Most of us like our comfort zone, with the people and activities that are integral part. In these modern times, changes to the comfort zone take place without asking for permission. The hope for future can help counterbalance the fear of uncertainty and attachment to what we have. Personal insights may arise and show the way to a balanced life while coping with change.
In general, human beings are resistant to change. Especially when we have love in our lives and we are thriving, why should we want to change anything?
We may not like changes but changes like us. The idea of permanence, about which some of us may feel comfortable and safe, becomes slowly an utopia. We may live in different homes at different stages. There are more divorces. Friends move abroad and other people take their place.
Even when life is not so satisfying, we may still muse and ponder whether to make any change. This is the case of a friend who feels that she works in an organisation where she can’t use her full potential, and yet, “I’ll keep this job for three more years. I shall see after that.”
Sometimes we may be forced to make a change. The company where a friend was working closed its activities this Summer. Despite that he was previously considering to look for a more rewarding and meaningful job, he didn’t take quite well the news that he is jobless.
The way I see it, being able to cope with change is a must-develop skill both personally and professionally – in particular if we specialise in knowledge-intensive fields.
The way we embrace change is an interplay between uncertainty, emotional attachment to what we have in the present and hope. After going through quite some changes in my life so far, I’ve concluded that life is all about changes. So, how can we use hope to shine through fears and attachments in order to live fully?
Initially, fear may be the queen of our emotions about change. While fear is natural, we have the option to give it a positive twist by trying to manage it. This may be more difficult when we are not be willing to admit we have any fear. Instead, we blame others for circumstances that led to changes in our life.
For example, we may think it is our boss’s fault for lacking the competence to maintain the profitability of the department. As a result, the board decided to outsource the activities of the department, including our job. We may blame the persons with whom our partners cheated on us.
While these accusations may be well founded, it’s better for our wellbeing to stop giving them importance. It’s a better use of time to turn the focus to ourselves and sort out how we can go through the change.
We could try visualising how our life will be in one or two years after making the change. Creating positive scenarios of the future may give us the boost to make the first baby steps in the process. For example, taking a short vacation or long walks daily – anything else that relaxes the mind and brings peace to the soul. The more we open to a new stage of life, the more we’ll be able to recognise and react to the opportunities that come into our way.
When we loosen up from the grip of fear, we can start getting curious about how we can improve whatever happens in the present. Who can help us? How we can reach out to the people who can be helpful? Moreover, there is another kind of curiosity that we can sparkle – the curiosity about any personal insights into our inner lives.
Self-inquiry may make us want to explore:
- What it means to accept our fears. Fears may teach us some useful lessons about how we live our life. This requires that we get over the stage when we are stuck in the realm of fears and expand out attention to what lies beyond them. For example, you get dump and among other things, you are afraid you won’t be loved again. Why would you have such a fear? What is it about you that you feel that another person won’t fall in love with you? What kind of a person you dream to be in order to make someone fall for you? etc.
- What it means to look with anticipation at the future. Hope about tomorrow may increase our ability to dream today and get some inspiration for how to live in the present. In the case of my friend who lost his job in the Summer, while he was seeking for another job, he remembered about an old passion for which he hadn’t had time. He contemplated changing his career to follow the respective passion. This led him to starting to study a new field.
- What it means to wait for the right opportunity. When we send our resumes to companies, we may finally get more offers to choose from. The offer that suits the best may not be the first one that comes. Intuition and peace of mind may be help while we are waiting. Continuing the story about my friend, while his studies were in progress, he was invited for an interview to a firm where he felt it is the work place for him at the moment.
- What it means to discover hidden sides of your true-self, such as the intuitive nature, the strength and flexibility. It can happen that while we are focusing on a particular goal during change, other opportunities come up and are very beneficial. These are opportunities we haven’t considered ever before but which may be just the right thing for us in the midst of change. Returning to the scenario when you get dumped, receiving a job offer in another country may be the best thing that can happen to you.
All these inquiries can lead to the realisation that mindfulness is very important for a balanced life through change. By mindfulness, I mean the orientation of one’s experiences in the present moment, orientation characterised by curiosity, openness and acceptance. Life does not end at the bumps of change. Life continues!
Now, please share with us how do You cope with forced change?
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