Dealing with Change

Change is inevitable, whether it relates to a relationship, the death of a loved one, job loss, moving to a new house or a change in something that we thought would always remain constant. Life is ever evolving. Below are some tips to help you deal with change.

  • Acknowledge that there's only one thing you can control in life, and that's yourself.

You cannot control everything all of the time. You cannot control time, you cannot control others’ emotions and reactions, and you cannot always control what happens to you in life. However, you do have control over your behaviour and how you choose to respond to what happens in your life. There was a time in my life where I felt all sense of control was being taken away from me and for a few years I lived my life in a very controlled “pause mode”, trying to control everything and everyone around me in an effort to cope with the things that were going on at that time. Admittedly, it wasn’t the best approach, but it was all I knew at the time. However, now I understand that our reactions to what happens to us is the determining factor in how good or bad we feel, not the situation itself. The reality is life continues and change won't go away but if you tap into your resources and draw on the help of those who care about you, you are more than capable of getting through any change without falling apart.

  • Don’t Personalise

It’s very easy and understandable to personalise situations, especially when the change seems to have happened because of something we did or didn’t do. A relationship break up is a classic example. When a relationship ends it’s common to question ourselves. “What did I do wrong?”, “Am I good enough?” “What will other people think of me?” etc.­ However, the truth is a relationship ending may have nothing to do with your character or behaviour per se - it may just be that the values within the relationship weren’t a good match, for example. May be the things that were important to one person, weren’t to the other, and that is okay. Job loss is another example. It would be natural for someone to question his or her character and ability if they were to be made redundant, when in fact it may have nothing to do with their character or ability. Don’t automatically assume that changes in your life are your fault. Be open to the fact that there may be other factors involved.

  • Ask Yourself a Productive Question.

When faced with change, ask yourself this question "What's the worst that could happen?" This question will help you identify what might need to be managed in the present moment and over time so you can find strategies to prevent the worst case scenario from happening. For example, let’s say you are asked to move departments at work, which requires taking on more responsibility. You fear that you won’t be able to cope as it is a new role with new tasks required. The worst that might happen in this case is that you would lose your job. Now work back from that. What could you do to ensure the successful outcome of keeping your job and doing it well? Perhaps you might need to improve certain skills, in which case you may need to get extra training, take a class outside of work, draw on others’ expertise etc. Ask for what you need so you can devise a solid plan and implement it.

See Change as Opportunity 

Change is an opportunity to re-examine your life and all that you are doing. It allows you to review your choices (past, current and future), to draw upon any lessons you could have gained from them, and the opportunity to refine your goals so you reach more of your potential. Change helps us to renew or reroute our purpose in life. It can help you steer your life more effectively. The death of a loved one for example, although distressing, can allow us to see life as precious and to reassess our values. Moving to a new place or getting a new job brings with it the possibility of meeting new people and opens up new opportunities. It can allow us to experience new ways of living and new ways of working, broadening our understanding of the world and the people in it, and even finding our purpose. A new relationship can give you the opportunity to experience real love and kindness, something you may never have experienced had a past relationship continued.

Allow Time 

Change can sometimes be shocking, especially if it is unexpected. In light of this, it’s important that you are gentle with yourself and give yourself the time you need to settle and recoup. That does not mean wallowing in self-pity it simply means that you give enough yourself head space to come to terms with whatever change you are experiencing. Continue to deal with life's practical day-to-day living as it will help you to keep routine and purpose (ask for help if you need it) but do allow time to gather your strength. With that approach, there is nothing you can’t get through. You are amazing and change is a normal part of life. Embrace it.

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