It’s ok if you haven’t always known how to change your life story, or even what your life story is. At 15 years old, I was a mess. I was exceptionally miserable, smoking, drinking, and dabbling in drugs. Perhaps, some of you can relate? For me, on any particular day I could be sobbing in the bathroom, cutting myself, contemplating suicide, or just being plain reckless. I wish I could say that the despair started at 15, or ended then, but if I go back in my mind I can find it starting in my early childhood, and it lasted years later.
There are many ways that pain like this gets categorized: The histrionics of an adolescence, an uncommon experience of an unfortunate individual, growing pains (*rolls eyes*)… However you define it, my 15 year old self could not cope. For me, my pain became the story that guided the first part of my life. Learning how to change your life story is a skill that takes practice and it’s something you need to truly want. Here’s what I learned from my own experience of channeling my awareness to wake up and change my story to one of happiness, abundance, and purpose.
The first question is how did it happen in the first place?
What happened to me happens to many people. Repeatedly and systematically, I was told that my instincts were wrong, that my emotional responses were bad, that my way of being was unacceptable. I was told I needed to think a certain way to be smart. I needed to feel a certain way to be good. I needed to talk a certain way to be accepted. My life became a series of acts, transactions, and obligations. I was disconnected from my own truth.
My experience is not unique and this was not done to me out of cruelty. In fact, sometimes it was done by people who were trying their best to be loving and supportive. Collectively, we lack the broad knowledge of essential tools that help people create a personal experience that truly serves them. Instead, we default to a misguided status quo as if every individual would be fulfilled by meeting cookie cutter expectations and norms. It is very rare that anyone tell you, in the midst of your formation, that you can learn how to change your life story.
Unfortunately, by the time most people have reached the end of their childhood they have little idea of who they are, negligible emotional intelligence, and a profoundly deep belief that they need to be another person to be loved. We feel this way at the culmination of our “formative years.” We learn to compensate for what we have come to believe are our shortcomings and weaknesses – we act the part to get by. Most of us forget that there is an alternative.
Our limiting story has to be put into place.
Our first step in using awareness to change our life story is to begin to wake up to what is meaningful and enjoyable to us. It starts by pursuing a life where details large and small are things that are meaningful to us. We define what is “meaningful” through a process of personal inquiry into who we truly are. Giving ourselves this approach to life is a sign of love and respect.
As we begin to live in a way that feels right to us, we begin to uncover our own gifts. Often, these gifts have been covered over by the conditioning of our earlier lives. Many times, when we unpack what we thought was our fatal flaw we discover a powerful gift and a major part of our contribution to the world.
Our actions help us become more aware, they shift what we believe about ourselves and what we think is possible.
It is in this way that so much of who we are goes unrealized and our potential power to create our own wellbeing and positive change gets lost. Some of our seemingly meaningless quirks have a productive and positive application, we just need to wake up enough to begin looking for it. When we do, we feel better about ourselves and we begin to make a more positive contribution to the world.
Practicing forgiveness and acceptance is the key to changing our story. Acceptance and forgiveness are for both for ourselves and for others. It only takes a few trips to a therapist or an in depth writing exercise to become aware of our story. It takes a little more time to see how we keep ourselves on the hook and to begin the process of giving self-acceptance and self-forgiveness. Many people never develop this foundational respect for themselves and instead mask it with things like accolades, egoism, or bitterness.
Likewise, we cannot truly move forward until we have accepted the events of our lives and forgiven the people who we believe have hurt us. If we can become more aware of where we are holding onto past hurts, we can release them and liberate ourselves to create an entirely different narrative.
The third awareness tool for changing our story is self love. As we become aware of what true self-love looks and feels like and learn to live it more in each moment, we begin to see our story differently and to envision an alternative story that better suits us.
When our self-love is strong enough, we are able to face the painful challenges of life. We are able to learn from what is happening and apply it to our life in a way that makes us stronger and more ourselves. As a result, we change the narrative.
Apply the wisdom that gets developed when living life from a place of self love and acceptance.
