If there is one experience that can embroil us into confusion, fear and overwhelm it is change or transition of some sort, for it can bring about the unknown.
Change can take different forms for different people and what one person experiences as change someone else may not, depending on their past and current life circumstances.
For example, changing a job or even losing a job, may bring about massive upheaval in one person’s life but not in another. For someone, it may trigger basic survival instinct but for someone else it may bring them relief and propel them to look for other opportunities which are more aligned with their skills and values.
Change has the potential to throw us into chaos if we don’t recognise that what we are going through is change and that within every change, there is opportunity for growth. As such, it is important to acknowledge when there is change in our life. When we acknowledge and name our experience we can better contain how we experience change.
Change is inevitable and important part of our life because it carries the potential for growth so that we can align more intentionally and clearly with our values and purpose.
In our last workshops on Navigating Change which my husband John Petrozzi and I facilitated, we unpacked different emotions and sensations that can be triggered by change. The most common denominator to these emotions is fear. As we unpacked this, we all agreed that fear comes from not trusting ourselves and the path that we are treading. So, we asked the question how can we trust ourselves during change?
Setting intention is an important part of trust. It is like putting a stake in the ground to claim what we want and why. It’s affirming our goals and vision that we have for the future. With intention comes envisioning of what we want for our life. So, with clear intention and vision for the future, we explored if it possible to make a conscious decision to trust ourselves as we navigate change.
We felt that it was, but that this would depend on our own history and beliefs that we have about what change means to us and what it means to trust. We saw change as an opportunity for healing of the very wounds that relate to not trusting, be it others or ourselves.
Change can push us to re-evaluate our vision for the future and expectations that we have of ourselves and even others. An interesting comment shared during the workshop is that change is often equated with a fight or a battle. Does change have to come with a battle? Again, it depends on how we perceive ourselves, others and the world. In Jung’s words: “We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses”.
If we are blaming the world for what is happening in our own life and not taking any personal accountability then a long battle is likely to ensue.
If we find ourselves fighting a battle, can we reason with ourselves about the fact that there is no need for a ‘fight that has to be fought’? Maybe we can see the fight coming on, we see the triggers, we feel them but can decide, or at least intend, to not choose to fight. For we are always fighting ourselves, even when we think we are fighting with another.
Change is harder when we are controlling or attached to an outcome of how we think the story needs to unfold. Given we are such a speckle in the vastness of this universe, it is ludicrous to think that we have control of an outcome. It is important to have goals and intention but not to be attached to how that needs to happen.
So, can we go through change with clear intention and vision for our future and trust as we embark on our path of growth and healing? The answer is yes. For what is our other option and how will that serve us?