As some of us know all too well, life can often look and feel like a roller coaster ride. When our life has been turned upside down, for whatever reason, we might feel confused and lost. In today’s article, we will look at the most appropriate attitude to carry during periods of chaos and, also, how to develop our ability to face change throughout our life. What steps can we take when we are faced with big changes? How do we adapt to new situations without unnecessary suffering?
When we are confronted with a big change in our life, no matter the nature of the change, it can be very difficult to accept. Our reference points are turned upside down, our habits swept away, and we can sometimes experience a feeling of despair. Whether we took the initiative to make this change or if it was something that was forced upon us, it can be challenging to feel at peace again. The very first thing to do, when our life is turned upside down, is to look at the facts:
We are being affected because we are, currently, experiencing something big and brand new in our life. Even though this might seem obvious, it’s important to recognize. It is often difficult to realize the importance of what we are enduring because we are swept in the whirlwind that this change is bringing into our lives.
If you are reading this while going through a major life change, take a moment (ideally in a quiet place where you can have some privacy) to say to yourself, “My life has been turned upside down. I feel…” . Complete this sentence with the first word that comes from the deepest part of your heart. Don’t be afraid of the strong emotions that might arise. Laugh, cry, yell, smile…let yourself experience these feelings fully. It’s only when we are completely aware of our emotions that we can move towards a renewed sense of balance. Before being able to feel at peace within, we must accept that we have to go through a process and period of internal chaos.
Social pressure, the way others look at us, the need to appear strong…all of these things make us quick to say we’re ok and have a good grasp on the situation, even if we feel lost. I would like to remind you: it’s ok not to feel strong, to feel totally lost, or shaken up. It’s not a bad thing and is actually, most often, quite healthy to know and recognize these strong emotions.
We are human. We all experience these emotions without exception. And you know what? Expressing your feelings is also beneficial for others because you invite them to do the same. Be open to feeling your emotions fully and this way you will be able to go through the storm. If you allow these emotions to move through you, they will continue to flow, leaving you stronger and more in tune with yourself.
Once we are aware of our feelings, once we have accepted that we feel out of balance because of a new reality, we can face the challenge of change. The question is, how do we face this change?
Visualizations are exercises that can help those who are going through a difficult situation. They are tools that help us imagine ourselves as if we had already weathered the storm.
To do this, you can take a pencil and a piece of paper and write what you imagine what resolution will look like. For example, “Once I’ll feel at peace with this change, I’ll be, I’ll do…”. By considering that we will one day be at peace with what is changing, we can effectively encourage ourselves through the process.
It’s also important to focus on the fact that any change is an opportunity for growth. It’s obvious that some changes are harder to accept than others, especially when they are sudden and not fully understood. However, in each case, a reliable truth remains: the end of one thing is the beginning of another. In this way, we can learn to see the possibility of something positive occurring with any event.
As Buddhists say, one of the greatest causes of suffering is our reluctance towards accepting change. By nature, life is ever-evolving, and impermanence is probably the most accurate way to describe it. As you probably know very well, life is simply a succession of moments that feel balanced and out of balance at times. If we don’t learn to live with this reality, we can create much of our own suffering. It can become easy to feel unsettled in our day-to-day and to have a very hard time finding stability when life balances back out.
Thankfully, each of us has this ability to adapt to change. A perfect metaphor for adaptation to change is the image of reeds. Reeds have the unique ability to bend under the strongest winds without ever breaking. They are solid, yet very flexible, which is precisely what gives them their strength. As human beings, we need to acquire similar flexibility if we want to survive the constant, and sometimes dramatic, changes that can arise throughout our lives.
One of the most efficient ways of learning to adapt to change is, of course, practicing meditation. Thanks to meditation, we learn that our true nature remains intact no matter what changes we are faced with. It reveals the vastness of our strength, showing us how we can unravel ourselves from the limiting thoughts that tell us that we weren’t capable of survival in various situations. We learn how to healthily detach ourselves from anything that is subject to change while remaining sensitive and aware. Meditating does not mean we don’t react to what is happening to us. On the contrary, with practice, it teaches us how to respect and give importance to our emotions, all the while, understanding their ever-changing nature. Therefore, with patience and benevolence, we can extract ourselves from the avalanche of our emotions and learn ways of being that allow us to come out stronger from our experiences.
Because certain aspects of life are sometimes difficult to overcome, it’s important to always remember that we have powerful tools that will help us thrive and learn from our experiences. In any case, during these life events, it is of the utmost importance to take good care of ourselves, maybe even better than usual. Indeed, we need all of our available energy to adapt to our new reality.
So tell us…How do you manage to overcome changes that happen suddenly in your life? Do you have any advice that you would like to share with all of us to better face change? We would love to read what you have to share in the comments section below!
Translation by: Stella Debiaggi