Embracing Change
By Shirley Davis

Change is a part of life that none of us can escape.  From the day we are born until the day we die, we will all face changes in our lives.  Some of these transformations will be ones we will easily embrace, others not so much.  To be terrified of change is to be afraid to live.  That is a basic fact of life.  This article is going to explore four ways we can cope with the inevitable reality and work towards embracing change.

One: Stop trying to force change

There is a time to make plans to handle changes that come along.  But there is a more important and often overlooked way to handle the challenges that come into our lives.  We can sit back and enjoy the ride.  That may sound counter-intuitive, but allow me to explain.

A truth that we do not like to think about is that we are limited in our scope to control our lives.  We can make plans to handle some disasters by owning life, car, property and health insurance.  But we cannot prevent the tragedies involved.  To live in fear of what may come in our futures, and to try to control these changes completely, is outside our human ability.  Concentrating on forcing the changes we want, like becoming overly concerned with our health or being over-cautious in making plans for our futures, will rob of us of the joy of living.  We need to stop forcing life, and begin to flow with the changes that come.

Two: Avoid “It will never happen to me”-isms

A pervasive thought pattern that robs us of our ability to plan for and accept change is the concept of “it will never happen to me”.  All of us do this, it is part of the human condition.  For example, if we spent all our time thinking on the fact that we will all die someday, we would live in a chaotic soup of fear.  When?  Where?  How?  It would drive us insane.  However, in this one instance I would put forth that some denial is a good thing.  We cannot control the inevitable change of death.  We can plan for this inevitability by pre-planning our funerals and buying life insurance, but to concentrate on our own demise is not healthy.

However, to allow ourselves to believe that cancer or any other disaster “will never happen to me” is to rob ourselves of our first line of defense, awareness.  We can be knowledgeable about the things that may happen to us and get out of the way if it is possible.

To live in ignorance of the fact that a major disaster could happen in our lives is comparable to standing on the railroad tracks and thinking there will never be a train come along that will hit us.  Some will stand on the tracks and only get off at the last moment when they see and hear the train coming, others will stand there and deny the train is coming even when they see it and die, while others who embrace change will know that the train WILL come their way eventually and simply avoid the tracks all together.  This is a change we must all embrace if we are to be healthy.

Three: Seek out other people’s viewpoints

Humans have an unfortunate tendency to become upset when others challenge our beliefs and thoughts.  This is a shame.  Humanity has known great strength and growth through embracing the controversial and self-challenging viewpoints of those who dare to speak out on their thoughts, no matter how radical.  Many of these brave people have met with hatred and some were murdered for their bravado, but in time humanity often embraces what they have said and we then face our ignorance head-on.

If you wish to learn something, you must speak to other people who believe and know things that you do not.  Only in this way can a person truly find out if what they believe stands up to the fire of scrutiny.  It is a way to change our world, and a way to embrace the changes that come into our world.  To learn anything, a person must sit at the feet of someone else who is better and knows more on a subject than they do.

One example I have experienced personally, is in the playing of chess.  When I began, I played a lady who was much better than I and I lost to her all the time.  Slowly, I began to gain in knowledge, gleaning from her much better skills an understanding of the game.  Finally, after many months I won a game.  It was a very important life lesson for me, and one I try to pass on whenever I can.

Four: Leave your comfort zone to embrace change

This is perhaps the greatest on this list of things to do to embrace change.  Anything can become cozy to humans, even a prison can become a place of comfort.  If we settle for less than what we can have, we allow ourselves to become trapped in a certain mindset.  We become unable to stand up to the challenge of change.

We must practice stepping out of our comfort zones and allowing ourselves to grow.  This means stepping all over our preconceived notions about other people.  It means embracing change in all its forms.  It means not running away when faced with a new viewpoint, or scoffing at it.  We can face viewpoints or lifestyles we don’t understand or find offensive to the way we were raised.  Should we not then sit back and think things through before we react?  Is someone else’s way of living wrong?  Or are we stuck in a comfort zone that we’ve have been taught and accepted as right?

Stepping out of our zone also means allowing ourselves to meet new people and have new experiences.  If we are to meet the challenge of change in our lives, what better way to prepare for it than to have a wide and varied view on the world around us and the people in it?

Conclusion

Change is coming to your life soon.  How you react to it depends largely on how you have decided beforehand to embrace it.  Are you going to hide your head in the sand and bemoan your fate?  Or will you say to yourself, “I knew this was coming, I will move forward anyway and be okay”?

A lot depends on your internal preparation work.  You don’t need to spend an inordinate amount of time doing this, just enough that you prepare mentally for the inevitable change that will come in your future.

“As you begin to realize that every different type of music, everybody’s individual music, has its own rhythm, life, language and heritage, you realize how life changes, and you learn how to be more open and adaptive to what is around us.”

Reproduced with permission, originally published here


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