To live a peace filled and meaningful life, you must become great at dealing with change. One of my childhood influences was the martial artist, Bruce Lee. I remember hearing him speak one time about coping with the changing circumstances of life. He encouraged the listeners to, "Be like water." This statement had a profound impact on me. Although I often fail to achieve this goal, I continue to aspire to it.
Every day in my office I observe how person after person fights against accepting their changing reality. Now I can empathize and understand why it is so difficult for them to do so. It may be the loss of a child, or a betrayal by a spouse. These are very difficult and painful realities to accept. However, the fight against them only increases our pain and suffering.
Dealing effectively with change
There are two main aspects in dealing effectively with change. The first is emotional support. We need at least one person we can reach for who can help us start to accept whatever shift in our world has just occured. There are things that happen to us that are beyond any of our capacities to bear.
The other chief skill in dealing successfully with change is the ability to tolerate and utilize the emotions triggered by the event. This starts with working towards being present and noticing what you are feeling internally and in your body. You do not need to do anything or figure out what you are going to do with the situation, just sit with what you feel. This is very hard because your anxiety is going to make you focus on what happened and all the possible negative outcomes. Don't fall victim to this trap.
Start small and gain momentum
This can be impossible to achieve on your own at times, which is why the first step I mentioned is so essential. We need help slowing down. Allowing another to support us and connecting with them emotionally triggers our attachment system, which regulates us emotionally more than anything else. As we can start to accept what we are feeling, we can begin to work towards dealing our circumstances.
Today, make the effort to start accepting the reality of what is happening around you. This does not mean you accept mistreatment or injustice in the world. Rather, you no longer fight against the reality we live in a world where these things occur. Then you can shift your energy to actually changing these conditions.
As always, start small and gain momentum. Live out Bruce Lee's advice to, "Be like water." I promise the more you can achieve this goal, the more peace and joy filled your life will become.
John Hawkins Jr., M.S., L.M.H.C.
John has helped thousands of clients overcome the hidden internal blocks which had kept them from achieving their maximum potential. Furthermore, he has assisted them in gaining clarity of their true life purpose, identifying their gifts and talents, and developing lives of greater meaning and significance.