Onto New Beginnings: How To Fall in Love With Change
For last year’s words belong to last year’s language-T.S Eliot (Little Gidding)
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
It’s that time of year again. The time of looking ahead, of either envisioning and celebrating of what’s to come or bracing and dreading the untold stories of the future. We’re at the cusp of something new- are you ready for it?
Maybe you’re a bucket-list aficionado who’s already outlined next year’s adventures with a pen, paper, and nonrefundable flight tickets. Or, perhaps, you’re steadfast in your anti-resolution position- and you’ve proudly let the world know about your firm belief. Whichever your stance, new beginnings inevitably bring some change.
What about if you detest the idea of change? What if you feel bewildered by the people who can seemingly embrace and even thrive in changing climates? If either of these apply, this is the guide for you. Let’s unpack the five critical tips you need to know about coping (and maybe even loving) change.
1. Understand (And Embrace) The Concept of Resilience
Most parents know this trending buzzword. Resilience, after all, is the stuff kids are made of, and research continues to show the long-lasting benefits it has on our mental health.
While some people think resilience is fixed and innate, there are actually many ways to cultivate this strength including:
- Making strong and genuine connections
- Seeking viable opportunities for growth
- Developing and obtaining realistic goals
- Maintaining a positive and optimistic outlook
- Acting confidently and decisively
- Identifying your locus of control in difficult situations
Not very resilient? Make it part of your self-reflection journey. Think about how you can practice sharpening your resilience skills on a routine basis.
2. Lean Into The (Uncomfortable) Feelings
Change is scary. Most people say they fear the unknown. However, it’s more accurate to assume that we fear the worst-case outcome, the inevitable crises and wild catastrophes our minds create.
Rather than judging yourself for the feelings, allow yourself to experience the fear, anger, and resistance fully. Feelings alone do not have to dictate behavior. They are simply natural responses to the stimuli in your world.
Practice identifying your feelings. Journal about them. Say them aloud. Make friends with them. Know that feelings are not good or bad. The more you can practice taking a neutral stance towards intense emotions, the less ‘control’ they will have over you.
3. Focus On What Expands
When change occurs, we often experience dread or anxiety because our attention fixates on what we’ll lose. And, of course, the concept of loss is a painful one. We work hard for the people and things we have, and the threat of their absence can taunt us.
The more you focus on what expands as a result of a change, the more peaceful you’ll feel. For example, let’s say you’re about to start a new job. Maybe you feel anxious and insecure. Perhaps, you doubt if you should have resigned from your last role.
What if you could shift your focus on what you’re gaining- like a new challenge, room for growth, or higher earning potential? What if you could focus on how your life is expanding as a direct result of the change? How different would you feel?
4. Harness Your Self-Care
Change can disrupt our daily routines. We may sacrifice our diets, lose sleep, withdraw from our friends, and neglect our hobbies. While self-care may seem like a luxury, it’s a fundamental part of coping with change. Without it, we risk burnout, resentment, and both physical and psychological problems.
Self-care doesn’t need to be time-consuming or expensive to be effective. It can be as simple as taking yourself out for a cup of coffee or indulging in a favorite movie. The more you can foster and honor your self-esteem, the more capable you’ll feel in navigating change.
5. Practice Acceptance
Of course, change isn’t always positive. Financial crises and natural disasters occur. Unexpected illness and death happen. In the blink of an unsuspecting eye, we can find ourselves grappling with intense and inconceivable trauma.
When dramatic and difficult change happens, the answer to coping eventually comes down to acceptance. Know that you don’t have to like what happened. However, to heal, you must commit to accepting that it happened- and that you will need to cope with it.
Acceptance may not be an overnight process. However, you can accept that you’re willing to accept the situation when the time is ready.
Embracing The Beauty of New Beginnings
New beginnings bring endless possibility. Even if you’ve always been a creature of habit,’ moving into an optimistic space for change fosters open-mindedness and confidence.
Change is inevitable. But, how we cope with it makes all the difference. If you’re struggling with the changes in your life, therapy can help. Learn more about how Willow Counseling can support you.
Willow Counseling, Nashville, TN
Willow Counseling, PLLC exists to provide quality trauma-informed mental health counseling to the Nashville community, recognizing the interconnectedness of our emotional, spiritual and physical selves. We work together to alleviate symptoms, learn better coping skills, relieve burdens, remove the pain of trauma, and so much more. However, our greatest desire is for you to know what it means to feel purpose and joy again and to recognize the strength and worth you have to offer the world.