This wisdom can be applied to every moment of our lives. Our developed ability to hold ourselves in a place of love and take affirming action in the face of opposition has the power to transform our world. If we no longer negate ourselves or feel the need to justify and rationalize our pain, if we are able to act constructively when faced with the obstacles of life, if we are able to remember that we are the critical change agent of each moment, then what we can accomplish individually and collectively is without parallel.
Each day holds countless moments in which we can shift things in the direction of the positive, in which we have the opportunity to leave the past and create something powerful and new moving forward. I did it and I can help you if you want to learn how to change your life story. To learn more click here to sign up for my newsletter.
Learning how to change your life is challenging under any circumstances. Learning how to change your life when you have a family (or other significant relationship) can feel straight-up impossible. You know you have uttered it at least once in your life – “I would, BUT [insert person of choice] does not like the idea.” When those we care about are not on board with our quest for change it can bring a number of challenges into our life. However, it does not need to be a reason for us to stop our process of growth. Challenge brings the opportunity to learn to be more and more graceful and effective in our process. Here are some tips on how.
Start with the easy stuff: When we’re in a place of change and feeling resistance you might find yourself digging trenches and preparing yourself for battle before every push. Hold the trenches! Figuring out how to change your life when you have a family that hates change will be a challenge, but not every one of those changes needs to be. There are plenty of changes you can make – for yourself and your loved one(s) – that will likely go totally unnoticed by your family. Broaden your perspective of the field and start with these smaller hurdles. Your success will empower you and might even help your loved one see (in retrospect) that change isn’t always hard or bad.
Stay the course: Here’s an truth for you – It is impossible to be untrue to yourself and be fully in relationship. (Yep. Read it again if you need to.) As soon as you discredit your own needs you actually withdraw parts of yourself from the relationship. So, when you find yourself meeting that resistance to change from a loved one, remind yourself that fighting for what is right and true for you is the best way for you to be a part of your relationship with them. They might not realize that their resistant behavior is damaging (to you and them) because it limits how much of yourself you can contribute to the relationship. But you do. So stay the course. Keep moving in the direction of your personal transformation. Trust that no matter the outcome this is the path to sharing even more love.
Educate: Sometimes people are against things simply because they do not have enough information to be with them. If you want your loved one to be on board for your process of transformation, you need to help educate them about the process and why it is important to you. It is also helpful if you educate them about how they can be most supportive. And it doesn’t hurt to explain – if they somehow don’t realize this – the way that your happiness and wellbeing influence them through your relationship. Maya Angelou said, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” Give your person (or people) the chance to do their best, just as you are trying to do.
Maybe they are not the problem: It is worth reiterating that – quite often – what we think is resistance by someone in our life is actually our own resistance. If you find yourself saying “I can’t ___” because of someone important in your life, take a minute to check in. Where is the resistance coming from? Maybe it isn’t about how to change your life when you have a family. Maybe it’s about how to change your life, in general. Rephrase the situation in positive terms and possessive language. Try saying “I am choosing to __ because __.” Instead of saying that your loved one is the reason you can’t. How does this feel? With your loved one out of the equation for a moment, can you better see your own role? Ask yourself what needs to change inside of you for you to feel good about taking your next steps.
It can be challenging to engage in our own process of change and stay in healthy relationship with those we love. In order to have both the joy of our own self and the joy of relationship, it is necessary to figure out how to make both work. In your own life, try implementing these tips on how to change your life when you have a family that hates change. Do you have other suggestions of things you’ve tried in your own life that have worked? Share them in the comments below!
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Whether you work for a company, run your own business, or are a leader in some other group, your success as a leader cannot – and will not – be stagnant. Like any other part of your life, success in leadership requires continued work and development. All parts of our lives need to be evaluated and efforts to take ourselves to the next level need to executed. If you have been wondering how to know when it is time to reinvent yourself as a leader then this article is for you.
