As humans, we tend to go through a lot of changes. Some are intentional and others are unintentional, like the pandemic we’re still in. We need to be able to deal with these changes in order to thrive. Learning how to deal with change can also help you to develop courage in life. Let me show you how!
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What is change?
Change is altering, modifying, or making something different than it was before. It is the transition from one thing to the next. Everything changes almost constantly. Even you are changing constantly and probably even more so than you think.
It’s a big part of life and a lot of people struggle with it. Change isn’t always easy to deal with. Sometimes it’s necessary and you want it to happen, where other times it’s a pain in the ass and all you really do is fight it.
I wanted to write this post because change is an integral part of life. If we want to live a happy and fulfilled life, we should learn how to deal with change. We can’t escape it and we shouldn’t want to escape it.
We grow stronger and more resilient through change. And it’s because of our ability to adapt to change that we (somewhat) thrive as a species.
So why do we fear change? Why is change good? How does change take place? Can we learn how to deal with change? And how can this ultimately help us to find courage in life? Dig in and find out!
Why we’re all metatesiophobes
Metatesiowhat? What the actual f is a metatesiophobe? Some of you might be able to guess it already. It’s the fear of change.
So why do I say that we’re all afraid of change? Because it really is true. One person might be more afraid than the other, but we’re all afraid, it’s in our DNA. Let me tell you why.
Metatesiophobia is a thing because of the following factors:
- The possibility of failure; we fear not being good enough
- We fear new situations because it’s all out of Our Comfort Zone and causes uncertainty
- The loss of control over the situation, making you feel powerless
- We fear losing what we once had
And there probably are a handful of other reasons, but I think you get what it’s about.
The main thing you see coming back in these reasons for fearing change is that it’s all based on emotions and feelings. These are mainly fear, anger, confusion, and sadness. These emotions almost always cause a certain degree of stress.
So it’s quite logical that we resist change, but we also need it to live a happy life and to survive as a species in the first place.
As I mentioned earlier, not everyone experiences change as this big, bad thing. Those people still experience these negative feelings, but they’re able to deal with them in some way.
Before I show you how to deal with change, you should know why change is good and how it takes place. This will also make you realize that it’s not all fear and negativity (even though I’ve mostly been speaking about it that way).
Change also comes with excitement and anticipation and that’s something you can hold on to when dealing with change. Especially when you understand how it takes place!
Why change is good
I already touched upon a few reasons why change is good. It’s exciting, it brings something new to the table and has the ability to make you live a more Fulfilled Life.
It’s through change that we’re able to develop ourselves. It helps us to adapt and become resilient to unavoidable future change as well. You also, in a sense, get to find out what you’re made of and where some of your weaknesses lie.
Change forces you Out Of Your Comfort Zone and lets you experience more of what the world has to offer. Lastly, it can help you to be more grateful for the things you already have or once had.
So, embrace change with arms wide open! It’s nothing to be scared of. I know, it feels scary, but in reality there’s nothing to worry about. Trust the process and know that you’ll always be landing on your feet, standing tall, and progressing in life!
Understanding the process of change
The process of change generally is the same for most people. This process is illustrated in the curve below. I’ll guide you through all the stages so you know what to expect!
Stage 1, uninformed optimism:
In this stage, you’re often excited about the change. You think it’s going to be all good and mostly think positively of it. This is caused by an ignorant view of the matter since you simply haven’t informed yourself enough to really know what the pros and cons are.
On the other hand, this stage can also take a different turn. Especially when the change is not something you had a say in or when you disagree with it. In this case, you start the change process in stage 2.
Stage 2, informed pessimism:
Here’s where you have enough information to form a substantiated opinion about the matter. This often causes the optimism from stage 1 to turn into pessimism as you see all the possible roadblocks on your path.
The transition between stages 1 and 2 can also come with you blaming others for the change itself or the (negative) consequences of it. Here’s also where you possibly deny the change in its entirety if it’s something you didn’t choose. If you manage to go through it you then often start to blame yourself.
You can probably imagine that all the negative emotions I spoke of earlier would be coming up in these stages. In any case, blaming yourself and others is a result of these negative emotions. But don’t let this be an excuse to express them without a second thought!
Stage 3, valley of despair:
After the initial whirlwind of emotions and feelings, we’re still on the pessimistic side of things and this is where it gets toughest. Your emotions can cause you to feel uncertain about the change itself and confusion is something that’s often accompanied by uncertainty here.
‘’Do I really want/need to do this?’’
‘’What if I fail?’’
‘’Why am I in this situation?’’
You’ll be likely to ask yourself an ongoing slur of these rather useless questions. And that’s what makes the valley of despair hard to crawl out of.
Also know that you can get stuck in the valley of despair, going in circles through the blaming and uncertainty stages. Don’t worry too much, though. I’ll show you what you can do to shorten the curve in a bit!
Stage 4, informed optimism:
After being confused for a little while, you start to accept reality and see things in a different light.
‘’Maybe it’s not all that bad.’’
‘’I guess I could do X, Y and Z to continue.’’
And so on.
Your pessimism slowly starts to move towards optimism again and you’ll start to come out of the valley of despair.
It’s still possible to fall back into uncertainty so you need to be wary about slipping into pessimism once again.
Stage 5, success & fulfillment:
It’s here where you solve problems that arise with certainty and a game plan. You know what to do and you do it to achieve success and fulfillment. This is regarding both voluntary and involuntary change. Where the latter obviously is harder to deal with while in the valley of despair.
