Over the past few weeks I can’t help but think about all the things that are changing. The leaves in other parts of the country, not here of course because Texas doesn’t have seasons. We have a baby coming in a few short weeks, several deaths have happened in my family these past couple weeks, all change. Some positive, others a little harder. But it got me thinking.
Many people in life and even myself a few years ago struggle so much with change. It triggers anxiety and fear. Clients I’ve worked with have even admitted to not moving ahead with their goals and dreams because it will invoke some sort of change. Honestly, I get it. I’m definitely no stranger to change- divorce, moving, deaths, career changes, etc.
But have you ever thought about the deeper meaning behind the change and why it brings about the fear and struggle?
In a word- expectations. When things change, it’s not the loss of the situation itself that we have a hard time with. It’s the loss of the expectations we had around that situation, the loss of hope we had for that situation.
For example, when a divorce happens, it’s not that we mourn the loss of the spouse or we wouldn’t be divorcing them. It’s the loss of the idea that “it wasn’t supposed to be this way”. It’s the loss of the expectation that we were supposed to have a partner, that our partner was supposed to be/do/act a certain way, that our kids were supposed to grow up differently, that the way things looked were supposed to look differently.
When we change careers, we struggle with the expectations that surrounded the past career. If we were let go, we may grieve the expectation that we didn’t get to leave on our own terms, that that specific career was supposed to be our plan A and we have no plan B.
Death is no different. We know that death is inevitable for us all. When someone dies we mourn the expectations we had around that person- that they’d be around to see our children grow up, be there to talk to when we needed them, be there to fulfill a role that we expected of them.
So how do we accept change and lessen the struggle?
First, we accept that we are not in control. There are many factors in life that we cannot control- the stability of a company, when God will call our loved ones home, the transfer of a spouse, etc.
Secondly, re-frame the expectations. Notice how many times I wrote “supposed to” above. Who says? Who says what things are supposed to look like? No one and I do mean no one lives the same life you life, pays the exact same bills each month, makes the same decisions you do, raises the same kids, is married to the same person, etc. YOU decide what is “supposed to” be. So how can you re-frame what the expectations are now that things have changed? Are expectations truly necessary in the first place? Can you communicate your expectations with others more clearly so that the disappointment, fear, anger, and negativity are less in the future?
What does your mindset say about change? Do you need help altering your mindset to be more accepting?
If so, reach out. I’d love to work with you to overcome your anxieties, fears and thought process around change.