You stop seeing results: This might seem obvious, but sometimes it’s easy to overlook what we don’t want to see. A big red flag that your leadership needs some work is that you stop seeing the results that you want to see. Leadership implies a goal – if you stop seeing forward movement from your team, you should take a look at how you are leading. What is it about what you are doing that is limiting the results of your team? What can you do to change the way you are leading? What can you do to support your team?
People are disengaged: The people you are leading will let you know how you are doing as a leader, in both blunt and subtle ways. If your team is inactive or not paying attention, it’s time to reflect on the gaps in your leadership. Pay attention to how your people are showing up. Are they going above and beyond, or trying to get away with the bare minimum? While individual character traits (like motivation and integrity) will always play a role in team performance, you will be surprised at how much more engagement you can create by changing your leadership approach.
The thrill is gone: Are you feeling less-than-engaged as a leader? Is the idea of another project – or taking the next steps on your current one – less than interesting to you? Are you resenting the action that you need to take? If you are no longer enjoying your leadership, then chances are you need to find a new way of being in leadership. It is time to reinvent yourself as a leader when you feel you’ve run out of good reasons to lead. I promise you, there are more.
Ongoing conflict: Conflict is part of any team effort, but when the problems persist it is time to take notice. Ongoing conflict is a sign that something is not working correctly and, since you are the leader, it probably means that you need to adjust the way that you are holding your leadership. When you get better, the people you are leading get better. Being a leader doesn’t mean being perfect. It means being attentive and being the first to step forward when it is time for change.
You may need to reinvent yourself entirely or it may just be an aspect of your leadership that needs some updating. Remember this is not because you have done something wrong but a natural part of the process of growth whereby you become the best leader and have the most positive impact you have.
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Learning how to reinvent yourself professionally is a challenge at any stage of life and career. You may have already had to tackle this challenge when you lost a job, became obsolete in your field, or just needed a new level of challenge in your work-life. But what do you do when you’re called to make the deeper kind of shift that occurs when you begin craving work that feeds your soul at a whole new level? This shift requires you to learn how to reinvent yourself professionally, with spiritual insight.
At this point in life you might find that the importance of what you do for your livelihood is overshadowed by the importance of your own well-being. Sometimes this feels like, “What once worked for me no longer works.” At other times, it feels like, “The work I used to love feels less interesting, if not outright out of alignment with who I am!” However it manifests for you, this need to connect with a deeper meaning will halt you in your tracks.
When people work with me during this phase of their development, they are frequently at a loss as to how to proceed. Their craving to have more rewarding work may not coincide with a knowledge of what that is, or even a desire to make the switch to this new way of being. It can take time to do the necessary and challenging work to figure out how to reinvent yourself professionally so that your work aligns with the needs of your body, mind, and spirit.
Responding to the next calling of your personal development requires fresh acknowledgement of what is now most important to you. It also requires that you do the work to become the person who can have that “next level” experience. Adapted from the words of the spiritually wise, here are some suggestions on how to reinvent yourself professionally.
“Our livelihood is intimately tied to the food we eat, water we drink and places where we recreate.” — Mark Udall
The physical health of our bodies is essential to our overall wellbeing. This means being attentive not only to the food we eat, but also to the health of the environments that we frequent. If we work in a toxic environment, eventually it rubs off on us. If we sit all day, we eventually pay the price of that habit. The worst culprits are work environments that are emotionally toxic. Whether it is the people in these environments or the emotional price we need to pay to do the work, emotionally toxicity is a slow poison to your wellbeing.
Taking care of yourself in a holistic way means no longer settling for what is unhealthy. It requires that we become more aware of the effects that each part of our life has on us. This process can initially seem to increase, rather than decrease, the discomfort of being in these environments, but what is really happening is that we are fully noticing the toxicity that always surrounded us.
“But if you can create an honorable livelihood, where you take your skills and use them and you earn a living from it, it gives you a sense of freedom and allows you to balance your life the way you want.” — Anita Roddick
The myth of the entrepreneur tells us that with ingenuity and hard work we can create riches. This dream, and the benefits mentioned in the last Roddick quote, might make entrepreneurship seem like the answer to your prayers for balance and time. And for some, it is. And for some, working for themselves is in fact a dream come true. But for most, the spiritual satisfaction we are looking for in our work is not answered solely by taking the path of entrepreneurship.
