Has this Happened to You?
You go to the produce department of your grocery store and they’ve moved your favourite vegetable or fruit. Now you have to go searching for its new location and along the way you notice some items you didn’t know were on the shelves.
You might even pick up one or two new things. Discovering date butter recently, while looking for fresh blueberries was a revelation for me.
Retailers understand the need to change their displays to keep things fresh and their customers interested but the idea doesn’t always apply to our day to day life. Really, many of us are what financial planners call risk-averse.
I’m guilty as charged when it comes to managing my finances however the rest of my life is filled with risk because I’ve learned to use my superpower of courage. Believe me, I wasn’t always so eager to change things up.
Embracing change is not a natural thing for us humans and we find ourselves complaining about it because we’re wired for safety. When we think change, often we think discomfort, right?
We’ve been trained through how we’re wired as humans and through social conditioning to resist changing anything. Our beautiful brains have intricate systems to keep us protected. When we feel threatened or pushed to make some kind of change or change is happening around us and we can’t control it, we freak out a little…or a lot depending on the circumstance and all we want is to get back to the safety of life before this perceived disruption.
What we’re really afraid of when it comes to change is being outside, what we describe as, our comfort zone. It’s that feeling of familiarity with surroundings and behaviours, where we can predict what will happen with some confidence.
Stepping outside that zone makes us feel unsettled because we can’t predict what will happen and often we choose not to take action as a result.
Of the 40,000 – 60,000 thoughts that we have rolling around in our brain every day, I’d be willing to bet some of them are about changes you’d like to see happen in your life and others are about why you shouldn’t do anything about it.
So How Can we Learn to Embrace Change?
First of all, we need to understand that our brain can change how it operates; the great news is that we’re not stuck with the wiring we came into the world with.
The science is called Neuroplasticity and it refers to the idea that we can rewire our brains not to fear change so much, in fact, we can learn to embrace change; it’s all in how we choose to think.
Some of the change we experience in life is a result of being alive…anybody else noticing a little drooping of this and that? Other change is within our control and some change is out of our control.
Faced with any of the above, we have a choice: we can either accept or resist and this is where the magic happens. It’s in our choice.
If you’ve met an older person with a youthful spirit, someone who was interested in you and has a lot to offer, then you have witnessed what I’ve just described. Remaining open-minded, being kind and courageous, making ourselves life-long learners all contribute to making us feel ageless.
I like to joke that people 55 plus today are part of generation ageless because that’s how I want us to see ourselves. Sure, change happens but when we’re open-minded, change looks more like an opportunity for growth than a threat to our safety and when we grow, the focus is always on improving our lives.
We, Humans, Crave Continuity, Yet One Thing We Can Be Sure of in Life is Change.
I think the best question we can ask ourselves is what are we really afraid of? In the answer will be the key to acceptance because when we start to get clear about why we’re afraid, it’s usually not as overwhelming as we initially perceived.
Having compassion for ourselves is a big part of learning to embrace change and sharing our fear with others who have compassion for us is important as well.
See change as a natural part of life instead of an interruption because it is natural and learning to embrace it by participating in it instead of fighting against it will bring surprising results.
When We Know Where We Fit In, We’re More Likely to Take a step in a new direction.
We need to feel like participants in every step of our life’s adventure. While it may be tempting to allow someone else to take care of your business, they may not give you the result you really want.
So, navigate change with your friends and family; don’t be afraid to seek a professional’s advice if it’s an unfamiliar subject. Continue to educate yourself and share what you fear, so you can find clarity.
Do the research, ask questions and talk it out with others going through similar experiences. It’s important to know what your priorities are, when it comes to navigating change, so you can prevent others from imposing their ideas on you rather than remaining neutral and giving you the space to make informed choices.
Enjoy your life….go to the movies, set up coffee dates, do yoga, whatever makes you feel good and fills you up, will be great support as you navigate change. Learning to embrace change is work and its work worth doing because your happiness depends on it.
Changes in our lives should be working for us; not the other way around. Live well; be well.