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Embrace Change, Embrace Possibilities - by Jennifer N. Reed M.A.
For many, the word “change” is something to be feared and therefore avoided. Automatically viewing change as if it is a negative occurrence causes us to be narrow-focused. Change can be pleasant and change does not have to be intimidating.
Change – much like life - is not black and white. It is easy for us to think in those simplistic terms, though life is essentially mostly “in the gray.” Think of a few instances when changes occurred in your life which brought you joy – a marriage, the birth of a child, a new job, a new home. Imagine now if those things would not have happened. Those are typically viewed as changes that bring us happiness, but if we look for the positive in all change, we can take the lessons we learn and grow from them.
If we were not so quick to classify things, would change then be so scary? We are programmed, or we program ourselves, to quickly sum up what something, someone, some place is about in order to feel the illusion of safety. If we viewed change at the other end of the spectrum as all cheery, all the time…what difference would that make? Would it mean that when something devastating occurred we could not handle it at all? If we are so used to change being negative, we learn to expect the negative and see the negative. As such, we do not as easily see the opportunities each change produces. If you view change from a positive perspective, your life will have more meaning and joy.
Rather than classifying things as “good” or “bad” and “right” or “wrong,” it is beneficial not to classify them at all. Have you ever heard that ‘it is what it is?’ This means that classification is not necessary but the facts are the facts and one can move forward from there. Classifying something only causes a reaction from us and others, which often causes us to fail to ACT. Our time can easily be occupied with reacting that we forgot to take action and move forward with handling whatever was going on.
How could you more easily go about embracing change in your life? Mindfulness is really helpful in that area. It involves taking notice of what occurs around you, without assigning judgment or specific meaning to it. Suppose you are driving and someone cuts you off suddenly. You can choose to respond rather than react by hitting your brakes and slowing down. You can take notice that someone came into your lane and then you needed to control your car accordingly so as to not get involved in an accident. From there, you literally and figuratively move on. If someone was to assign judgment to this example and reacted according to their self-assigned judgment, they could become very angry, honk their horn and then begin driving less safely due to letting their emotions take over. This is not to say we will never react to life events, but rather to be more mindful of what is going on around us and to make more of an effort to act rather than re-act.
Our views of life have a lot to do with how we respond to or handle things, rather than what happens to us. In what ways can you look at your life more from a perspective of gratitude? Where can you see opportunities where you might have otherwise seen disappointment, frustration, jealousy, pain? Viewing your life this way will help you feel better about yourself and your life. Whatever it is that is on your mind, follow your dreams. It is only too late if you tell yourself it is too late and do not try. Embrace each day and each perceived obstacle as an opportunity and you will be amazed at the doors that will open in your life.
Jennifer N. Reed, M.A. is a Life Balance Mentor and offers Coaching and Counseling services. She helps individuals learn how to slow down in order to live more authentic, meaningful lives.