Changes are inevitable – both the positive ones as well as the ones that challenge us. How’s that for stating the obvious? Sometimes we know the changes are coming – we change jobs or move. Other times changes happen suddenly – an accident or event that is unexpected. Some changes are quick while others can be indefinite, as with health issues. There are changes that span the spectrum as far as their impact – from relatively minor changes to ones that turn our lives upside down.
If only this was the complete break down for changes – except that each change we encounter can be different and affect us uniquely. The way we experience changes can be just as unpredictable as the changes that happen in our life. And there’s also the way that we personally handle changes – some people react with grace and flexibility while others can get flustered and struggle. We can also move between these, as this too is a continuum. It’s not as simple as only reacting with ease, as it takes time and energy to adjust, so we cycle through feelings.
How do you react to changes? What kinds of changes do you simply roll with the flow versus changes that provide a greater challenge to handle? When we know our strengths and our weaknesses, we can then consider how to do our best in reacting to the changes.
Consider the person who struggles with sudden changes – short notice changes – bringing up anxiety or stress. They know life can throw curve balls, where plans can go awry, and they don’t want to react so strongly. Working to accept the abrupt changes with more serenity is great. It’s also not the only approach, as you recognize your own reactions. Recently I had a client share that she doesn’t handle sudden changes well – and by sharing that she was helping both of us. Not only would I understand if she faced this situation while I was there, I can now do what I can to minimize any surprises.
What do you tell yourself about how you deal with changes in your life? When we’re successful, we can dismiss the process we went through in adjusting to the changes or we can appreciate our strength and grace in dealing with the changes. On the other hand, the changes that are more challenging can elicit self-criticism. Our struggles can become evidence of our “failures” in life rather than simply a more complex situation that’s pushing us to adapt. We’re all more prone to identify the bumps we experienced over the areas where we succeeded.
Is there ever a time to be critical of yourself – about how you weren’t perfect?
- it was a “tiny” change
- it was a change you knew about in advance?
- and even planned for adjusting to this known change
- it was a change you wanted and acted to bring about
How does it serve you to be critical? Does it help you to cope more successfully for the future changes? I’d imagine that it mostly deflates the flexibility and grace you do have and undermines your self-confidence. And this isn’t to say that the self-critical-ness isn’t going to still pop up– it’s not as easy as flipping a switch to turn it off. It is about what you do when that voice gets loud. If you can recognize it as your interpretation – your perception – and you might be biased; you can start to lighten up on yourself.
Tackling organizing projects are changes you’re working to bring about – it’s your choosing – and that doesn’t automatically make it smooth and easy. It can seem like it’s so small in the grand scheme of things – and yet that doesn’t mean it won’t bring challenges – even in the midst of the lightening and successes. Therefore, consider things going on in your life – are there changes you’re adjusting to – even without thinking about it in that way? Please allow yourself to be right where you are in your own ch-ch-cha-changes!