Change. What a word. It creates fear and it can push us to our limits. I always denied that I had problems with change. I would say that I embraced change and welcomed it, but it was not always true. I mean I enjoyed getting new things, new basses, a new car! A new shirt… but this is not change, it’s simply buying new stuff.
In fact, change is what pushed me over the edge, I had to admit it and face it. It is okay not to be able to face change. As humans we grow accustom to things in our lives, we like when things roll along like they always do, in order and routinely. In fact, when we get thrown off our routine, we can get all out of sorts. Change can throw us way off if we don’t know how to deal with it in a healthy way. Change can create major physical, mental and emotional trauma. I was never taught to deal with change properly and I don’t think any of us are really taught to deal with change, especially when it happens on a grand scale.
When I am faced with change my mind will run wild, my emotions will rocket out of control, and my body will react the same way. Think of something in your life that always happens, or something that you do everyday or some one who is always been there for you. Now think about it just not happening ever again. How do you react?
How does your body react?
How does your mind react?
What emotions would you feel?
Now think of it on a grand scale – not just that little thing that you do everyday, but something that has changed and it will never be the same again! You just hate it, you are totally against it, it just makes your blood boil! It saddens you in a way you never felt before. Now times that by 100!!! That is what change can do to us if we don’t learn to deal with it and we have no tools to cope. The aftermath of that type of change in our lives can throw us into a desperate state. For me when the music store was purchased it meant taking on every job, trying to be everything to everyone, which lead me to the end and I had to make a choice.
We need to find a way to deal with that type of change. We still are living and still need to be happy, even though something has changed dramatically in our lives. We are still here, living, breathing and now also unable to cope. My way of dealing with change was to act like, “Hell I got this under control!” There is that word control again and we know that trying to control things that are out of our power is a bottomless pit! I felt that if I took control I was dealing with change in a healthy way, but I was not.
So what are some major changes that happen in our lives that can push us over the edge that we have to learn to deal with?
Death of a friend or loved one.
Major changes in our work place.
Health and well-being of ourselves or loved one.
Moving your location, your home.
Breaking off ties with friends and family.
These are pretty heavy things I listed and that is why I listed them. For me writing them down actually made my mind think about each one, also my heart raced just a little as I could picture myself in each example. Some I have experienced and some I have not, but I felt the reaction as if it were real. That is just how powerful our minds are and how connected our bodies and souls are to each other.
I will share an example of an extreme change in my life and how I learn to use forgiveness, radical acceptance and changing my perspective to help me deal with this change and let go of control and grow from something that I never thought I could grow from.
One of my greatest changes that I had to deal with was when my Dad first became ill and I could not talk with him every morning anymore, and then his passing. For years and years every morning before work I would talk with my Dad, even if it was only 10 minutes. I loved this time with him. When he got ill and could no longer get to the phone, these phone calls ended, and I was very upset. I would look out my backdoor window at my gardens and feel helpless and sad. I would look down at my phone as it sat there unused and it really hurt me and I missed those morning talks even if it was just about the weather.
I had to accept that this was only going to get worse over time as my father’s health was on a steady decline and also my mother’s as well as she watched my dad, her caregiver for years, slowly just fade away to someone that none of us could recognize. Accepting this was so hard for me because my dad was the cornerstone to our family. Always healthy, always happy and always there for all of us when we needed him.
We all reacted to my dad’s health and then his passing in so many different ways. I can only speak for myself about this but I was more than destroyed. Over the 3 years that my father’s health declined I went through many different stages and emotional states. I had to learn as I went through them because no one is ever ready for that type of change in their life. This type of change can bring on so many emotions and so many different states of mind.
I was angry. My father didn’t deserve this; he was such a great man.
I was sad. I was not myself, I had my dad on my mind everyday. After his passing I was always thinking of him and the pain he was in before he passed.
I was helpless. There was nothing I could do to stop what was happening, there was nothing I could do to save him or bring him back after he passed.
I couldn’t sleep. I was up all night thinking of my dad, while he was sick and then after he passed. What-if’s rolling around in my head at all times.
I didn’t know what to do or where to go, I was just going through each day in a fog, sinking deeper and deeper.
My health and well-being started to change. I started to withdraw from my own life, self care slowly fading, personal appearance started to slip. I withdrew from my own family, becoming silent and crying at the drop of a hat. I would hide and cry, never showing my emotions.
I had to look at all these things that were happening and accept that I was slowly sliding into a bad state. Slipping back into a full depression.
I had all the proof and I was refusing to look at it. I could not deal with this change that was forced on me. But I had to accept it and then find a solution. Because I was still here, I still had to live even though my dad had passed on.
I used radical acceptance
My dad was gone, nothing was going to change that.
I was having a hard time dealing with this change in my life because I had never dealt with this before.
I was slipping and I was seeing it first hand, I had proof. It was time to own it and accept it.
I forgave myself
I forgave myself, I couldn’t do anything to stop my dad’s passing.
I felt all the emotions I felt because I was human and that is okay.
I was coping in the only way I knew how, I was lost and grieving, there is no handbook, no timeline, no rules when it came to this type of change that had happened in my life.
It was okay for me to feel the way I was feeling.
I had to see it in a new perspective
Yes I lost my dad and yes it was not a good thing. I needed help and I had that help available, I just needed to draw on it and reach out! There was no shame in that at all.
My dad would have never wanted me to feel the way I was feeling. He would have never wanted me to be unhappy and would have never wanted me stop living my life. He would want me to get better and move forward with my life, not dwelling on the past in a negative way. He would want me to remember him and all the good things we had done together and be the best person I could be because of it.
I reached out for help and I took the steps I needed to take. I upped my therapy sessions so I could find my own way of moving forward and feel good about it. I needed tools to cope with this change and I had to accept them and learn. I began seeing Mastora again once or twice a week. I needed help dealing with the loss of Dad because I had never experienced this level of pain in my life.
This was a massive challenge; I was able to deal with it over time using radical acceptance, forgiveness and seeing it in a new perspective.
I ended up creating my own way of saying goodbye to my dad. One that I felt comfortable with and could accept and live with. In fact as I go through life, I use this as an example of how I overcame this massive change in my life, how I saw this in the end as an opportunity for growth, for me to use these tools. Knowing that my relationship with my dad made me who I am left me with a feeling of happiness I carry with me every day.
When you look at changes in your life, you have choices either let the change control you and bring you down or you look at it as a time to use the new tools you have to help you. Letting go of your old ways of thinking and feeling is hard but when things change in our lives, we don’t really have a choice but to learn to live with it. Then find our own way to live within that situation that has changed.
Fighting it doesn’t work. But using the tools will make it easier and feel more comfortable when dealing with any changes in our lives. Accepting change means you are growing and sometimes those changes will lead you on a wonderful path that you never saw before! You just have to do it, be willing to let go of the control you think you have and then love who you are for moving forward and accept the growth that it brought to you.