I believe there are some important steps to handling, accepting and even learning to be excited about change. This week let’s talk about…Acceptance.
I am the youngest of 5 kids. My older sisters were goddesses to me when I was growing up…(still are in many respects). When I think of the best moments of being a kid, they are there. In those memories they are home on visits, sleeping in my bed with me and giggling, playing Uno, or braiding my hair. But for many many years, I turned into a different version of myself the day before they came and the day they left.
The day before they came, I would already start thinking about when they were leaving. In the excitement of being together, mercifully, I would forget to be upset. Then on the morning they were going to leave, I would go deep inside myself again and become angry, sulky, and afraid.
I could give you some serious and real reasons why this was so intense. But the truth is, even without those reasons, I was a kid who struggled with change and disruption. I wanted the best parts to go on and on and on. I was not able to see the need for change, transition, and acceptance.
And so…I made all of us miserable for at least a few hours each visit. (Sorry, Sisters.)
Human nature is to hang out in the familiar and want to get our situation back to the best moment. We say things like “But it was so great at the beginning” or “We were so happy here.” And it’s true. It was. We were. Also, things change. Not always or only for the worse, but change is inevitable.
Change (even positive change) is often a difficult and challenging experience. Whether it’s a new job, a new home, or a new relationship, change can be overwhelming. It’s natural to feel anxious, uneasy, and even fearful when faced with change. And still, the first step in embracing change is acceptance.
Acceptance means acknowledging that change is happening. Unwanted. Terrifying. Exciting. Joyful. No matter what else you may feel, change is still natural and necessary.
When we resist change, we suffer. We feel anxious, stressed, and out of control. We may even feel like we’re in mourning for the old way of doing things. When we accept change, we open ourselves up to new possibilities and opportunities. We allow ourselves to grow, learn, and evolve.
Acceptance is not about giving up or giving in. It’s about acknowledging and embracing reality. It’s about being honest with ourselves about what is happening and what we can do to move forward.
So how do we practice acceptance?
- Acknowledge your feelings: It’s okay to feel anxious, uneasy, or even sad when faced with change. Acknowledge your emotions and give yourself permission to feel them.
- Focus on the present moment: Instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, focus on the present moment. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are okay right now.
- Practice self-compassion: Be gentle with yourself during times of change. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion, just like you would treat a good friend.
- Seek out support: Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, family, or a professional for support. Talking to someone can help you process your feelings and gain a new perspective.
Step 1 to dealing with change isn’t to be skipped or treated lightly. It is required.
Had Past Leah been better at acceptance, she might have eked out a few more moments of joy on those Sister visits. She didn’t know better. So I’ll just offer her some kindness and compassion now…and also remind you that her pouty face was still super cute!