Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Change: Embrace It or Be Held Hostage By It

Every year, people make resolutions and vow to change that about their lives which they don't like whether it be behaviors, personality quirks, or lifestyle changes. They make these vows as if somehow when the clock strikes midnight signifying the beginning of new year, they experience a rebirth that allows them to become someone different.

The truth is change happens to us every day of our lives in miniscule ways that add up to major changes. This is part of life. We can choose to embrace change, or we can fight it. When we embrace it, we give ourselves power to use the change we experience to grow toward becoming the individuals we most want to be. When we fight change, we stunt our growth and may even become stagnant in our lives.

The thing about change is that if you change because it's what you want for your own personal wellbeing, it's likely to stick. That's called growth. If you change to please someone else or because it's what's expected, it just isn't going to last. It may feel good for a while, and you may even enjoy it while the person you're trying to please is praising you. In the end though, changing for someone else breeds resentment and lots of it. That's called subjugation.

Every year I make a point of saying I don't do resolutions, and it's true I don't. I make an effort to invite and embrace helpful change into my life on a daily basis. I don't need a new year to start working out or write more or pursue some goal I've abandoned or improve my relationships or well whatever else isn't quite working. So I don't do resolutions.

I do, however, reassess my life from time to time - actually a few times a year - to see how I'm progressing with my overall plans. I do set yearly goals and set up a plan to meet those goals. I do make use of the yearly calendar for my project plans. I do look at what changes are taking place in my life and figure out if they're in my best interests, if there's something I can do to make them work toward my overall life goals, if there's a lesson I'm missing, or if there's something I need to do to better embrace the inevitable change in front of me. I just don't feel I need a new year to do any of these things.

Change isn't easy, and yet it is easy. We can't stop change, yet we often struggle to accept change. Sometimes the change we seek isn't the change we need. Sometimes we aren't really ready for the change we think we want. Sometimes we try to force change to bend to our will.

We have to be willing to understand ourselves and the change presented before it can be incorporated into our lives. This isn't always easy, and it's one of the reasons resolutions fail. We aren't listening to ourselves and the universe around us. We're so busy thinking that because it's a new year, it's the right time. But, when it comes to living and changing, a new year is really as arbitrary as any other day of the year for change. The time for change is when it feels right in our souls, our hearts, our minds, and our bodies. In other words, it's when life tells us to pay attention and take action.

Look at the change already occurring in your life. See if there's something you can do with that. Embrace it. Understand it. Guide it. Accept it. Use it to achieve your goals. Just think about it.

Ask yourself a very important question. Is that change you see the product of your desire to be a better your or your desire to please someone else?

Regardless of the answer, three more things to think about. Is there a lesson in this change that will help you be your best self as you travel life's journey? Is this change inevitable? Do you have any control over this change?

Then set about making a plan to embrace the invitable and use it to your advantage.

My book of poetry, Reflection in Silhouette, is all about change along life's journey to find one's self!

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