So how do we use this information to our advantage?
Knowing how change takes place enables us to try and shorten the curve and in doing so, reduce the time we spend in the valley of despair. When doing research for this post, I occasionally saw things passing by like ‘’how to avoid the valley of despair.’’
Let it be no surprise that the valley of despair is not something that can be avoided altogether. These are marketing gimmicks to make you click by showing you what you want to hear, not what you need to hear.
So the question now is; how do you shorten the curve?
You do that by learning how to deal with change!
How to deal with change
There are some solid ways to shorten the curve. I’ve tried to compile a list of the most impactful ones and there are 6 ways that I think have a lot of potential power. Here they are!
1. The past doesn’t exist
Kind of a weird statement to begin with but, depending on how you look at it, the past really is nothing. Only if you in some way cling to the past and refuse to accept how things are will you say that the past is something of value – in the context of change.
So it might help to think that the past doesn’t exist. You accept it and move on, which helps you to embrace change in the moment. It also means accepting things that you can’t change.
2. Manage emotions
Manage the emotions and feelings I mentioned earlier and know that negative emotions are unavoidable. If anything, they have the power to make you stronger.
A few other, more general, things to consider are:
- Exercise! It lowers stress and can give you some time to think about your emotions while blowing off some steam
- Make sure you get enough sleep
- Do things that enable you to (somewhat) relax; reading, writing or walking, for example
- Know where exactly the emotions are coming from and then put them in perspective – it often isn’t as bad as you make it out to be
3. Create a set of values (and a mission)
Having a set of values accompanied by a mission that deeply resonates with you and what you want in life can help you push through change. If you know that this change is something that is in line with or can bring you closer to, your mission then it will help you to stay Motivated.
Aside from change, it’s always helpful to have your values and mission written down to remind you of it and keep yourself in check.
Here’s a guide to help you write down a Mission, Vision & Goals! I’d also recommend you write down at least 3 – ideally 5 – of your personal values.
4. Focus on the positive side
Something you probably hear all the time, but it’s for a reason. Consciously focusing on the positive side of things simply works. It does take some practice but you can only get better at it. As with anything, don’t expect change and your life in general to suddenly be all positive. There’s no quick fix to life!
So how do you focus on the positive side of things? I’ll keep it straightforward and simple.
Write down things you experience positively about the change you’re going through or are about to go through. You could even keep a journal for it. The important thing here is to remind yourself frequently of the good things in your life. It’s as simple as that!
5. Reach out for support
There are a ton of ways you can get support. My first suggestion would be to find an Accountability Partner. Accountability simply is a strong motivator and can offer great support.
You could also simply ask your parents, friends, or other people close to you if they’re able to support you in the change you’re going through.
Lastly I want to share something I recently realized and got involved in. I’ll try to keep it short
I lately felt as if I wasn’t really living. That’s to say experiencing life, like, at all. So I tried all kinds of methods, practices, and what have you to relieve myself from this feeling. Nothing seemed to really work and then I said, okay, enough is enough. I’m going to find professional help.
So I looked at what my options were and I tried to get in touch with the psychologist my college is providing, but the waiting list simply was way too long. Then a tutor at my college offered to book a call and talk about the problems I was facing. I thought why not, I’ve got nothing to lose and that call turned out to be all I needed to continue my life with a greater sense of living.
The moral of the story here is that sometimes all you need is an outside (somewhat professional) perspective on things going on in your life. This can help you in any situation, but also greatly when going through change and not knowing what to do with it.
6. Cultivate a growth mindset
A growth mindset will make you worry less about change in general and enables you to see the positives of the situation more easily.
Most people don’t change their mindsets because they don’t know where to start. You can read all the books you want on this one but if there’s little to no practical advice there you can just as well do nothing. So how do you cultivate a growth mindset?
That’s why I’m a proud affiliate for Rob Riker’s Social Mindset Mastery Guide. It’s a no bullshit, straight-forward course that teaches you 5 mindsets. So not only a growth mindset, but 4 other essential mindsets for improving your life as well!
It’s quick, easy to digest, practical and will make you:
- Love your life
- Believe in yourself
- Make new friends
- Become more social
Don’t wait on this one. Learn how to deal with change and start improving your life, now!
Finding courage in change
Many of the ways of how to deal with change actually require you to be courageous in some sense. Accepting things as they are, managing – and thereby confronting – emotions, and focusing on the positive, all require courage. The courage to be able to stand up to and for yourself. The courage to consciously choose a better life!
I’m a practical guy and I’d like to tell you exactly how you can find this courage. However, it’s not that easy. Courage is a ‘soft’ aspect of life. Meaning that it’s not a clear-cut skill you can learn and develop. It’s something to be found within and developed over time.
When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change.Paulo Coelho
It can be difficult to find the courage to change, but once you’ve found this courage, it becomes increasingly easier to reinvent and expand upon that courage.
Using the methods presented earlier, you should be able to better deal with change and in doing so, you’ll find the courage to change another time. This effect will keep compounding, enabling you to find and develop courage in life!
This is to say that the entire process of change is a tool for finding courage in life. The more familiar you become with change, the more courage you’re able to find.
Accept yourself, how you are, in this moment. Accept it and regardless of the outcome, take that leap of faith and change. Trust the process and make it happen, embrace it with open arms.
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With all that being said, I hope you have an amazing day. Until next time!