Changing Your Reaction to Change: An Adaptive Guide to Survival

MissionSelf Staff Nov 24, 2018
Transitions in life may not always feel like a good thing, but you can make it through change with grace instead of grief. Here's how...
Change is a part of life, there's no two ways about it. A myriad of other tiny changes happen to everyone every single day, and most people take them in stride―some people don't even notice. But when it comes to big changes, they often overwhelm and stymie people, sometimes until they are unable to function without therapy, medicine, or both.
People change jobs, relationships change, marital status changes, physical health changes, and it may seem like the world is running along great for everyone else but you. But it is possible to make changes less stressful by finding the positives that always exist in transitions, and learn to embrace the changes that keep your life dynamic and interesting.
Change happens to everyone―it's one of the life elements that connects all of us. Whether a change is expected or unexpected, it can still be difficult. But you can never be too old or too young to change your reaction to transitions to focus on the good that results.
Negative people are especially bad at spotting the good that can come from change, but anyone can learn to adapt and recognize the positive results that always come from any type of change. The positive gift may not always be related to the situation at hand, so you need to keep an open mind.
For example, if you lose your job and suddenly have to hit the sidewalk looking for another, then you may have more time to pursue a relationship that you had to put on the back burner because you were working too hard.
If your doctor tells you that you need to have a cancerous tumor removed, facing that diagnosis can give you a stronger faith and help you realize the important things in your life that you've always taken for granted. It is important to remember that there is always a positive result from any change, if you only take the time to look for it.
If you generally believe that transitions are difficult and impossible to handle, then you're already starting out handicapped before you're even faced with a change to your life. But if you believe that change can teach you something or improve your life, then facing the transition won't be nearly as daunting.
Pay attention to your beliefs and inner emotions, and what you say to yourself and others - and then turn those things around. For example, if you find that you're having financial troubles, you may go around thinking to yourself, "I am such a terrible money manager."
Or if your partner just broke up with you, you may be thinking, "No one will ever love me again." But these types of beliefs steal your emotional power and self-esteem. You need to trade them for thoughts that will bring you hope and give you strength.
One of the fastest ways to embrace a change you're going through is to surround yourself with people who can support and encourage you, so as to give you strength. Often, it seems that a challenging transition is unique and there is no one else who can understand or help.
But as with all situations life hands you, change is easier to face and deal with if you let others help. Whatever your situation, whatever change you're facing, there is always someone out there who can help. They may be family members, friends, therapists, coworkers, priests, or anyone else in your daily orbit who may be able to help.
People who are willing and available to help you are putting themselves in that position because they honestly want to listen, support you, and offer encouragement. They believe you can meet the change challenge head-on, so you should believe it yourself.
No matter what part of your outer life is changing, it's important to remember that there is part of your inner life that never changes - your centered, spiritual, inner witness that is connected to something greater than the world.
This inner self is guided by your intuition, and you can easily connect to it through meditation, prayer, silence, or keeping a journal - anything that helps you focus on your inner witness without the distractions of the physical world.
This central core, your soul, will never change. Although your superficial self may become angry or depressed, your spiritual self will not allow you to blame others or yourself when the going gets rough. Your spiritual side will bolster you with strength and clarity during troubling times such as weighty changes in your life.
When faced with a challenging transition, make a conscious effort to draw on the guidance of your spiritual side by asking, "What would my inner witness say or do right now?" If you take a few moments to ponder that consciously, then you will be able to accept changes in your circumstances with grace and peace.
Change can bring to the surface some of the most crippling emotions you'll ever deal with―doubt, fear, shame, impatience, guilt, anger, blame―and these feelings can wreak havoc with your soul and destroy your self-esteem.
But recognizing their impact and making a conscious effort to avoid those feelings will help you remember to look for the positive outcome of the change, because there always is one.
Those negative feelings are temporary, and when you feel them coming along, view it as a reminder of how you don't want yourself to feel while dealing with a change, so you can also focus on how you do want to feel.
Most importantly, whenever change happens, you should not waste time looking back and longing for what used to be. Struggling against change is part of what makes accepting change so difficult.
If you take in your new circumstances without arguing, fighting, or second-guessing yourself, you will soon see that you have made it through the change safely and into a place filled with peace and happiness.
"Go with the flow" is more than a flip platitude; it is good advice for anyone facing change. If you go in the direction life is taking you, and accept changes as they occur, then you can focus on an optimistic view of the future, not a dismal view of the past.
Change doesn't have to be hard. It is a natural part of life, so embrace it, accept it, and look for the positive outcome that is always there.