Death and taxes are said to be the only absolutes in life. I think we need to add change to this list since facing change is also an absolute. Change involves both endings and beginnings. Both have a great deal in common – losses and gains. The steps involved are consistent and predictable. As we face the new year let us embrace the changes ahead. By knowing about the emotional process of change it gives us greater confidence, a knowing that we can handle whatever life has in store. I find the following framework helpful in processing changes in my life. Hopefully, you will find it valuable as well.
Level 0 – We are not interested, prepared or expecting a change to happen. At first we may find ourselves in denial, anger or at least uncertainty. Is this really happening? Should I, must I – the what if’s begin to flood into our mind. Expanding our comfort zone can be unnerving.
Level 1 – The realization hits us that the change is likely. We may think we are not ready for it and fear enters our thinking. We think of all the downsides of the change, forgetting that ‘all is as it should be.’ We momentarily forget that the Universe doesn’t make mistakes.
Level 2 – Now the change is eminent. We ask ourself, ‘how will this DIRECTLY affect ME? ‘ We may worry, ‘can I really do this, cope with this and make it work?’ We go into survival mode, momentarily, wishing it would just go away. Gradually, sticking our toe in the water, we begin thinking more about the change and mentally ‘trying it on for size.’
Level 3 – At this step we accept the change and quickly want to know what and how to manage it. ‘What should I do first, second, and so on,’ we think to ourself, quickly trying to gain a sense of control. We may have moments of regret or worry but in our hearts we again strive to remember that ‘all is as it should be.’
Level 4 – Now we begin wondering or worrying about how the change will affect OTHERS in our life. We wonder what we can do to help them. Often, only time helps. They may not be experiencing any excitement or seeming advantage by the change so time is needed to let them get used to the idea and process through these steps.
Level 5 – We are now fully engage in the change and want to work with others to celebrate it. We are living with the benefits and challenges and gaining a sense of comfort with the process. It is exciting for us but others may still not be there yet. It’s okay. Loving support and the gift of time will continue to help. Everyone processes change in their own ‘right’ time.
Level 6 – Acceptance of the changes in our lives have become the new norm. We begin to gain more confidence in our ability to handle the next change that is inevitable in our life. We want to help others realize that they can also handle changes in their lives with patience, love and understanding.
Death, taxes and change are absolutes for all of us. They are part of the script we wrote before birth. There is a peace in knowing that!
Have a great few days and remember to embrace change in 2013!