How do you cope with change?

Change is ever present in our lives and there is no getting around it.  Whether the crocus pokes through the winter snow, the leaves turn a brilliant red in autumn, the caterpillar turns into a butterfly or the tide ebbs and flows, there is change all around us and it is constant.

Sometimes that change can get real personal!  There is the expected change that happens over time – babies grow into toddlers, puppies mature into dogs.  There is also the unexpected change that happens abruptly – a sudden layoff, a tragic accident.

Sometimes we have total control of the changes that happen in our lives – we decide to change jobs or move to a new home.  And, sometimes we have no control at all – we lose our job or a fire starts and we lose our home.

The trick is to understand what kind of change is happening and decide how we will participate in that change.

How do you participate in change? 

I’m reminded of a prayer that my grandmother taught me when I was a very little girl.  I know it today as the Serenity Prayer and it has helped me cope with change in my life over and over again.  Here’s the first verse:  “God grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.”  Whatever belief you hold, this message is a lesson for us all.

We can make ourselves crazed by trying to change things that are not in our power to change or we can accept those things we cannot change and choose to think about them differently, so we’re not so crazed.  That’s a clear choice we have.

What if you were suddenly faced with being laid off from your job?  This happened to me last year and it was like I was hit by a ton of bricks.  Totally unexpected.  Some might say I should have seen the writing on the wall – well, I did – but I did not see my name on that wall.

There was nothing I could do to change the fact that in 30 days my 18-year tenure would be over.  I had a choice to make – we all have choices to make in these situations.  I could act like a “woe is me” victim or I could participate and make this change turn out best for me.  A friend helped me move quickly from powerless to empowered with these simple words – “Act as though it was your idea.”  Simply put, it requires a change in perspective.

Can you change your perspective?

Think about the situation differently and learn where you can take control and where you need to adapt to that which is out of your control.  It takes a new perspective sometimes to see clearly how a change in our lives can be a blessing in disguise.  Given some time and tapping into our own inner “wisdom” to see the opportunity the change brings, we can often realize that it was for the best.

I truly believe that everything happens for a reason.  I’ve seen evidence of this in my own life.  And, I also believe that when one door closes, a window opens.  I have life-proof of that, too.  But, none of those opportunities would have been seen, never mind seized, if I hadn’t been open to see them.   I think that’s where having the “wisdom to know the difference,” between those things we cannot change and those things we can, comes into play.

Can you make peace with change?

How do you make peace with change?

First step is to accept that it has happened, whether you brought it on yourself or someone or something brought upon you.  Take a bit of time to grieve your loss, too.  There is a natural mourning period when major things change in our lives — even if the change was of your choosing.

Next is to believe that the process of making peace may take a while – it may also mean there is some forgiving to do.  It may mean forgiving yourself – it may mean forgiving others.

As you move through the acceptance and forgiveness stages, keep moving forward in small steps to make a plan for yourself to participate in the change – what are the things you want to do for yourself to make sure you come out on the other side of the change stronger, happier and more joyful?

Make a list of those things.  Then take each step on the list and break it down into smaller chunks – this helps to control the sense of overwhelm that may happen.  If each of those smaller chunks needs to be chunked up again, go ahead and do that.  Then create your action plan for getting each one of your “chunks” done.  Set a time frame to do each one.

Celebrate your change!

As each step on your action plan gets completed, CELEBRATE.  Before you know it you will have made great progress toward your goal of becoming empowered to take back your life and make it the best it can be.

As you move through this process, understand that there are bumps in the road.  You will ebb and flow through this change.  That is normal.   You may also find that you could use some help.  Having an accountability partner and someone to coach you through the steps will help you get to your celebration faster.

Have the Courage to change those things that you want to change.  Tap into your Wisdom to point you in the right direction.  You’re not alone.

Make this your day ~~ Explore  …  Dream  …   Discover!

Maria Signature

Chief Inspiration Officer | SafeHarbor Coaching | For women facing life transitions

If you’d like to read more about the “art of transitions,” please request my free eBookTranscending Transitions:  15 Ways to Ease Your Journey

If you found this post helpful or interesting, please share it with your friends!