Change is inevitable, as life—so it turns out—is full of curveballs. With a little flexibility, fortitude, and resilience, we can accept change with a much steadier mental state, as Wellness Editor, Lisa Levine, explains. Read on for more advice on how to "stop arguing with things that are out of your control".
Picture this: You’re rolling along in a pretty good groove. In fact, if someone were to ask, you’d knock on wood and say that everything is going well. You’ve got your morning routines down, you’re exercising and getting into nature on a fairly regular basis, you’re making time for pleasure and friends and all the good stuff even amidst your work/family/regular life commitments.
But then, all of a sudden, despite your wood-knocking, BAM: You’re hit with a curveball and things go a bit wonky. It could be something as simple as a visit from your mother-in-law, a sick kid or a sprained ankle, or it could be something much bigger like a break-up or some other major life change. Whatever the case, it creates ripples and waves in your world, makes you feel thrown off course—or even underwater—and you find yourself focused on trying to get back to “normal” life.
The truth is that there’s always going to be something—oftentimes unexpected—that will come along and shake things up. In the end though, the way we choose to deal with change is entirely up to us. When we resist it or get stuck in the story of what we’re making it mean, in the bigger picture, we can ultimately make the whole damn thing a bigger challenge.
The more resilient we can be to change, the easier it will be to adjust to new normals—whether they’re temporary or permanent. I’m not saying you have to like when things change, but learning to acknowledge the situation, give yourself time to grieve or heal as necessary, and not allow it completely derail you is what will ultimately get you back to the business of living and loving your life.
It’s helpful to differentiate between embracing change and accepting change. Acceptance does not imply that you need to be happy about it, it just means you’re willing to stop arguing with things that are out of your control. To quote Byron Katie, "If you argue with reality you will only lose 100% of the time." The more you resist the waves of change the more they can thrash you in the end. Understanding and making peace with the fact that change is part of life is crucial to resilience.
Telling yourself you don’t do well with change or that you hate change will not—in the end—help. Flip that tired story into something that feels better and is just as believable. Try: I’m willing to get better at going with the flow when change occurs or everything may be changing but I will be OK. Or try my favorite go-with-the-flow mantra: This could be happening for me, not to me, even if I don’t yet know why. Sometimes it’s important to set aside time for grieving and other times a little pity party, some Netflix, and a GIF off with your BFF can set you straight.
Reframing an unfortunate or unexpected situation to see it as a gateway to wisdom, growth, or even unforeseen opportunity feels much better than thinking life is conspiring against you. Steer yourself toward an attitude of flexibility and compromise instead of one that’s full of hopelessness and woe. Staying as present as possible and living minute to minute—instead of spending too much time in fear of the future—can sometimes be enough to help you get through. Even with a greater loss like death there is eventually a place of calm and acceptance. Will things be the same once you get there? Of course not. But life will eventually resume an ebb and flow, and reminding yourself of this fact can be comforting.
Community can also be a key asset in helping us ride the waves. When adversity finds you, call friends and/or family members who are going to empathize, drive you to your doctor’s appointments, bring you your favorite soup, and help you look at the bright side—instead of the ones who are going to tell you that it’s all downhill from here. Looking to your version of God or a higher power can also help. Some things take time to fully reveal themselves and having a chat with the Universe can be just what is needed to keep you going.
Bottom line: Change happens, sometimes on purpose, sometimes temporarily, but mostly unavoidably. What shifts the outcome is how you deal with it.
And that, my friends, is entirely up to you.