Dealing with Unwanted Change
Let’s be honest, nobody likes change thrust upon them. Be it at work, in our relationships or our general day to day life, unless we choose change we’re usually not keen on it.
The problem is that there’s always change, nothing ever stays the same. Sometimes it’s a welcome change, but often we don’t want or appreciate it, at least at first.
“The only constant in life is change” Heraclitus
Change can feel threatening as we’re thrown out of our comfort zone. Our routine is disrupted, and we need to adjust and adapt. Uncertainty can bring fear especially in a world which feels uncertain a lot of the time, we really don’t like unwanted change thrown into it.
During this year, 2020, most of us have experienced change in some form or another. Many of us can’t travel, some of us have lost our jobs, we can’t see our families, are not allowed to share a drink with friends at a pub, need to wear a face covering and so on……
How much change can there possibly be in just one year!
What happens when we face change?
We more or less follow a few stages:
- We feel shocked and are in disbelief. Is this really happening?
- Denial kicks in and emotions run free. I don’t want this…make it go away!
- Slowly we start to accept that the change is here to stay. I can’t fight it…
- Acceptance and moving forward. Alright, so how can I make this work for me?
These stages aren’t linear of course, we might go back and forth between them for a while, but generally we end up at the acceptance stage at some point.
The problem with remaining in the denial stage too long is that the longer we fight and resist the change the more miserable we become and the more we suffer. We can kick and scream all we want, if we’ve been made redundant then resisting the fact and wishing that it was otherwise will only make us feel really lousy.
In saying this it is important to accept all feelings which might arise and not suppress them. Acknowledge your feelings but see them as what they are, just feelings. Feelings and emotions pass, always.
So, how can we deal with change without suffering?
Allowing our emotions and feelings is a very important step. If we allow some time to process our emotions and are kind to ourselves during this time, we arrive sooner at the acceptance stage.
Once we come to terms with the new situation, we are more open to seeing the possibilities and opportunities it might bring to our lives. Now that we are starting to gain some clarity we can begin to think of the options which might be available to us. We’re moving away from what we lost to noticing what we could gain.
If you lost your job, are you going to search for a new one? If so, will it be the same type of role, or maybe you’d like to try something new? Have you always wanted to study, start your own business or simply take some well-deserved time off?
Change in itself is not the problem, it’s how we respond to it makes all the difference. The less we fight and resist it the sooner we arrive at a place where we can move forward and feel happier again.
My big change this year
I personally went through a number of changes this year, all of them very unexpected. My husband and I moved to London just before the pandemic hit and our plans to visit family in Europe and go travelling went out the window!
In addition to coaching, I also worked in the travel industry for many years and had been offered a position with a great company in London. Unfortunately, due to the lack of travel bookings I lost the job within a few weeks of arriving here.
I won’t even mention Covid-19, lockdowns and the all the changes that brought for many of us, that’s a whole new blog in itself!
Just like most of us I resisted the situation at first wanting things to be just the way they were before, but of course that didn’t work and only made me miserable.
Once I moved past the denial and anger, I realised that the situation offered me a unique opportunity which I never had before. I had time! Lots of time!
Slowly a few ideas started to come to the surface, ideas and intentions I had for a long time but was never able to pursue as I was too busy, and yes, I also procrastinated as I feared failure.
Now with this unique opportunity I finally jumped over my own shadow and started something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. In addition to my other qualifications as a coach and counsellor I started a degree in psychology! I absolutely love it.
Had I not lost my job I might never have embarked on this path. A situation which seemed to be the end of the world at the time has turned into a new and exciting journey.
Change is difficult, there’s no doubt. Unfortunately, none of us can escape it. Life changes all the time, sometimes for the better, and sometimes not. The important thing is that we allow the emotions that come with the change and accept that we can feel pretty crappy for a while, but we also realise that this stage will pass. Once we have some more clarity, we can make a plan and move forward, leaving the old behind and inviting the new. Who know what adventures await us?
Are you still stuck and resisting change?