After sharing my post a few weeks ago on why change is a good thing, my mom told me I needed to write a follow up piece on handling change when it’s out of your control (or exactly what we’re all going through right now!).
I loved the idea but honestly didn’t know what to say. After having some conversations with her and trying to adapt what I wrote in that last post, I think I have a place to start!
Handling Change When It’s Out Of Your Control
Things happen in life that don’t happen at the right time (sometimes it’s never a good time of course). One of the traits that I’ve heard defines successful people is being able to handle change (and failure). It doesn’t mean these things don’t happen. On the contrary, successful people (in any walk of life) come out stronger from all those forced bumps in the road!
Deciding What You Have Power Over
When faced with change, it’s easy to feel that the whole situation is out of your control. In reality, it’s usually not. One of the reasons it’s great to embrace change (when you have the power to) is that it makes it easier to identify that which you have to accept and that which you don’t.
I think one of the first steps of handling change to take is to stop focusing on what is/will change for a short time and think of what isn’t changing. In reality, many things are staying the same. There is great comfort in acknowledging that which isn’t going to be different as much as anything else!
A strange analogy just popped into my head, but it’s actually quite appropriate. If you see a line of ants (and oh gosh how I detest ants!)…with something in their line of travel, they usually make a small detour around said object. Their beginning and end points are the same, but the path changed and that’s fine for them. The line doesn’t stop moving. So when you hit that roadblock, adapt to continue moving forward!
You have to Be Flexible
So this is no surprise, but you have to be flexible.
It can be difficult to be flexible, however. We usually work hard to develop routines and methods that are predictable, dare I say dependable? So when that routine is upended, what do you do? You have to develop a new norm.
As adults, we give up very easily. Watching my 9 month try to stand and then fall is hard, but minutes later he’s trying again. This process is on repeat pretty much all day every day. Many grown ups “fall” and maybe try once more and then we go find a comfy corner. So maybe we should adapt a little more of C’s determined mentality to better adapt to change.
The inevitable (and necessary) Pity Party of Handling Change
A few weeks ago I also mentioned our life mantra that the first 24 hours are the hardest. When you’re first hit with news of change, it’s ok to be overwhelmed and down (or in the words of my mom “have a pity party”). It’s all a part of the process.
It’s during this time, that you should enjoy your comforting things. Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee. Play your favorite album or your guitar (if you can!). Bake some cookies or get a manicure if you need. It’s ok to create a short, calming reset for yourself. And this is absolutely something you can do frequently throughout any process of change!
But after that initial period of shock is over, that’s when it’s time to figure out what is and isn’t under your control, and begin to adapt. Likely your thoughts will have cleared and organized a bit – small changes become possible!
Why Change is Good
When I asked my mom what she thought I should say in this piece, she ended our conversation with two sound pieces of advice. The first is that you should accept change because “that’s the way it’s always been” is not a reason to stay stagnant. It’s a hindrance more than anything.
Second she said “I also tell myself I need to change or I am getting old.” This is something I hear her say frequently and it’s amazing! It’s absolutely the reason she’s an amazing texter, emoji sender, and gif finder!
What can we takeaway from this? As humans we’re constantly learning and constantly changing, so if you stop changing (whether it is or isn’t in your control), you don’t just stop growing, you start falling behind!