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“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” – C.S. Lewis
Change can be absolutely exhilarating when we’ve initiated the process – applied for a new job and been accepted, said yes to a wedding proposal or simply decided to change our hairstyle or color. On the other hand, when change is thrust upon us unexpectedly and uninvited, it is easy to become frozen by fear and anxiety uncertain of what to do next, even when we know we should do something. However, in such situations, what we want to do initially is return to the way things were when we were content and no disruption had taken place, even when we know that isn’t an option, unfortunately.
At some point in our lives, change will seek us without asking if we’d like to have it as our guest. On the face of it in such instances, change is the most horrid houseguest who is disrespectful, rude and seems to have no clue how to fit into our lives. In fact, at the time, it seems as though it is making our lives worse instead of better.
While there are situations when change is indeed for the worse, I would argue that the majority of the time, change is an opportunity, even when we don’t see it that way to begin with. What determines the beauty of the change that is thrust upon us is how we deal with it.
I have written numerous posts on change (here, here, here and here, to name a few), but most have focused on change that is initiated and chosen by the individual. When change is thrust upon us uninvited, and it will, there are ways to make the most of it and come out ahead and even more fulfilled, exuding more strength and in the end, thankful for the opportunity. Yes, you read that correctly – thankful that it occurred.
Why am I writing this, you may be wondering? While I will keep the most private details to myself, sufficed to say, what I wanted and what life had in store for me were two different things, and while I was initially frustrated with the powers that be (Universe, God, whatever/whomever you want to address), I have enough experience to know that beautiful days lay ahead, but only if I pick myself up, resolve to be genuinely thankful for what brought me to this moment and move forward with faith, determination and hope.
What I’d like to share with you today, are steps on how to navigate what can be an emotional, uncertain, yet rewarding journey if handled properly:
1. Understand What is Ahead
Begin the journey understanding that the change that has occurred happened for a reason. As you move forward and make the journey from “here” to “there”, understand that in order for change to happen, there will be moments of emotional anguish, obstacles that seem initially insurmountable (but always keep in mind, the assumed impossibility is a mirage – any obstacle is indeed possible to overcome), and moments of fear. When you accept this fact, you are well on your way to success.
2. Feed Your Faith, Not Your Fears
I discovered a fantastic quote from Positive Provocation about remaining optimistic and motivated. While it is easy to become frustrated when obstacles jump in our path along our way to where we want to go and the life we want to create, choose to feed your faith that you will overcome it, instead of feeding your fear by engaging in negative self-talk. When you accept that in order to change, there will be difficulties, you can also choose to address such fears with faith, instead of feeding the fear monger that will only keep you frozen. Choosing to feed faith propels you forward.