Accepting Unexpected Change
Monday August 27, 2012

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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

“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” – Deepak Chopra

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

“Fear, uncertainty and discomfort are your compasses toward growth.”

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.

3. Take Action

“Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.” –Walter Anderson

Some of the most difficult days in my life have been the days immediately following an abrupt and unexpected change. For some this may come by way of job loss, a relationship ending, an accident or loss of someone you love. While it is healthy to grieve, we must not lose ourselves in grief. Yes, allow yourself time to mourn the death of the life you thought would continue on for some time, but then, take action. Get busy pursuing a goal that you’ve had in place but maybe placed on the shelf. Get busy doing your best work and chasing dreams that you now can put into action. Whatever you do, get busy. Take action. This will keep your mind busy and will put it to constructive use, so that by the time you’ve given your heart some time to heal, you will have produced something you are proud of.

4. Allow Yourself to Get Excited

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” –Jim Rohn

The life you thought you were going to live may not occur exactly as you predicted, but guess what, I’m confident it will be better than you expected if you commit yourself to the change that must occur. Take the reins of your life, take a few more risks, show the world who you really are, and brush aside nay-sayers. After all, at least you have the gumption to live this once in a lifetime experience called a life in a way that sits well with your soul and is tailored to your gifts and passions. Living authentically is the right path if handled with tact and compassion toward others.

5. Find a Hug

“It doesn’t matter who, when, or where… you can always use a hug.”Hope Floats movie

By choosing to embrace this change that has been thrown into your lap, you are choosing growth. With this acceptance, you are opening your heart, trusting that wonderful things will find you again and bravely moving forward even when you aren’t sure exactly how it will work out. If you have chosen this path, you are already becoming a better version of yourself, but as mentioned previously, it will be difficult at times. In these times, as well as others, find a hug. Find someone who loves you and cares about you and seek out a hug, a good hug, from them (I do love hugs from those I love, they mean the world!) You will need support as you progress through the change you are embarking on, but the gift of who you are becoming is worth the journey.

“What I like most about change, is that it is a synonym for ‘hope’. If you are taking a risk, what you are really saying is ‘I believe in tomorrow, and I will be a part of it’.” –Linda Ellerbee

Know that I am on this journey with you, and if I can do it, so can you. | The Simply Luxurious Life

24 thoughts on “Accepting Unexpected Change

  1. Your whole blog just blows me away, fashion + life inspiration = wow.
    Thank you for reminding us all of these home – truths.
    From a loyal fan

  2. Thank you for making so succinct and profound exactly what I would like a dear friend to know. Your timing could not be more perfect.

  3. ‘Everything will be alright in the end, if it is not alright, it is not the end!’ – a quote from a recent feel good movie I watched.

  4. Amazing post Shannon. I am currently struggling to deal with unexpected change as i’ve been applying for jobs and attending interviews but i am yet to receive a positive response

    xo Stephanie

  5. Here’s a love hug to you. For the past couple of years I have been relearning how to live a new lifestyle do to an issue that blind-sided me. Shannon, thanks for the inspiring posts and want you to know that you have made my ‘world’ a better place to live in. Take care. D

  6. What an amazingly, well-timed post. I recently ended a relationship. And while it is for the best, the pain of the loss of something I thought was going to be fabulous, coupled with the pain of trying to get my life back to center, has been crippling at times.
    Thank you for letting me know I am not alone…..
    I hope life smiles on you very soon.
    Be well..

  7. Love this post. You are a wonderfully wise person. It takes enormous courage to embrace the changes we do not seek, and sometimes wouldn’t even choose. I love the C.S. Lewis quote, because I do think you can’t move forward until you embrace change. I just was recently recommended some Pema Chodron books, who is brilliant about this subject. And really an excellent writer to boot. Thanks for your insights!

    I wish the best in this change in your life. Keep your eye on the light at the end of the tunnel. Its illuminating something, even if its not totally in focus now.

  8. I too add that it was extraordinary timing for me to open my email and find your encouraging words. My life has just been turned upside down and I am hoping I can find the right type of “Business” to keep me on the right path. When a loved one has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, it seems the light at the end of the tunnel is a train coming my way.
    thanks for your plan for the journey.

  9. You did a fantastic job on this post. I know I will be rereading it.
    I’m sending you out a big hug for whatever you are going thru right now. It sounds like you know what to expect. I am going to think of these steps next time I am in a similar situation.
    Thanks for this. (love the best buddies on the beach photo – happiness is that photo)


  10. I just love your blog and I’m so glad to have come across it. Every post you have never fail to INSPIRE. How you communicate your thoughts & ideas about a particular thing or situation always get right through anyone’s heart. You move people…you touch people…you inspire us in more ways than one. Hats off to you. Keep it up!

    Anj ❤

  11. Thank you for this wonderful post – it’s so timely and really meant for me! I just ended a relationship, changed careers and about to move countries as a result. The change is daunting, but I am choosing faith over fear. Your wisdom is intoxicating!

  12. I stumbled upon this post whilst looking for another one. This resonated with me having lost someone this year and putting things ‘on the shelf’ I know want to grab it back of the shelve. I’ve been spending the holidays planning and am trying to stay focused on a new plan for 2015. Thank you for such an inspiring post.

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