Change can either conjure up feelings of exhilaration and excitement or utter fear, worry and anxiety.
I'll bet you can think of many changes that were exciting and many that just totally freaked you out, that you may have avoided or procrastinated on for a long time.
Dictionary version of change - an act or process through which something becomes different.
Here is my version of what change looks like
The process whereby we choose to walk directly into the uncertainty of the storm (rather than running away in fear). Carrying with us the willingness and eagerness to gather the insights, learning and wisdom, while (im)patiently waiting for as long as it takes, allowing the storm to pass without trying to control it. And in due course emerging, lighter and brighter having released some old baggage and debris, and walking out a different person more aligned with our higher/best self.
But how open are we really to change and walking directly into the storm? And how open are we to those close to us changing?
Many of us feel threatened when someone close to us changes, it triggers our own fears and rather than looking at what that fear is about for us, we often retreat, blame or try to stop the other person changing. Fact is, our reaction has nothing to do with them changing, and everything to do with our self.
Many of my clients want to improve their life, become better versions of themselves, let go of old limiting habits and become happier, healthier and more confident.
Sounds great, right?
Even then, so often we fear change.
We forget or do not realise that we are constantly changing. We are never the same from one day to the next, we are always changing and evolving. Even though we appear to the eye to be the same on the outside we are constanly changing on the inside - just like the baby bird growing inside the egg - the egg appears the same on the outside despite the huge changes happening that we can not see on the inside.
But what does it really take to create such changes and are we ready and willing to do what ever it takes to create such change so we can fulfill our greatest potential and be the best version of our self?
1. Let Go of Control & Uncertainty
One of the best things I've done to help me through change is to let go of uncertainty and control.
This means letting go of my expectations of how I believe things should be based on my view of the world.
I know I have no idea how things are going to look and how long it's going to take to travel that road. I've had to question my expectations and beliefs often loaded deeply in perfection, getting everything right, and how I think things should be based on society or what I believe to be true about life.
Just as the weather is uncertain and I no control over what the weather will do tomorrow, life is also uncertain, I can't control what happens but I can't control how I respond.
The most primitive part of our brain is wired for safety and survival. Anything that comes across as a stress, poses a threat to our brain, and our survival mechanism kicks in. Hello fear!
Therefore if your perception or idea of change is scary it will trigger your primal survival response to kick in.
Fear and resistance to change is big, scary and very real for all of us.
However, in order for something beautiful new to grow, the weeds must be dug right up to the surface and the soil shaken up, messed up - to create space for something new.
Gaining a new perspective on change can help to shift the stress and the way you respond to change in the future.
Trust the process of change. It's a natural process in nature, in all things, including us.
If you trust that there is something greater than you at play in life, you'll know you are always supported and everything is always working out for you even in the messy, painful and uncertain times.
Without a mindset shift towards trusting life, it can be difficult to let go of control and embrace change.
When we embark on change, things will often get a little shaken up and messy first, before they get better. Do you find yourself squirming, thinking, you'd rather the easy path? Not keen on the mess, rather avoid it all together and jump straight to the prize?
Yep sometimes I find myself willfully wishing this too, that I didn't have to go through the muck to find the gift.
However the simple truth I have learned is this...
We grow into and discover our strengths, and our greatest gifts only by moving directly through the mess, with awareness and willingness to obtain the lessons and wisdom so we can integrate and cultivate the new wisdom to support and nurture a new empowered way of life.
Next we must learn to allow and embrace what is.
Allow the mess. Allow the yucky parts of change. Allow the uncertainty. Allow the (gasp) unknown... Allow all of it. Without judgement (easier said than done I know).
Know that if you're in the mess, something new and beautiful is coming - if you allow it.
How do you allow?
Stop resisting, pushing and fighting against the change, the challenges, the pain.
Stop ignoring whatever it is you're pushing aside. Stop pretending something isn't there and that it will just magically disappear by ignoring it.
Stop numbing yourself and your senses with substances, food, work, habits that keep you from facing what's really hurting you inside. This was a major catalyst for my growth, allowing myself to feel again after shutting myself down with numbing habits for a very long time.
Surrender and allow yourself to just be right there in the experience of it. Right in the middle of it, as if you're standing right in the eye of a storm.
Know that you are safe.
Know it's a normal human process.
Know you're not alone.
Know this messy part is necessary to shedding away the protective armor keeping you closed, fearful and trapped in dis-empowering behaviors. As you shed these layers it allows your true essence, the best version of you to emerge and come forth.
Know that if you're in the mess, it is a sign you are actually right on path.
Right on path to letting go of what no longer serves you, to clear space for the new.
I'm not saying it's easy. In fact it's far from easy.
That's why I have support.
First and foremost I provide support, respect and love towards myself, especially when it's hard, and when I catch myself judging or critising myself
And then I have my soul sisters who I trust, who can love & support me through the growing pains and see the best in me, holding me to this when I can't see it myself.
I also enlist other coaches & healers on my side to hold me, and help me see my blind spots and move through them.
Support is the number one thing that has accelerated my growth and letting go of the false conditioning and stepping into remembering the truth of who I am.
For a long time I thought I had to go it alone.
I was a little Miss Independent.
I was proud to be so independent. Didn't need anyone's help, I was strong, could tough it out alone. Or so I thought.
This actually kept me trapped in my struggle.
I was holding on tightly to the beleif I had to have it all together. That it wasn't good to show weakness. I needed to let go. To know it was safe to want and ask for help, to know I didn't have to sail the ship on my own. To know I didn't have to remain a lone rider.
Make it easier on yourself, create support for yourself. You're not meant to go it alone.
Now I welcome the growing pains of change. Because I know if it's happening I'm pulling out more weeds for more of my inner flowers to bloom.
To sum up
1. Get comfortable with uncertainty - let go of control and expectations
2. Trust that life is supporting you and things are always working out for you
3. Change is a normal process, we are always changing - allow it, allow yourself to be in the emotional discomfort of the mess.
4. Get support, there is no shame is sharing and reaching out for help - it's human nature to help, care and support others, you're not meant to struggle alone.
5. Change triggers fear survival instincts - know this and affirm you are safe.
Sending love to you all who are finding change and growth hard, and I hope this helps you see change from a different and lighter perspective.