4 Tips on How to Accept Change and Move On
“Everything changes and nothing stands still.” -Heraclitus
This year I was going through an issue involving unwanted and unexpected change. It was odd because I flipped to the monthly page in my planner and here was this Heraclitus quote about change. As simple as it is, I was really moved in that moment. I immediately made it a little digital note on my work desktop and still have it there. It is now even the background to my Mac at home. My mind has typically been pretty shut off to change unless I chose to make the change. Even then, it’s a long, drawn out process to finally decide if that is the change I want or not. However, whether we like it or not…everything is changing and nothing is standing still.
Humans truly are creatures of habit. Almost everyday for the past three and a half years I have parked in the same spot at work even when there are tons of closer, open spots. It’s not that I really value that spot or that I would be really mad if someone took that spot. It’s just that it’s routine and almost comforting. It would feel weird otherwise if I chose to park in another spot anyway.
Do you ever notice in work meetings how people tend to sit in the same location even when there aren’t assigned seats? Have you ever attended a gym fitness class and to find everyone is magnetized to “their” spot in the room? When you’re walking with someone your close to, do you always have to be on a particular side. I know my sister is very picky about that. She will even ask if we can switch sides because she feels off.
We’re looking at minor examples here, but these reactions hold true for various larger scale forms of change in our lives.
It’s hard to accept the change of losing people in life. It can be especially difficult when it was not in your control or your decision. It’s easier to accept the change of losing people more when you choose to make that change. You chose to remove that person from your day-to-day life, so even though it may be challenging at least it was in your hands.
Probably most people feel the same way about losing people whether it be through a breakup, end of a friendship, or even a death. The most challenging part of losing people you cherish is that you know longer have that tangible person to connect with anymore. Perhaps, you have the memories and a bit of pain or heartbreak left from the whole situation. That’s not the best constellation prize to say the least.
In cases like these, we resist the change by trying to bring that person back into our life which could be great if that person is willing, but what if he or she isn’t willing? That person moved on because he/she was the one to control the change.
So just like the minor examples above, what do you do? Is this when you start to panic, shut down, and become consumed by anxiety? Do you dwell on what could have been or what you should have said or should have done differently? Or do you accept the change and progress by moving on.
Unfortunately you can’t change that person’s mind, you can’t turn back time, and you can’t bring a person back to life. You cannot control what happened to that person or the reasons they left.
However, you CAN control how you react and how you handle the change.
So how do we overcome this natural push we have against change?
I have found that these four tips have helped me overcome change and move on.
Look for the Positive (Even if you have to Dig)
No, I don’t mean to sugar coat the whole situation, but there has to be something you can gain from the unexpected change. This something doesn’t have to be anything major. If you can find something positive whether it be a memory, a lesson, or an experience. Maybe that positive outlook is the “I’m better off now” attitude. If someone makes the decision to hurt you or chooses to walk out of your life while you were left heartbroken and empty, then perhaps the positive is you don’t have that negativity in your life anymore.
Stop the Dwelling Thoughts Immediately
Feeling emotion during a rough patch in life is important. I strongly believe that anger, sadness, pain, regret, denial, and more are all part of the natural healing process. However, It’s very tempting to dig a deep hole in our mind of all the thoughts that bring us back to that emotional state over and over again. When I became upset about these major changes out of my control, I noticed it primarily was because I was allowing myself to fill my mind with those dead-end thoughts.
As soon as your mind shifts to those dark thoughts, quickly move to another thought. Think about what you’re cooking for dinner or what you look forward to in the upcoming months. Fill your mind with positive thoughts and the things you have going for yourself. Let’s face it…you can’t control the change that occurred. So spending an extended period of time dwelling on the emotions and thoughts will do you no good.
Re-Focus Your Energy
Think of your thoughts and emotions as energy. You may have all these extreme emotions mustering inside, so convert that energy into an outlet. For myself, it’s the gym. Not only does this divert my attention and calm me down, but it’s also really beneficial to my health. So when picking your new outlet be sure it’s a healthy, wise decision. Re-focusing your energy on drinking, drugs, or partying probably isn’t the best idea. Those are all temporary fixes that have long term negative effects. I can guarantee you, those things will only turn your bad situation into an uglier one down the road. Find what it is that helps you channel your energy. Maybe it’s meditation, a painting class, dancing to music, walking your dogs, or reading books. Don’t allow your mind and emotions to have enough time or energy to focus on the changes.
Take Control and Make Your Own Changes
You might find it challenging when things feel totally out of your control. Now is a good time to take the reins and make your own changes. These are changes that YOU want and YOU control. You know it’s funny that a lot of people say girls change their hair after going through rough times. Perhaps you need that change. For others, maybe it’s time you try something new that you never would have before. Maybe that means you enroll in that new boxing class offered at your gym.
In my case, it was finally taking a risk to delve into the creative business ideas I’ve been wanting to pursue. I was letting doubt and fear hold me back. However, I somehow mustered the courage to take a risk and pursue my visions. In a way, this has also helped me re-focus my energy too. Instead of wasting time on the dwelling thoughts, I can go write a blog post, work on my website, or edit some photos. It’s extremely empowering when you realize you are in control of your decisions, feelings, and thoughts. When you give yourself that power instead of someone else, you can truly open your heart and mind to happiness.
I totally get it. Some of us find it hard to accept change or to let go and move on. This is an ongoing process and with time you will improve. Hey, who knows?!…Something great might just come out of the unexpected change after all.
You’ve got this.