When Change isn't Our Choice

We all hear that 'change is good', right?  I don't generally mind change...it shakes things up and tends to get me out of a rut. 

But I know for a lot of people, it can be very unsettling.

A couple of months ago, there were some organizational changes at work and while I wasn't too impacted by it, others definitely were and it wasn’t their choice.  

Throughout the process, it got me thinking...while I do feel 'change is good' I’ve always considered that primarily through the lens of when I choose the change as opposed to when it's forced upon me.

I still think change can be good even in those situations, it's just harder to see that and sometimes harder to get there.  

When change happens that we didn’t ask for or invite, it makes us feel like we have no control over our lives and that’s very unsettling, discouraging, and demotivating.  

Embracing Change

Why is it important to embrace change even when the choice isn't ours? 

To put it simply...it's because we have to.  Situations that are beyond our control that cause our lives to change are frustrating, but they're there and they're not always preventable, so we have to deal with it.

Some examples of change that we don't invite into our lives that will happen anyway include breakups/divorce, natural disasters, job loss or changes, death of a loved one, etc.

It doesn't always have to be a big change.  Maybe your dentist that you adore is moving across the country and now you have to deal with someone new poking around in your mouth!

All of these are unpleasant and while not all of these will happen to you (at least I HOPE not!), change is, unfortunately, unavoidable.

It's part of life. 

But sometimes, as the result of this unwanted change, something amazing happens.  Even though you can't see it at the time, some of these changes may turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you.  

For example, losing your job sounds pretty horrible and in a lot of cases it is!  But, maybe it pushes you into following a dream or passion that you wouldn’t have tried had you not been forced into the situation.  Or, someone you think is the love of your life dumps you which frees you up to find the person you're truly meant to be with that you would've never found had you stayed in the other relationship.

While these rosy outcomes don't always come with unwanted change, sometimes you have to trust that things will work out in the end.

To be blunt...you have to accept the change even if you don't like it.  Accepting it is the first step to owning it and once you own it, you’re back in the driver’s seat and can do with it what you want.

But, how do you take a negative, unwanted change and turn it into a positive outcome?

TAKING BACK THE CONTROL ON CHANGE

Depending on the change, it can be hard to sometimes find the positive or see the silver lining.  Sometimes it takes time to get there, so give yourself that space.  When you’re ready there are a few things you can to do to allow that discontent to channel into positive action...

ACCEPT THE CHANGE

Some unwanted changes are harder to accept than others.  The dentist example is a good one...I doubt you'll lose any sleep over this type of change, but it can definitely be really annoying.  

But, with the loss of a job, partner, or home, for example, it's not quite that simple.  You will need time to mourn the loss before you can accept the change.  That's okay!! While there's no set time for this phase, there are two things to keep in mind.  Don't try to skip this phase...it's part of the process.  But, at the same time, if it goes on for too long, you'll do more yourself more harm than good.

The problem with not accepting it, is that you will stagnate, grow bitter, and waste years of your life.

I'm not saying this is an easy thing to do...in fact it may even require the help of a professional to talk and work through things (which is 100% A-Okay!).  But getting to the point of accepting and embracing the change that we don't invite will allow us to grow and experience far more positive things than if we let it take control of us.

GROW FROM THE CHANGE

Life will always ebb and flow.  We have amazing highs that we get to experience and then there are the depths of lowness that we have to climb out from.  I firmly believe that we grow the most and have the most opportunity to learn more about ourselves during these low times

If you are faced with a change that sends you into a low period of your life, tell yourself that you will get through it, hunker down, and fight your way back.  Take note along the way and once you're in a better place down the road, take a moment to look back and see how far you've come.  Take the time to see where you've grown and gotten stronger.  This will give you confidence and strength when faced with things in the future.

MAKE PLANS

Once you’ve accepted the change (and maybe even before!), start making some plans!  What can you do with this change to make your life better?  Dream big, write it down, then figure out a way to make it happen.  

Nothing will make you feel more in control of your life, then put a plan that you designed into action.

Only you can control your life.  You may not be able to control all of the factors in your life, but you do choose how you respond and react to every single thing that happens or is thrown at you.  

Choose to take the positive road whenever possible and you’ll enjoy a happier life in the long run.

@@Change isn't something we can control, but it is something we have the power to manage.@@

Now, I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't get mad or hurt or upset...by all means, feel all of those because they're valid and real!  But, allow yourself the permission to see more and to learn more and to do more.  You deserve that!

Your turn! What are your thoughts on change...do you handle it well? If you have any advice you'd like to share with others, leave a comment and let us know! I'd love to hear from you!

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