How do you go coping when something suddenly and unexpectedly changes ?
Whether it be an event you were working towards, or a career you were enjoying that comes to an abrupt end, or a vision that you’d been working towards that just hasn’t turned out the way you’d hoped….or even still, that something so significant changed for you that you no longer felt connected to your identity of who you are and what you stand for.
Are you able to go with the flow ? OR Do you fight the change every step of the way ?
It’s a challenging one isn’t it ?!
Especially when you have your heart set on something happening at a certain time and on a certain date. And more than likely you’ve played the scenario over and over in your head as to how things will pan out….you have probably got a few different alternative options there running through your head, to give you the greatest sense of control over the situation, because let’s face it, you’re not silly and you know that there are many factors that can get in the way and change the outcome even if only slightly, and you reckon you’ve pretty well accounted for every single option.
You’ve planned it out as well as you can, and you are most likely pretty attached to the outcome, or you wouldn’t really be focusing too much on it at all and you wouldn’t care too much if things changed.
However, no matter who you are, at some point in your life, there’s something that you’ve been really looking forward to, or ultimately absolutely dreading altogether; however you have known where it was happening and when it was on. You gave it your all and focused all your energy into it (whether that be with excitement and anticipation, or with dread and putting all the energy you could into unsuccessfully avoiding thinking about it at all).
Then you discover it’s been changed to another time and date, or worst still if you were looking forward to it, cancelled altogether !!
What is the best way to handle this unexpected and unwelcome change ?
I personally believe that the 3 most helpful strategies to manage change you are not happy about is as follows:-
- Ask yourself a couple of key questions…. (a) Is this the absolute worst thing can can happen to me and (b) How much will this really matter in 5 years time ? (the answers this elicits will certainly assist in defusing some of the emotion attached to the situation)
- Utilise the strategy of ‘Automatic Writing’, which is where you set yourself up with pen and paper (or use a computer and type away) and imagine the scenario of the thing you were so prepared for and then re-experience the exact moment when you discovered it had been cancelled / changed / ended. Put yourself back in your own shoes and recreate the vision of what exactly happened, where you were at the time, what it looked like, what you were wearing etc, and then hear the sounds of exactly what was said, and the noises of everything going on around you at the time….put yourself right back there into that moment and the period immediately after; as you went through that gamut of emotions and notice exactly what it was that you felt right then….was it disappointment, was it anger, was it extreme sadness ?…..step into your shoes again and feel it all over again…. Then start writing (or typing)….just let whatever comes come, let it flow out the end of your pen, or through your fingers….let it all out, keep on going and just write and write and write until you have absolutely nothing left to give….you are completely spent and have let absolutely everything out, and you feel as though it’s no longer a core part of you….it’s out and apart from you….now when you are sure that is complete I want you to crumple that piece of paper up (yes if you typed it then print it off and do that please) and then throw it into a fire, or set a match to it and burn it as part of a ceremony to dispose of that ‘old stuff’ that is no longer in control of you and dictating how you will feel ….notice how good it feels to Let It Go !!
- Commence a Gratitude Diary, where EVERY single day, at the end of each day you write down exactly what in your life that you are grateful for. And take the time to be thankful and reflect on these very things, indeed do that morning and night. You will notice a shift from negativity to positivity quite quickly.
Remember that anything new feels awkward and it takes time to master, however with practice it becomes easier and eventually it will be an automatic process. Then when anything unexpected or not aligned with how you think or feel occurs, practice these 2 steps and you will find that you can let it go quite quickly and no longer hold onto destructive and negative energy any longer than you need to.
This is what we call having Behavioural Flexibility, and this means that we are more easily able to take on board what has happened and work out a strategy to deal with what has happened, process it and somehow ‘pack it away in a box’ so we can move forward having accepted things are not quite as we expected and that we can’t control everything yet that is okay..
Give it a go, take these 3 steps and notice the difference in your life