Accepting it's Time for Change
Updated: Oct 5, 2020
Change is hard. Especially big changes like switching jobs, moving, having a baby or even simply deciding to take action.
Part of the reason why change is so hard is because the future is unknown. We can do our best to anticipate what a change will bring but we can never know for sure what lies around the corner.
The unknown is often what keeps people stuck, even when they're unhappy.
The other part of what makes change hard is because of what you're leaving behind. Yes, you're moving on to something new (and hopefully something wanted), but you're also saying goodbye to whatever you're walking away from.
And that's hard, even when what you're leaving behind is something you're happy to move on from.
Why is it so hard to walk away, even when you know it's time to go?
You invested time. Whatever it was, it was a part of your life and time is a limited resource. We can never get time back and it feels horrible when we feel like it's been wasted.
You invested energy. You worked hard and even if you don't feel like you did, it still took mental and emotional energy you could've put towards other things.
Moving on can feel like a failure. Sometimes we think that if we're moving on, that it must be because we made a mistake which leads us to question how we'll be able to trust ourselves moving forward.
There can be a strong sense of loss: a loss of the life you led and everything that came with it. Even if there were parts you didn't like, they still contributed to your sense of self and the way you fit into the world. Without these things (and with the future unknown), you're lost.
All of these things are completely normal responses to change and aren't to be fixed or eliminated. They are feelings and mental processes we have to accept, work through, and ride out.
As you ride the wave of this transition, there are some new ways of looking at your situation that can help. It wasn't all for nothing. Try these mindset shifts to encourage yourself along:
Whatever you're leaving behind led you to where and who you are now.
Your experience has given you clarity on what you like and don't like, what you want and don't want.
You learned more about your capabilities, your strengths and your preferences than you would have without this experience.
Without this experience, you may not have come to the realization that it's time to revaluate what you really want out of life.
For more suggestions on how to process this change, try:
Honouring your journey. Take some time to journal or reflect on what you experienced and the learnings you'll be taking with you. If you're a creative person, try expressing your feelings and thoughts through an art project or you can try some expressive writing.
Making a list of your successes. Remind yourself that you aren't a failure by revisiting past accomplishments. As you call them to mind, try to identify the inner strengths that led to the accomplishments rather than outside circumstances of luck. This helps build your growth mindset.
Making a list of the things you did enjoy. Reframe your experience and practice gratitude for it by reminding yourself of the parts you did enjoy, however small.
Giving yourself some grace. Remind yourself that change is hard and you're allowed to struggle and react emotionally to it.
Practicing non-judgment. Release some of your negative energy around the change by removing labels of "good" and "bad". Notice when these thoughts come up in your mind as you reflect on where you've been and where you're going and try to neutralize them by accepting what is.
Accepting that life is full of both strife and joy. You can't have one without the other. The goal is not to eliminate all pain or strife from life but to learn how to live with and learn from it.
Recognizing that life is a journey that we move through and evolve along with. Life is fluid, human development is fluid. This isn't the end or the beginning, just another stepping stone or chapter.
Getting excited about the future. The unknown doesn't have to be as scary if you focus on potential benefits rather than loss and risks.
Change is less hard with a coach on your side!