However surviving and thriving through change can be tricky and challenging. It can bring us face to face with our confusion, disorientation and fear. It all depends on what the change is and how welcome it is to us. Sometimes there are changes that seem to come out of nowhere. These unexpected changes can really shake us to the core. They can be job changes, illness, the birth of a child, the loss of a loved one, the ending of a marriage – all of which have a different weighting on the subsequent impact on our lives.
How we and others make sense of the change will impact how we live through it and whether we are able to respond in an innovative and creative way.
Change gets us in touch with loss. There is no change without loss and no loss without change. Often we consider only one aspect of these two interlinked and interdependent forces at the expense of the other. For example, if I get a new job, I am likely to focus upon the opportunities that lie ahead. If I am made redundant, I am likely to be all too well aware of the loss of all that it represents. Helpful hints about the new opportunities which lie ahead are not likely to be welcomed.
Those who are anxious about change are likely to anticipate the losses that will accompany any change and the temptation is to remain immobile for too long, finally finding some way to be ‘pushed over’ the threshold at the last moment.
On the other hand, those who cannot bear to wait might propel themselves into the future and only once there, begin to face the loss of what they have been left behind. Either way, there will be both sides of the equation to be managed and dealt with; the loss and the change: the shedding of what has been left behind and the taking on of what we find awaiting us in the new situation.
The resilience we need when going through change depends on the amount and specifics of what is happening during the process.
Change is faster and more constant and regular than ever before. If we embrace change and see it as essential progress, we can reset our relationship with it.
In order to do this we face the challenge of raising our awareness of what further skills might be helpful for us to develop so that we don’t end up in familiar unhelpful patterns.
Read Benita’s second blog on this subject, What’s my relationship to change?, now.