“Change can be so constant you don't even feel the difference until there is one. It can be so slow that you don't even notice that your life is better or worse, until it is. Or it can just blow you away, make you something different in an instant.”
- Life As a House (2001)
I grew up with a lot of change in my life. We moved from Toronto to Ottawa when I was 3, and my parents divorced 5 years later. I was constantly moving around, splitting my time between my parents’ homes. My bags were always packed and I didn’t really get a chance to plant my roots.
For some of you, change is a little less familiar. Growing up, you may have had more stability and consistency in your life. Maybe you still live in the same place you were born, or you still have the same friends as you did in middle school. But change will come for you sooner or later, I promise!
Embracing change is about recognizing where you are getting too comfortable and may be missing out on new opportunities or dreams you’ve had.
It’s also about accepting that change is inevitable and may appear in your life unexpectedly (global pandemic anyone?).
I used to resent the fact that change was so present in my life, but now I think of how much more resilient it’s made me. Along the way, I also learned that leaning into change and appreciating the good it can bring to your life makes the whole experience more enjoyable.
Here are three ways to reframe your relationship with change. Who knows, maybe you’ll even make friends with it!
1. Focus on the Opportunity
When something doesn’t work out, we have the tendency to focus on what we did wrong or how we weren’t good enough. Whether it’s a relationship or business opportunity, the reality is everything can seem perfect and feel right in one moment, and then suddenly seem impossible.
When I wanted to open a yoga studio a few years ago and it didn’t go the way I planned, I realized that I now had the opportunity to move out West, which I’d always dreamed of doing.
When it comes to change, we tend to focus on what we’re losing. Whether it’s the end of a relationship we thought was perfect or an amazing boss deciding to take on a new job, it’s easy to fear letting go of that thing that was once so great.
The first step to embracing change is to focus on the opportunity. That means looking at what new doors will open because of this change, and stay open to what new things may come your way. Maybe you’ll meet someone who you’ll fall even more deeply in love with than your last partner. Or maybe you’ll end up getting promoted to the position your boss left vacant. When you really think about it, so many possibilities open up after a big change.
Journal about what felt good about the opportunity. This includes qualities, facts, and feelings around it. For example, “I felt energized,” or “She was assertive and communicative.”
Practice gratitude. Say a little thank you to the universe for sending this person or opportunity your way. Be grateful for the lessons. You can do this in writing, in your mind, or out loud.
Related Post: Why You Should Start a Journaling Practice
2. Strengthen Your ‘Change’ Muscle
Any perfectionists out there will want to practice this one! Remember, there’s change we choose and change that chooses us. I like to think of our ability to deal with change as a muscle that can grow stronger with practice.
When you start a new workout routine, you lift the 5-pound dumbbell first, not the 50. So, in the same way, change is something you can prepare yourself to handle.
To strengthen your change muscle, make a conscious effort to make changes in your life every so often. That means actively taking on new challenges or responsibilities at work. Or exploring a new hobby or learning a new skill. Or something as simple as changing your morning routine so it fits who you are now. Change doesn’t have to be big. Just like starting with the 5-pound dumbbell, start small.
Choosing to make small changes will help build resilience for when bigger changes that you have less control over appear in your life.
Related Post: What 2020 Taught Me About Managing Uncertainty
3. Change = Growth
At the end of the day, the easiest way to embrace change is to understand that without change there is no growth. When we avoid or resist change, we also close ourselves off from the person we are becoming. Without change, we stay small.
I think of how my move out West has been both scary and exciting at the same time. I could have chosen the secure, safe option and stayed where things felt comfortable and familiar. My desire to grow and evolve has always been an important value of mine and helped shape so many of my big life decisions.
Just as the caterpillar morphs into the butterfly, when we see change as a natural process of evolution we can surrender to its beauty.
Ultimately, embracing change is about reframing what it means. Change can be scary, unpredictable, and vulnerable. But it can also be liberating, exciting, and expansive.
Related Post: Why It’s Important to Do Hard Things
How has change influenced your life? Let me know in the comments!
Your friend in this journey together,
P.S. I have a few coaching spots available. With one-on-one online coaching you can take the stress out of trying to create a plan for your life on your own. Whether you're looking to manage a life transition, find more balance in your life, or open up a new career path, think of how relaxed you’ll be knowing that someone has your back. 🙌