Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds, cannot change anything.
George Bernard Shaw
I recently found a diary I kept during the final weeks of my pregnancy leading up to the birth of our first child. The excitement I felt was tinged with anxiety and trepidation. Her first few days and weeks had me gripped with chest clenching fear. Could I keep this little angel alive? Would I be a good enough mother?
A few months in, I relaxed into it, realising that while I may not be the BEST mother, I am certainly the best mother for Kaelyn.
I was astonished to read that I felt that much fear around an event I now rate as one of the highlights of my life! Looking back though, I see that is my pattern.
Fear, panic, dread. Then acceptance and finally, enjoyment.
Going to high school. University. First job. Every other job or venture since then. You get the idea…!
Facing any new challenge always reminds me how I default to being resistant to change.
Initially there is panic, doubt, dread. The heavy feeling in my chest that makes me want to scramble back to the familiar. The voice in my head keeps telling me to go back to the familiar, where it is safe and known. You don’t have to do this…it tells me. Just go back to where it is smooth and easy. And safe.
Now I know there is no point in doing that because change is coming.
Change is always coming.
Now I know to swallow hard, ignore the little voice and keep my head down and keep going because soon enough, I know I will wake up and go “Ooooh THIS! I LOVE this!”
Here are some of the tips I use to get me through any major life changes:
Get back to calm: Managing your emotions is crucial to navigating change. I do what I can to soothe myself. Change your thoughts and notice how the feeling of dread slips away. Relax and chill out and take another look at it. Move only in the direction of what feels good. Don't force yourself in the direction of what doesn't feel good. No good ever comes from that, ever.
Take a break: A new challenge can feel all consuming. Give yourself permission to get away from it for a while. Even 20 minutes will help. I listen to inspiring TED talks and take long walks. I force myself to think about something else to distract me. Often a break brings new, refreshing perspective.
Smile and laugh: When you are stressed, it will show on your face. Laugh or smile to relieve the tension and improve your mood. Watch a comedy or read a funny article. I call my sister Kim because she easily makes me laugh a lot! Laughter really is the best medicine.
Get social support: When going through a change, you will need support and who better to provide it than your friends! A word of caution though, make sure you don’t make it all consuming and all about YOU. Even the best of friends will tire of your one-sided story. Besides, thinking obsessively about yourself is creating a highway to unhappiness. Chat to other people and find out what else is going on in the world. You might be amazed to find it is still revolving!
Affirm that all is well: When you wake up in the morning, what is the first thing you tell yourself? Do you lie there freaking out about all that you haven’t done and must still do? About what to wear? About what he said/she said? Negative thoughts block your creativity and problem-solving abilities. Positive thoughts build bridges to possibilities and opportunities. Try saying one of these affirmations instead:
Everything is ALWAYS working out for me
I am at peace
This too shall pass
My potential to succeed is infinite
The universe supports me in every possible way
Fear of facing a new challenge isn’t what is keeping you stuck.
Doing NOTHING about it is what is keeping you stuck.