Instead of riches, let’s focus on satisfaction. Roddick tells us that if you can do something that you are good at, skilled at, and “earn a living,” the life you want will be yours. This is not the dream of untold wealth, this is the dream of dream satisfaction. They are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but when you approach your work with the goal in mind solely of profit then you may miss some things along the way. If, on the other hand, you approach your work with pleasure and satisfaction as the goal, then your financial rewards will be that much richer.
“A man without ethics is a beast loosed upon this world.” — Albert Camus
Too often I have heard people diminished the impact of the unethical choices that they have been encouraged to make in service of their career. Ethics, in our current complex world, can indeed be quite challenging to hold onto. Ethical dilemmas are posed by the simplest components of what makes our job – Who built those desks you work on, and were they fairly paid? Are you using recycled paper, and do you recycle in your office? – and they continue all the way through to larger issues of race, gender and power.
If you are looking to start a new chapter in your life you will be aided by examining where you are drawing your ethical lines at this particular juncture. Once you’ve drawn this map, it will be easier to turn away from any options that are not in line with your ethical beliefs at this time.
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” — Howard Thurman
For many, a lifetime of fitting ourselves into the form of other people’s wants breaks on the floor as we enter into this period of desire for deeper nourishment by our work. Some of us got degrees, careers, and accolades that were less about what we loved and more about what we felt the world needed from us. Some of us kept trying to find what the world was looking for in hope that we might be happy with it. This was not an effective strategy when we employed it at the start of our careers, and it is not an effective strategy for moving forward.
Learn what it is the lights you up. Whatever it is that truly makes you happy, when followed, will lead you in the direction of deep satisfaction. If you are unclear about how it will translate into your work, let that go for a moment and see if you can embrace the process of enjoying what you do. It will educate you about next steps, in one way or another.
We must not rest until right livelihood is within reach of every human being upon this earth we love and cherish. We all have a role to play in achieving this goal. — Agnivesh
Finally, think of what a world we would have if everyone was engaged in meaningful work that did not harm others or the planet. I sometimes struggle to image that world, but I know it would be amazing.
By taking steps in the direction of loving what you do and by approaching your work holistically you are moving the needle in this important direction for yourself and for others.
Learning how to reinvent yourself professionally with spiritual insight begins with learning how to ground yourself spiritually and create the space for yourself to grow.
It’s easy to talk about how to change your life when you are in a place of growth, but what about how to change your life when you feel stuck? When you find yourself in a hole dug from disempowerment, overexertion, emotional withdrawal, and apathy — and you’re good and stuck — how do you climb back out? The short answer to how to change your life when you feel stuck is to stay engaged and not give up. The long answer (the answer to, “yeah that’s great Kate, but how do I actually DO that?”) is a little more complex and takes a little more personal power.
An idea I often stress in my work is that it’s not the situation you are in, but the way you react to it, that defines your life experience. Your personal power to change your life lies in your ability to define how you react to life. I won’t pretend this is always easy… It’s easy to feel disempowered when reading the news, hearing that a loved one is sick, or finding yourself the brunt of someone’s road wage on your way to work (Leave it to Life to challenge your personal power on the daily…). The key here is not to fall into emotional withdrawal from the world, lest you find yourself in that proverbial hole of stuck-ness. Instead, react with “positive action.”
Throughout life we experience and witness so much negativity that employing “positive action” can sometimes seem a laughable (or sick) joke. How could our actions make a positive difference or have a lasting impact on this ever-changing, vast, often-harsh world? Me? Me, end hatred, hunger, and abuse? Me, ensure social equity, education for all, and protections for our planet? These are impossible-seeming questions and, when we don’t come up with answers, we stop ourselves from seeking solutions.
