Change: the unpredictable journey through uncertainty
There is one thing that we as human beings know and that is that life is full of uncertainty. As much as we as we try and create a path – a system – of how our journey through life is “supposed” to go, it is close to impossible for life to turn out the way that we expect.
Life is all about change. It starts when we leave our mother’s womb and enter into this new environment on Earth. After that, each year as we grow older and develop, aspects of our lives begin to change. These include things such as what grade we are in, what school we go to, what we are studying, who we live with, what job we are in, what our most important relationships are, how we cope daily and the list goes on. These changes can be exciting, but can also be sources of extreme anxiety and fear. This can make change particular challenging for people to undertake and to cope with.
What is so derailing about change?
It is terrifying because it is new, it is different and it is unknown. Change can be great or it can be the opposite. The hard part about change is that it is impossible to know what things will be like on the other side. There is no way to know what change will bring. It is a concept in life that is characterized by extreme uncertainty and for anyone who likes order, routine, and certainty change is terrifying. We can spend hours thinking about all of the different paths that change can lead us on. We can obsess about what our lives will look like when we undertake change and transition – but in the end there is no way to know.
The only thing to do is to just jump right in and see what happens. And that is hard.
There is a reason why people like to do the same things for their entire lives. If they work the same job and live in the same area and socialize with the same people, then more or less they will always know what to expect. There is a sense of safety in what we know, in our routine. This sense of safety and “knowing” makes us feel like we are keeping our lives manageable when they have the potential to be volatile. The less risks we take, the less chance that disaster or the unexpected could happen. The more comfortable we are, the easier it can feel to cope with life’s challenges.
Then again, this same comfort keeps us from experiencing what life has to offer. Our world is versatile and exceptional for a reason. It is meant to be experienced. It is meant to be seen. If we stay comfortable for our whole lives, if we stay stuck in what we know, then we don’t actually live. We never get the chance to experience the world. We are meant to live. That is why change will always find us.
Change tests us. It tests the way that we interact with the world –the way that we cope. It makes us shift things up. It makes us question the things that we do on a daily basis. It makes us re-evaluate how we cope with our mental and physical states on a daily basis. Change makes us change how we cope. When we are forced to abandon our routines; our coping strategies, things that we have bottled up inside and chosen not to feel, whether in the present or the past can start to arise. These can be things that are both physical, mental or emotional such as pain, grief, stress, overwhelm, fear, panic etc.
Daily routines can help us cope with unwanted emotions or physical sensations that we don’t want to face. It helps to mask them from our minds so that it makes it easier to accomplish what we need to do. We can use routine to suppress thoughts from our minds, but our body will always remembers. Bodies remember the emotions that our minds refuse to feel and the messages that our soul is trying to share with us that our minds refuse to hear. When we don’t let these soul messages enter our minds, they don’t disappear. Instead they still come to the surface only through our feelings and physical bodies instead of our thoughts. It could be exhaustion, it could be a pit in the stomach, it could be aches or pain or nervousness or anxiety, but some way or another our soul will still be heard. The things we are trying to avoid feeling will always make themselves known in some way. Often it is a change in routine that will bring them to the surface.
Change will always come. Sometimes we must make it ourselves and other times it will find us. Either way we can only accept the inevitability of change. The same way we accept that people are born and will die or that the leaves of trees will change colour with the seasons, as a part of life. To fight change is to fight life. To avoid change is to avoid living. That doesn’t make change any less terrifying. That doesn’t make change any less hard. But change is a part of nature. It is our way to grow as human beings; our way to experience all that life has to offer. It makes us face things stored up inside us that are hidden by routine. By trying to accept and embrace change we can try and make it easier for ourselves by decreasing the inner turmoil that accompanies the change. It won’t necessarily make the physical act of change easier, but at least it is an attempt to decrease the disruption within us the change can cause.
As Abraham Maslow said “you will either step forward into growth or you will step backward into safety”. Neither is right or wrong.
Sending all the love on whatever path your life takes you today