How To Embrace Change And Transform Your Life
In the words of Jane Birkin: “But who wants an easy life? It's boring!”
Imagine having the perfect life. You could be living in Rihanna's mansion house, have the perfect job, create meaningful things, be surrounded by people who love you. Basically, life feels swell. Then one day, out of the blue, a big-ass tornado cruises along and indiscriminately decimates everything you have, ripping away any sense of security and leaving you clinging onto the toilet bowl for dear life in the middle of the ruins. I hate to break it to you, but change is that tornado.
We humans love to feel safe and secure, we love to trundle along in comfortable complacency, but one of life's most important truths is that nothing lasts forever – except for that bright blue eyeshadow you've had since age 13, and Pharrell's inexplicably youthful looks. Change is a fact of life; it's unpredictable by nature, and you absolutely cannot avoid it. So what are you gonna do about it? Are you gonna sit there crying into your dusty toilet bowl or are you gonna get up and triumphantly scream, “I'm alive!”?
As Greek philosopher Socrates once wrote: “The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not fighting the old, but on building the new.” Change almost always has a silver lining, and that silver lining is opportunity – a catalyst for personal growth and transformation. So get up and start fighting, this could be the dawn of a whole new you.
So you've lost something that's important to you – maybe you've been unexpectedly fired, dumped, or kicked out of your home. Your first reaction is likely to be hysterical because, understandably, you'll feel like your whole world is crashing down. Rule number one: do not blame yourself. You can't change what happened and right now, over-lamenting the past won't mend your situation – in fact, it's a waste of valuable time and energy that you could be using constructively to resolve the immediate emergency. As philosopher Alan Watts wrote, “Struggle as we may, “fixing” will never make sense out of change. The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
Rule number two: don't panic. Going into a crazy whirlwind of activity can sometimes do more harm than good. Overdrive is exactly as it sounds: not only are you not giving yourself time to calmly and pragmatically work through your options, but you get emotionally and physically burnt out pretty darn fast. A blank canvas can be intimidating, but you're not going to transform it into a work of art if you frantically throw all of your paint at it – or cut your own ear off Van Gogh style. Learn to live with uncertainty: take time to quietly sketch out ideas and let the inspiration come to you.
If you're newly single, panic might manifest itself into one too many #RevengeBody Instagram pics, or worse, an unfavorable rebound – do you really need any more relationship shit to deal with? Take some time to be with yourself; you can't rush things that need time to grow.
You're having a hard time. Familiar routines have broken down and you quite possibly don't know what day of the week it is anymore, let alone have any structure to your day, but it's so important that you keep taking care of yourself. It's really easy to be the victim of your situation, to let it consume you to the point you don't give a shit about anything anymore – let alone your own wellbeing. But resorting to chain smoking, fast food and bad routines is self-sabotage. You deserve better than this!
On the weekend, when you'll naturally feel a little less stressed, take time to prepare some nutritious meals for the week ahead so that you can eat healthily without the effort when you're working through all the life stuff. Most importantly, remind yourself how grateful you are for the things you do have and try to look at the bigger picture rather than the short-term. It always helps to put your problems into perspective so that you can move forward with a little more positivity and self-belief.
In order to embrace change and flourish, you'll need an open mind by default. This means you'll need to say “shush” to your inner know-it-all and consider new directions you might not have thought about before. The worst thing you can do in this situation is limit your options by stubbornly telling yourself you can't do something, when its most likely just your insecurities holding you back. Remember, change is a massive opportunity: if you embrace it, you could propel yourself somewhere really exciting; become stronger, more resilient, more resourceful and much more self-confident.
Cast off whatever's been weighing you down and assume that you don't know anything, because it's the best way to see the world afresh. Don't be afraid to ask the seemingly obvious questions, because you might open a door to a new world you were oblivious to before. And if you really want to ace this, catch yourself off guard and try something that scares you – anything that pushes you out of your comfort zone. What better time than now to find out more about yourself?
Learn from experience
When things have calmed down, take some time to reflect on what happened and learn from it so that you can move forward positively and avoid unfavorable situations in the future. Chances are you'll have propelled yourself on a whole new course – but I'll bet it wasn't easy. There is something to be said about the saying, “make change before change makes you.” It's much better to initiate change ourselves than being complacent or passively allowing our lives to progress down a negative path until change affects us in a dramatic way. You shouldn't be riding your life in the passenger seat when you have the power to drive wherever you want – you're a frickin' human Land Rover! All you need to do is believe in yourself.
For more life advice, here's how to stop procrastinating and get your shit together.