The hard truth is that, no matter how hopeless action may seem, apathy is noxious. Giving up in the face of adversity will leave you feeling like a half a person, and it demotes the people around you. The answer to how to change your life when you feel stuck, or how to change the world, is to ask different questions. Instead of trying to answer “What can I do to change the world?” (we don’t know, Batman), try “What can I do right now to create something good?,” “Who can I call right now to bring a moment of joy into the world?,” and “Where I can I lend the time I do have?”
The tools you need to change your life when you feel stuck are the same that you need to change the world. They are love, truth, and compassion. I believe that the entire world benefits when you choose to build your life with these tools. Equipped with these three holistic healing tools, you can approach adversity with positive action and transform your world. The answer to how to change your life when you feel stuck lies within you — it always has, and it always will.
If you think you need help bringing love, compassion, and truth to each situation you face, you’re not alone. While we have the inherent ability to do this, the capability takes practice. One resource you can rely on is focused practice of these skills. This is why I developed programs like my LifeWork Community — to provide the tools and the opportunity to practice new ways of being. Another resource is self-education and self-reflection. Below, I’ve provided some more depth on what our toolkit of Love, Truth, and Compassion look like in action. Take a read.
“Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.” — Buddha
Love is the most powerful, world-changing tool we have. I’m fully aware of how Pollyanna this sounds. My challenge to you, though, is this: try it! Get your heart broken, feel disrespected, lose something you really cherish, and see how quickly you can move on from the negativity you feel into LOVE. It takes a high degree of awareness and sophistication to experience our negativity and move beyond it into a place of love. Anyone who has walked this path knows that this is the way of a REAL bad-ass.
The first thing we need to do is cultivate love inside ourselves. To do this we need to hunt down the barriers to love that live within us more ferociously than we hunt down barriers to love in the world outside us.
This does not mean that we turn hatred toward these parts of ourselves. It means we see them,
accept them and let them go.
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth
what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” — Jesus Christ
Truthfulness is a time-honored and respected trait. To be truthful is to be honest and trustworthy. It requires a commitment to speaking and acknowledging the truth, and to acting with integrity. When we have our truth we also have our respect and love.
While philosophically there are many types of truth, the truth I’m talking about here has a dynamic
holism that is much more easily experienced than written about. There is a paradox around truth, though, and it’s this: truth does not make anything untrue.
Whenever you negate something, there is a lie present. Truthfulness allows for multiple perspectives in a way that honors each of those perspectives. One very common example of this is that if you make yourself wrong you’re not living your truth – nor are you allowing others to live theirs.
“No man is a true believer unless he desireth for his brother that which he desireth for himself.” – Muhammad
To be compassionate is to open your heart to the suffering of others. Compassion, to me, is a healing action. When we offer compassion to ourselves or others we are, in fact, healing ourselves or others. One of the best ways to practice compassion is to tend to our own pain and suffering. Without a doubt, one thing we gain from our own hardship is an ability to give love to others while they experience hardship of their own.
Still, sometimes we might find ourselves feeling closed off or judgmental about others who are in a difficult spot. We can feel wronged and, because of this, feel justified in wanting understanding from the other person. When we do this, we withhold our compassion and do not give our understanding to the person we feel wronged us.
If you want to have an impact on the world, each time you feel wronged stop and take a moment to understand the other person’s perspective.
To change your life when you feel stuck, learn how to effect positive action in the world. Suit up with a toolkit of Love, Truth, and Compassion, and go deep. While I’m certainly not knocking it, you don’t need to start a movement or become a politician to have a positive impact. Focus on being a better person and sharing this with the world, and you’ll elicit transformation in ways you couldn’t have imagined. The skills you need are simple and within the reach of every single one of us. If you need practice or guidance, click here to check out my LifeWork Community program.
I will leave you with this quote from Rumi. “Listen with the ears of tolerance. See through the eyes of compassion. Speak with the Language of love.”
Whether you lost your job because of a company cut back, a major mistake, or a personal issue, losing your job can cut to the core of how you feel about yourself and can seriously affect your ability to carry on with life as usual. As with any difficult time, it is incredibly important to take action that affirms who you are and allows you to regain personal power after losing your job.
