame it is also “the birthplace of joy, of love, of belonging, of creativity, of faith” (Brene Brown, The Price of Invulnerability, TEDx KC, 2010).
Every life affirming, positive emotion is born of our allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and exposed. So don’t numb your emotions or waste your energy pretending everything is alright. Feeling your pain, living it as it comes, is not a weakness but an act of courage. Your vulnerability right now will actually become the wellspring of a stronger, more resilient you.