Any unknown creates a certain sense of anxiety. When we don’t know what to expect it can leave us feeling insecure and unsure as to what to do, what is expected of us and how we should proceed.
It takes courage to step out
It takes courage to leave what we know to step out into the unknown – to challenge our status quo. Yet staying in our box of comfort can be limiting. I would never have known my wonderful daughter-in-law if she hadn’t been willing to have the courage to come to America to marry my son.
Change requires risk
Every day the world is changing in some way around us. I often find myself out of step with the fast pace of technology, and the changes it brings make me feel at times as if I am being dragged unwillingly behind the bus. We want to feel we are the ones initiating change and are in control of that change.
Yet much of life involves change that occurs outside our control; the loss of a loved one, a divorce, the impact of a chronic illness, or the loss of a job that requires re-training or abandoning of careers to survive. When change “happens”, new choices are required that take us out of our comfort zones and away from our well-planned goals.
How prepared are you for unexpected changes
How flexible are you? Can you roll with the punches and end up back on your feet? Change requires adjustment of some kind. It is an exchange from what we had or knew to something different – a substitute or replacement of some kind.
When we make and follow through with goals, we feel we are in charge of the outcome and our lives. When change removes something that was valuable to us without our consent, we scream our protests and struggle to come to grips with it.
Ways to deal with change
1. Become flexible in your thinking. The evergreen trees that live along the Northwest sea coast survive the winter storms by being flexible. They are shaped and molded by the winds, but their roots dig deep within the crevices of the rocks and remain strong. And they become things of beauty.
2. Sink your internal roots into God’s promises, positive thinking and an “I can do” attitude.
3. Develop an adventurous spirit. I would never have had the wonderful, life expanding experiences I have had without the ability to ask, “why not” instead of “no way” or “impossible”.
4. Be prepared. When we go on a trip, we service our car, check the route on a map and make reservations. With all our preparations, however, we may be required to go to plan B or C or take a detour. Plan for the unexpected ahead of time. It’s well worth the small amount of time and effort.
5. Check your attitude. Life isn’t perfect. It will have lots of detours, mountain passes and steep grades. Look at unexpected changes as opportunities, even if they don’t seem pleasant at the moment. Ask yourself, what can I learn from this? How will I benefit from going through this difficult time? What might I discover about myself or the world that can benefit me? What jewel of important learning will I forever have as a result of this unexpected change?
Challenging the way we respond to life’s unexpected changes can forever paint our life with new and vivid colors. Change can be the brush stroke that enhances instead of detracts. Unexpected changes can become the best thing in life.
©2012 Marlene Anderson, MA, LMHC, NCC