This list of practices will help you figure out how to regain your power after losing your job, but it isn’t only that! This is a list to keep someplace you will see it every day — to remind you to keep doing things that will help you stay on track, pick yourself up, and move on with your life after challenges.
Give yourself a moment to breath: Like any loss, grief is a healthy part of the process of losing your job. It is all too easy to move on too quickly and not give ourselves a moment to feel the impact of what has happened. When you bolt from pain like this it actually holds you back later on in life. Taking some time to grieve now will mean that you will be less likely to get really off track when you start moving forward.Focus on what you did right: Without being defensive or negative, remember that even if you lost your job, there were many things that went right for you and that you did, in fact, do right. Take stock of how you were successful and effective in your job. This will help you to feel better and to better represent yourself when looking for future work.
Learn from your mistakes: Again, without being defensive or negative, take an honest inventory of where you might have done better or what you might have done differently. Any “failed” situation provides us with new insights into how we might change our behavior to get better results. Yes, there are situation that are totally out of our control, but it can never hurt to consider how you might do things differently going forward.
Get support: You will need support in many ways to continue to move forward: emotional support from family and friends, professional development support in getting yourself ready to get back in the job market, networking support in contact the right people, and so on. Independence and self-isolation are not the same thing. You cannot do this alone and it is counterproductive to your empowerment and happiness for you to try. Embrace the resources around you!
Take action: There is a time to pause and a time to take action. If you want another job, you will benefit from creating an action plan and strategy for getting a new job and moving forward. When you take action you will feel more powerful and capable in your life. This will result in both short and long term gains.
Reframe: Is the sudden increase in your free time after the loss of your job a benefit or a detractor from your life? Is it possible that losing your job is actually freeing you to find something better? These are the kinds of reframes that empower you to take action and make change. As bad as things are, try to open to the potential positive impact of every situation. Ask yourself, what is the good that will come out of this?
Keep your Perspective: There is no doubt that losing your job is a life experience that most of us want to avoid. Nevertheless, it is an experience that many of us do have. If you find yourself in this difficult situation, it does not mean much of anything about who you are or what you are capable of. Keep your self-talk framed around “I lost my job, now what?” instead of “I lost my job, I am worthless.” Avoid making this experience mean more than it does.
Stay the course: If you have a difficult time finding work after losing your job, keep practicing this list of suggestions. Each of these practices will keep you feeling more powerful in your circumstance. Do not worry if you have a bad day. Just get back on track as soon as you can.
When we get hit with a challenging life event, it pushes us, boldly and forcefully, to change. But what about the rest of the time, when nothing is horribly or chaotically wrong? Without the big signposts of high-impact life events, how do you know when its time to change your life, and how do you start to actually take action? It might be a change in a daily activity or it might be a change in a big part of our life. Here are some clues that you are ready for a life change.
I help women take action when its time for a life change, so that they can start living the life they have always dreamed of. Click here to learn more about how to find happiness for yourself, with Dr. Kate’s help.
There are events in which we lose something we never thought we’d lose: our perspective, our health, a loved one. These life-altering events can leave us reeling. In these moments it can seem that the world is an unfair place and we are at its mercy. Or perhaps we fail to judge the fairness of our situation and simply grieve that it’s happening.
In these moments we often grasp at what’s familiar. We try to negotiate a way to have and to hold what we previously held so dear. We fight, we deny, and we pretend that things have not changed. Yet, we can not un-know what we know – things are no longer the same.
These are the least peaceful times in our lives. This is when what we want to be and what is are at odds.
In his very powerful essay, David Whyte describes anger as our response to seeing something we held dear destroyed. This can be an idea, a relationship, or a state of being. Our anger states: “I have loved this and I’m not ready to let it go. I’m not ready to accept its fate. I’m not willing to accept my fate.”
