I can remember in high school about 2-3 months before graduation things got real weird between my best friend and me. We had been attached at the hip since elementary school, always had each other’s back.
All of a sudden, there was a weird rift in our friendship.
We had lived around the corner from each other all of our lives, gone to the same schools and were always a text or a short walk away when we needed each other.
That was all about to change as we were going to schools in different states. That scared the SH$% out of us both. At the time, our first response was to avoid it. Avoid the subject. We didn’t talk about everything we knew was coming our way and it wasn’t until our friendship felt really off, we were arguing or not speaking, that we were forced to face it head on.
This week I’m talking all about change. Change is hard. Change is scary. Change is uncomfortable. It’s also exciting, motivating and liberating. Let’s chat about how to approach major shifts in your life whether it’s your career, location, relationships, friendships, etc.
4 Of My Personal Tips On How to Deal With Change
As I get ready for my next move, this subject is heavy on my mind. Here are some of the things that help me work through the cycle of change. Some are much easier said than done and my days vary LARGELY in how well I cope with it! I do the best I can, and try to use the information I know to make this transition a bit smoother then the last. So here goes:
Often when I experience change I feel VERY uncomfortable and uneasy. Most of what I know, what is familiar and what has grown to be comfortable for me disappears. I’m put in a situation where I have to re-adjust and adapt to a new setting, new people and new expectations. In the moment, this uncomfortable feeling feels like it’ll never go away or I’ll never feel at peace again. That is simply NOT TRUE.
Pretty much everything in life is impermanent. Change, however, is constant. This includes all of the sticky stuff! Knowing that everything I’m experiencing now will someday be a memory of something I have overcome is relieving. Nothing lasts forever!
2. Face your feelings head on
Going back to my story with my best friend, as humans, we really like to avoid things that don’t make us feel good. A common reaction when we are facing adversity is to detach or to avoid. Now, we all know (or at least I hope we do) that this probably isn’t the most helpful approach.
The best way to handle emotions and feelings regarding change is to let yourself feel them!! Ya, that’s right.. feel your feelings. If you need to be sad, that’s okay. If you’re angry, that’s okay too. Excited? Nervous? The more we try to get rid of uncomfortable feelings, the longer they last, and usually bubble up into something more.
Letting yourself feel what you need to, acknowledging it and THEN moving past it is one of the healthiest ways you can approach change. It’s okay to not feel your best all of the time and big life transitions often feel like a roller coaster of emotions. That’s normal.
3. Take action – rather than avoiding
Piggy backing off of feeling all the feels, do what you can to set yourself up for success. Take action in whatever ways feel good to you. Whether that’s connecting with people who have experienced something similar, leaning on your friends and family, going to therapy or coaching, planning for the future, or finding extra support. Explore ways in which you can allow yourself to feel supported while you experience this transition.
4. We adapt and we grow
Looking back, I can reflect on how all of my life transitions and big changes have contributed SO much to the person I am now. Through every challenge I’ve faced, I’ve learned something new. Growth is part of the change cycle but typically not until the end, or maybe not even until months after, will you realize how much you really evolved. It brings me peace during times of unease to know that in the long run, I will look back on this experience and be proud of myself for getting through it and for growing stronger every day. We are primed to adapt and to grow, as long as we let ourselves. Let change in and embrace it. New experiences lead to new beginnings and we can never predict what the future may hold!
So, there you have it. These are some of the beliefs and facts that I hold on to as I find myself facing a big change once again. I want to reiterate that it is not always easy, and the experience is very rarely linear.
I know all of these things, and still find myself really struggling to handle all of the “newness” some days!
I hope if you’re experiencing the whirlwind of challenges that come with major life transitions, you find comfort in knowing you are not alone! I want to challenge you to embrace the change and let yourself be okay with the ups and downs. No one is perfect and there’s no “right” way to handle it. If you find yourself needing some extra support, you know where to find me!