Change – how do you not lose your mind when navigating multiple transitions?
Like most people, I overestimate my capacity to handle change. In fact, I can preach the “change” sermon all day until change swings by, packaged in a way I hadn’t anticipated.
33 months ago, my life was full; I was a high energy single woman, climbing up a corporate ladder, a buzzing social life, deep involvement in the cause of my local church.
I had a full throttle-engagement to empowering a group of women under my wing plus a solid umbilical-cord connection to my mentors.
I couldn’t have asked for more.
Then change came by.
First, it was the corporate world; it was time to leave the organization I’d worked for seven years.
Soon to exit was the empowerment forum from where I was impacting the women.
My social pool suddenly dwindled. A whole lot dwindled.
A shifting relationship with my mentors swung by as well.
Then I began a new business.
And I then I discovered I was still mourning the loss of my dad.
Now, in my simple thinking I expected to sort of breeze through the changes that were taking place in my life.
So when I found myself reacting in less than ordinary ways to the myriad things in my life, I perked up.
Not immediately. But eventually. I began to figure out that there was nothing I could do about some of the transitions, except accept them and grow up.
Number one thing I needed to understand?
Change can be a good teacher. Nonetheless, most students appreciate the lessons post-class, once they begin to apply them in real life.
One of the things I have learned; to get better at my present, I have to let go of my past.
I have a tendency to drag past experiences, expectations, frame of mind, desires, habits in to my current season and expect growth. Or less tears and angst.
But the past needs to stay in the past if I am to excel in the present.
My energy has to be poured to the new thing happening in my life. I cannot live forward when my mind is looking backward.
Another thing about change; if you had responsibilities or served in a position in your past, a proper hand over is vital.
You must hand over and then leave. No interfere, no popping in to check on “your projects”, no remote control leadership.
Doing this will stall closure on your part. It also stifles the growth of what you left behind. Shocking as it might be, life does move on after you leave; sometimes even gets even better.
Not that you can’t get involved in past projects or assignments. But it must be very clear who is in charge. Not you.
Change can be messy.
Because human beings are a naturally messy lot. We are imperfect.
So when going through transition, we must cultivate a light heart; don’t take everything personally.
I had to learn not become a reservoir of negativeness and all things gone wrong.
When it comes to long-time relationships involved, it’s crucial to understand that none of us possess the ability to figure out and fix all the needs of another human being.
People will not be able to meet all your needs.
From that listening ear you need, to a small loan for your new business. Chances are that someone will say and do something wrong.
Someone will cut you loose sooner than you expected. Life will feel a little more complicated than normal.
I quickly learned that by letting go, I was not doing anyone a favor; rather I was freeing myself from that dreadful claw of an unforgiving spirit.
I was just helping myself, becoming a better person.
It was important that I allow myself to grieve.
If you are like me, you may want to deal with all emotions using a sledgehammer.
That is, vanquish it to oblivion by “man-ing” it up. Or pretend that emotions do no exist.
But the fact that human beings have the capacity to feel, to hurt, to cry, to scream, means those capacities will be activated a lot.
Once activated, it makes good sense to just let it out (within reasonable boundaries of course.) Otherwise, that suppressed hurt and or grief can poison the current season of life.
Allowing change to change me was crucial.
A newlywed, with no job, a struggling new business venture, a yawning chasm in her heart where her capacity building group once existed, uncertain relationships… I was being stretched in all angles.
It took a long while for me to stop fighting the changes happening in my life. As long as I was fighting the change, I couldn’t change internally.
The external changes didn’t feel nice, but accepting that there was nothing I could about some of them was freeing. Some things in life I can change, others I cannot change. I had to learn the difference and live with it.
Lessons learned in hard times tend to stick the longest and serve the highest purpose. It’s during change that our character can grow the deepest. We learn to empathize.
We remember how we craved for our side of story to be heard, so now we know how to hear others who are walking in our shoes.
What we received in our dry days, we now know to give it to others in need. At the end of the day, the world has one less immature person.
If am to get better at life, I must get better at handling change.
Like most of us , I find change uncomfortable. But life keeps moving and I am learning life is not all about comforts; it’s about growth and fruit of that growth.
Ponder these questions
- What changes are taking place in your life right now?
- How are you responding?
- How can you respond better?
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