Anyone who’s ever read Who Moved My Cheese? will know the importance of adapting to change, especially change created against our will. This includes careers, relationships, living circumstances and, as the years pass, even just “the times.” These changes are inevitable whether we like them or not.
In this post, I’m focusing on the change that we generate. Driving positive change in our lives. Taking risks. Shaking things up. Breaking out of the prisons of our comfort zones. Believe it or not, change is our biggest teacher. Sometimes it feels like our enemy but, in hindsight, it’s often one of the biggest loves of our lives.
Here are 5 reasons we don’t need to fear change!
- We see things differently.
Routine allows us to go through life without thinking too much. We’re on autopilot and often don’t really take stock of our surroundings or the people we encounter as we drive/bike/walk around our city doing errands, grabbing lunch or dinner, and meeting friends for coffee or a workout.
But change is a gift because it forces us to look at things with fresh eyes. Think about when you’re on vacation. Everything you experience – architecture, culture, cuisine, people, language – they’re all different. It brings us into the present moment and allows us to actually see things again.
When I visited Rome for the first time in 2007, I was in awe of all the cultural and physical differences – the many ancient buildings and other structures (i.e., the Coliseum, the Pantheon) that have survived since the time of The Roman Empire; the unbelievable food, wine, and coffee; the covetable fashion; wonderful museums; and the warm and vibrant people speaking such a beautiful language. My husband (who was born in Rome and visits at least once a year) told me that he loved seeing his beloved city through my awestruck eyes. It made the city new to him again, and gave him an even deeper appreciation for a place that is so special for him.
- We have a beginner’s mind.
This is a concept in Zen Buddhism, referring to having an attitude of openness when experiencing anything for the first time. Only something unfamiliar can invoke this within us. In a new situation, we have no preconceptions and simply come back to who we truly are.
When was the last time you did or saw something for the first time?
I ask myself this often, and when it’s been a while I plan a vacation (or even a weekend getaway) to a city we’ve never explored, I try a new fitness class or yoga studio, or I experiment with a new recipe. It’s always fun, and I consistently wonder why I waited so long to do or see something new!
- We’re vulnerable.
Change allows us to remember that we don’t know it all, and we don’t have all the answers.
Surprisingly, everything still works out OK, doesn’t it? Being vulnerable doesn’t mean that we aren’t safe. In fact, there’s great honesty in this openness. It helps push us forward in our lives. With wondrous anticipation and renewed confidence, we think “What else is out there?” And, “If I went through this and survived, what else could I survive?”
- We’re humble.
New experiences remove our ego. Humility is much closer to our higher self, our best self. It’s on this level that we connect to our source, make clearer decisions, and do some awesome inner work.
- We are grateful.
Change can remind us of how much we have. Starting a new business venture or having the courage to leave an unfulfilling intimate relationship or sever a toxic family relationship can remind us that we’re more resilient than we understand. Or it might highlight the authentic, supportive, and loving friends and family that care about us no matter what we go through.
Change is a chance to remember that we’re capable and whole. We’re also reminded that we’re much stronger than we think. And it’s a beautiful thing to be grateful for your own strength.
In addition to being unavoidable, change is liberating and healing. The more we welcome it, the more profoundly positive its impact upon us. It’s best to adopt this truth sooner rather than later as more change in life is always guaranteed!
Anne Morrow Lindbergh said it best: “Only in growth, reform, and change, paradoxically enough, is true security to be found.”