As a nation, we are going through a lot of change right now. As life begins to return to some resemblance of normality, we need to learn how to respond to the forced changes.
Change is a process that anyone can learn. Unfortunately, we aren’t always taught how to effectively handle change. If dealing with change was part of our curriculum in school, maybe our world would look a bit different. Change 101 could teach us how to cope when life throws an unexpected curveball. In today’s post, I’ll teach you how you can properly respond to change.
Change 101: How to Respond to Change
One reason people have such a challenging time with forced changes is that it is impossible to be prepared for them. When your boss says, “We are downsizing, and we don’t need you anymore,” it’s usually a surprise. When your spouse announces, “I don’t love you anymore; I want a divorce,” you are usually caught off guard to some degree. There is no way to prepare specifically for forced changes. The fact that the change is unexpected and unwanted makes it harder to accept.
Forced change does not come to you as an isolated event. When any change comes into your life, it affects multiple things. When people relocate, for example, not only does their work environment change, but so does their home, their personal relationships, their church family, their school system, and even the weather around them. That’s one of the things that makes change so difficult to handle—it seems to strike in so many places at once. There’s a reason you’ll hear people say about a certain event in their life, “It changed everything.” It’s not an exaggeration. One change can affect everything.
Emotional Effects of Change
Change, whether forced or proactive, can bring on a load of negative emotions. These feelings are powerful. They can knock you off course and cause you to throw up your hands in defeat. Identifying these feelings before they come can help you push though. You might experience loss, conflict, or rejection to name a few.
Feelings such as these may leave you identifying with your loss. Many people begin to identify themselves by their problems or failures: “I am unfit and unhealthy.” “I am a bad husband and father.” But you are not a problem. You are not a failure. Problems and failures are simply experiences that occur in your life; they are not you. Just as the label on a product is not the actual product, you are not your problems or failures.
Choosing Your Response
The best way to respond to change is, “I can swallow this.” Acknowledge that the change really happened. You cannot begin to deal effectively with change until you have acknowledged its existence. Then, evaluate the change. Take the time to ask yourself some questions about what caused the change to come into your life. Once you’ve done all the reflection, take action! Do something! You must do something to manage the change you are experiencing. Change can make you feel as if your life is in a crisis. But any change can bring either trouble or opportunity—it all depends on the actions you take to deal with it.
Finally, Embrace the change as a part of your life and use it as a stepping- stone for personal growth. Get through it; get what you can out of it; and get on with it! You are now ready to use this experience as a reference point to know how to deal with other changes that will come your way.
I hope this post has helped you as we are navigating the new normal. If you have any questions, please leave them below or contact my team.