When we approach the gravesite of what we once held dear, we are fraught with anguish. We want justice. We want to hold someone accountable. While others might be involved, they will never hold enough responsibility for the situation to appease our need for retribution.
We can keep fighting or we can be humbled by our humanity, by our intrinsic vulnerability.
We can find within ourselves a bravery that allows us to accept the ebb and flow of life. This kind of bravery sources its sense of peace from the practice of acceptance and not protection.
Protection is a strong and peculiar habit. We believe that we protect ourselves by cloaking our vulnerability and disappointment with anger, sadness, or avoidance. We convince ourselves that donning an outer armor is the only way that we can survive the inevitable heartache that comes with loss. But a shield expects an onslaught. Our protective gestures create the environment for a continual fight.
Conversely, acceptance is the fabric of a durable, permeable peace. It permits us to open to life, to allow for its expansion and contraction. It enfranchises us to give a rightful place to our anger and need to hold only as long as serves us. Most important, acceptance allows us to be remade again and again in the fire of what we believe we cannot bear. And this is where we find our peace.
Want a step-by-step guide to find and live your life purpose? My Morning Mindset Life Purpose is an inspirational daily video series that delivers tips, insights and exercises straight to your inbox for three weeks. Morning Mindset will help you step-in your purpose and live your life to its fullest. Learn more here!
Change is the only constant in life. Whether you want to change your life, or it happens on its own, change is inevitable. We often shy away from change because we fear the negative outcomes it sometimes brings, or we shy away from the adjustment that comes even with positive outcomes of change. Whatever the nature of our resistance, we’re often unsure of how to work with change – or if we even want to.
It is natural to crave constancy in life. It seems like it would make things easier. The truth is that when we stop changing, we stop growing. And when we cease to grow we lose our mojo. We feel flat and wonder what the meaning of life is, anyway.
To live life to its fullest, we need to learn how to work WITH change – to adapt, flex, and even roll with the punches life throws our way. When we embrace change we get more of what we want from each and every moment.
This week’s article is about how you can work WITH change and not AGAINST it.
Over two years ago, I left my marriage and with it the home I lovingly restored and the consistency I had developed in my relationship and in the rest of my life.
At first, I struggled. But then a curious thing happened. After I got through all the challenging emotions that come with a situation like that, my life opened up before me.
There’s a saying: “freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.” While this is true, I’d like to put a positive spin on this idea.
Because, in truth, my life opened up before me not simply because things changed, but because I WELCOMED the change.
Of course, there was some part of me that wanted to hold onto how things were “supposed to be.” I’d come to view my life and my future in a particular way and I didn’t want to let go of that vision. There was a part of me that wanted to assign a meaning to my divorce so that I could protect myself from future heartache and loss. Another part of me wanted to play the victim. I can tell you that none of these inclinations were helpful.
Acceptance Really is Your Greatest Ally
We come up with notions about what our life is supposed to be like. I call this the proverbial “white picket fence” syndrome. With “white picket fence” syndrome, we attach our ideas about what will make us happy to a particular thing, person or scenario. For me, this meant being in my relationship for the rest of my life and all that came along with it.
Yet, the more that we cling to this image of what our life should be like, the more we suffer. The fact of the matter is that right now, your life looks exactly as it’s supposed to look. The uncertainty and doubt, the joy and passion, the tedium and boredom – these are all necessary sensations that make up the life you have in front of you. These feelings are, in a sense, information. And you can make a lot of decisions about what you want to do next with the information you have at hand.
When we look at the life we have before us – and not the one we trick ourselves into thinking we have – we’re able to see what truly serves us. This perspective allows us to increase our happiness in infinite ways.
Change Calls for Brave Hearts
Unfortunately, most of us are entranced with the false idea that we’re destined to “have what we want”. We’ve mistakenly come to think of “having what we want” as a guarantee for enduring happiness. Sadly, this is not how things work. “Having what we want” is the net result of an ongoing and evolving effort through which we bring into our lives what works for us and strip away what no longer serves us.
