If you’re anything like me, you’ve heard all of your life that change is a good thing. And most of the time, it is. People relocate, we transition careers, loved ones pass on, and even society at large is constantly transitioning values and beliefs. Sometimes life gives us these changes in small amounts, while other times life changes in an instant. It is important that we know how to cope with change, both positive and negative, in a constructive way. The key to dealing with change has to do with our perspective, coping abilities, and willingness to accept reality. We will all go through transitions in our lives, so learning to develop these lessons are applicable to all of us to process life’s alterations.
1. It is OK to feel emotional, but only for a certain amount of time
It is natural to grieve over the loss of someone. It is natural to be overwhelmed by a job layoff. It is natural to be angry, or place blame for your situation. After all, we are human. Always remember to express your feelings to others in a polite way. Allow yourself enough time to process significant events in your life, but you cannot allow yourself to linger in self-pity. There has to be a point where the poignant part of your life stops and you begin to live again. If you stay stuck, wallowing in your own melancholy, you will never be able to begin to heal. Feeling like this keeps you in a place of helplessness. You want to be in a place of growth. A place full of hope.
2. Understand that change is a part of life
Understand that in order to have the new come into your life, the old must first go. Throughout all of history, perpetual change is the reason for the development of the human civilization. New opportunities often accompany welcomed or unwelcomed change, and we must keep that in mind as we are coping.
3. You are not alone
It is easy to feel like you do not have anyone there who can empathize with you about what you are dealing with. We often think when dealing with life’s major stresses that no one is there who will understand. Remember this: you are not alone. Family, friends and other loved ones will be there for you. All you need to do is let someone know you need help, and that is OK. That is what other people in your life are for – to support you.
4. You can adapt
This is one of the most beautiful, remarkable, amazing facets of humanity. The changes in our lives are opportunities for us to grow; they challenge our everyday way of thinking and cause us to look deep inside ourselves. Plato said it best: necessity is the mother of invention. You will find new ways to do things affected by the change. Trust that you will adapt, and you will. Those who cannot adapt have convinced themselves that it is not possible. Keep in mind that you will be a stronger person because of the change and that change can sometimes be the motivation you need to achieve your personal goals.
5. Stay focused on the future
Knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that there is a silver lining to the dark cloud, that there are better days yet to come, is the single most important lesson to be learned here. Keep your end in sight, and realize things will get better for you. Take action and control of your life by creating a list of life goals and time lining them out, or doing your part in making the world a better place, like volunteering for a cause that you think is important or helping someone in need. Go travel and see new things. Exercise and become healthier.
6. No matter how much you grow and experience change, you are still you
A painful, traumatic event in our life changes us forever, and that is a good thing. It alters the way we think and how we go about accepting future changes in our life. There are lessons to be learned in the midst of change if you are willing to have perspective. But no matter how much you grow, no matter how many life-altering events occur in your life, you will still always be you at your core. Embrace that. Just because something is different in your life, does not change who you are as a person. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of that.
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