I was thinking about all the times in my life when change led to less than ideal outcomes which were very painful at the time. This isn’t to say that I can’t see the beauty of it all now, how these detours were actually blessings in disguise. But at the time they were painful. There is no positive way to spin it and I don’t feel like it requires spinning. The truth of it is that sometimes change can wreak havoc in your life and in those moments of destruction, when everything is falling down, it can feel crushingly painful. Every time that you are crushed by something it feels a little riskier to be brave and open the following time. This is survival instinct at its best, priming you to find safety against pain and the unknown.
But here’s the thing; if you want your life to be different (better) you have to become okay with change.
You have to trust that the pain, the change and that the unknown is clearing the path for something better to come. And if your dream result doesn’t materialize immediately it doesn’t mean that it never will. It means that you are required to be resilient and carry on, and carry on with an open heart no less.
If you are tired of dating partners who disrespect your time and your boundaries, you are required to change (raise) your standards. This is an exercise in both self-worth and allowing the change to happen. Maybe the next date won’t be that much better but this time you don’t settle. You don’t pick up their call to distract you from the reality of where you are right now or from your loneliness. You persevere; you treat yourself better with no expectation of another person doing that for you. Then down the line when you do meet someone who values and respects you, it feels so right because you are already used to treating yourself well. You’re not second guessing their behaviour or yours. You know what being treated well feels like, and if you don’t at least you know what being treated badly feels like and you are ready to experience the exact opposite of that.
Getting comfortable with change is a continual learning process to which there is no magical formula that will help you by-pass the grit of it. But I know this; that every time that you refine what you are willing to tolerate you expand and that in itself is liberating. That’s the gift in the grit. The ability to unfold into someone you can’t even imagine yourself to be right now. When you say, ‘no thanks’ this is not for me and ‘yes please’ more of this, you are actively claiming your inner power. You expand into your inner power using the process of change to get you there.
5 Steps to Dealing with Change
- Reflect on what underlying fear(s) related to the process of change are being played out in your mind.
- Flip the script on your fears through loving action.
- If you struggle with step 2, seek external help to you flip the script on your fears.
- Write out how you would feel if your fears didn’t exist.
- Focus on the best-case scenario and take aligned action to get there.
Athena Laz is a licensed psychologist, self-help author and wellness columnist for Cosmopolitan Magazine (SA ed). You can see her work here and follow her on Instagram or Facebook. You can also download her free audio training on how to change the internal programming that holds you back here.
Image courtesy of freestocks.org.