There are times when life throws us a curve ball and we lose something we want or value. It’s easy to clench up in these moments. It’s understandable that we’ll do just about anything to prevent uncomfortable feelings such as loss or grief. When unexpected change or loss occurs, we tend say to things to ourselves like I made a bad choice, I’m never going to do that again, or – worse yet – I’m not meant to have this thing I really want.
But what if you grew your tolerance for difficult emotions? What if you actively built your ability to shift into positive emotions? How might you respond differently to change with these skills at hand?
It’s likely that you’ve noticed that even in the most painful moments of your life you’ve seen glimmers of potential happiness.
When we embrace change we also embrace the trust that we’ll be able to withstand the pains that can come with change. The only constant in life is change. And yes, some of that change will be painful. But if we put courage in our heart, we can move confidently into change with the faith that even the worst of it can be traversed.
Freedom’s Just Another Word for the Ability to Choose
Blame is many people’s favorite way to deal with the loss of what they want. People who blame others feel that if they hold someone else accountable they will somehow retain their sense of power.
However, this is not power, but rather a false sense of control. True power is the ability we have within ourselves to take charge of our own life and our own emotions.
This is the opposite of blame. This is accountability.
A wonderful thing happens when we know that we have the ability to make choices in our life. When we don’t like something – whether it’s momentary or more chronic – we can change it. When we know on a deep level that we have the ability to make a new choice, and change our situation, we feel empowered.
This is why I get so excited about teaching personal development work. Because once people have a sense of their own power and gain the skills to navigate life, their life never looks the same to them again.
Change can feel overwhelming at times and there will be moments that challenge us like we never believed possible. But we can learn to embrace the changes that come our way. When we do this, our hearts, minds, and bodies feel lighter as each day passes. I help people achieve this lightness and empowered state every day through my Personal Breakthrough Intensive. Ready to transform your life? Click here to learn more.
Have you ever had the experience of finding yourself on a new path in life and suddenly you feel like you’re all alone? You’ve just stepped into a new version of yourself. You’re becoming more aware and you’re paying closer attention to the choices you’re making. Things that used to be your ‘norm’ no longer interest you, and creative ideas are manifesting more easily. You’re exploring new paradigms and experiencing next-level shifts. AND you’re probably feeling more inspired and alive than ever before.
Welcome to the Next Phase of Your Journey
This is just the beginning. As you progressively begin to rely less on purely logical levels of thinking, and shift toward trusting your inner sense of what feels right, you’ll experience greater clarity and a deeper knowingness. From that knowingness, a driving desire is born to explore whatever it is that you’re being drawn toward.
As you follow the breadcrumbs of internal guidance, you’ll find yourself taking action and making different choices. You may start to revel in awe at how your perception and life experience is changing. The energy builds on that and we keep moving in this newfound seemingly directionless direction. But …
But Wait! Where Did Everyone Go?!?!
It’s often at this juncture that those new to the path encounter some emotional turbulence. This is a natural part of the integration process; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. As your strides turn into quantum leaps, it can become challenging for others in your life to hang on. As a result, there are a few common things that tend to show up…
Sometimes the people in your life will start to tease and poke fun at your new path. Their joking may seem light-hearted, yet to the new trailblazer it may stir up some confusion, sadness, or anger. I mean, “Why can’t they just be happy for me?” It may not mean they don’t want to be supportive of the newfangled you; it could mean that they don’t know how to be supportive. This is new territory for them as well.
Another common occurrence is the realization that the people we were previously associating with aren’t ready to make the leap, so they start to fall away. At first you may perceive this as being a negative experience. “I’m losing all my friends! What is happening here? I’m becoming a better person and now nobody gets me.” (sad face) This can create feelings of emptiness, which may lead to more solitude. It’s in this solitude that you lean more into that which is calling to you on a soul level, and you find some comfort there.
Here are a few tips for helping you to set your trajectory and maintain your momentum as if your life depends on it. Because it does.
5 Tips to Help You Through the Transition
Now go out there and shine. Really shine! I’m rooting for you.
reblogged from Chopra Centered LifeStyle