Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Meeting Change: Lessons from a Constant Friend

A few months ago, a good friend of mine wrote and published an article regarding the consistency of change. In this article, they spoke about their professional growth and accomplishments. It was a reflection on how change has played a role in their life and the growth they experienced. That article referenced and reminded me of two things, neo-soul artist India.Arie's song "Growth" and Dr. Spencer Johnsons book Who Moved My Cheese. In both works of art, one is reminded that change is inevitable.

For the past 4 years, I have experienced nothing but change. From losing my mother and paternal grandmother in 2010, ending a 4 year relationship the same year, leaving a place I've called home for 28 years to relocate to not one but two states within a year, and now experiencing some changes in the workplace; I am all too familiar with change. And like some of us, the changes were not always easy to swallow. From questioning whether the decisions were the right decisions, to wondering if I'd find love again, to trying to determine my contribution to the newness, I was experiencing more than change - I was GROWING.

As a child, my family made great efforts to prepare all of us for life. And their efforts worked to the best of its ability but no one could prepare us completely because our futures are not revealed to us until we are positioned to experience it. So my parents, family, and mentors could not prepare me for all that I've gone through but they did prepare me for growth. All of the lessons positioned me to acknowledge opportunities for enrichment and growth.

In this time, I have internalized so much and found it challenging to navigate through the changes. As I have journeyed through this cycle of change, I have learned a few things that I have found useful. Although my lessons could develop into a never ending list, here are just a few that  I have found to be my anchor in the choppy waters. They have served as my road map on finding the "silver lining at the end of the road".

Lesson #1: Change is not always a result of something you have or have not done. Some things we experience to prepare us for the next journey that is ahead of us. Try not to dwell in the "shoulda, coulda, woulda" or accept fault where it isn't necessary. That space can drive you insane, especially for us Introverts who spends a lot of time in our heads.

Lesson #2: Take time to process your feelings around the new experience. Whether it is a positive or negative change, your emotions will determine how open you are to the next wave of changes. Acknowledge what you are feeling and find ways to process it all. Some may find this by writing, talking to someone, or just spending time with your thoughts.

Lesson #3: Growth is healthy for us. As children, we may have received messages telling us how good for us vegetables and milk were and if we ate them we'd grow big and strong. That is similar to how I see change. The experiences I have witnessed these past 4 years have definitely empowered me beyond my own awareness. My resilience has become one of my strongest characteristics.

As I said, these are just some of the lessons I have learned. Since change is constant, I am constantly processing my experiences and feelings around them. I have found myself questioning what my contribution had been to all experiences but one I had to remind myself was lesson #1, not all experiences were a result of something I had or had not done. However, my response to it was on me and one thing for sure, I accept my growth. As I grow older, I remember that change is one thing we have no control of. And I accept all responsibility that comes with it, regardless of its difficulty level. I acknowledge that life will be a constant cycle of growth - CHANGE.