Easing into Change
I woke up to snow on November 4.
I finally turned on my furnace a little bit before then. I can no longer hang onto hopes of warm weather and it’s time for me to embrace change once again. And not only embrace a change in the weather, but a personal change as well.
How do you react to change? We know change is inevitable. We even say, “the only constant is change.” And yet, when change comes, it can be hard. We’re not prepared. We don’t like it. We fight against it. We don’t feel like we’re in control.
Yes, change always brings us an opportunity to redefine the story we tell about who we think we are, but knowing that doesn’t make change any easier, does it?
Instead of resisting, we can choose to embrace a process of moving through change that helps us feel empowered and leverage change in our favor. And the sooner we can move through the process, the sooner change can morph from something that needs to be ‘endured’ into something that can ‘enlighten.’
I find that I’m adapting to change much more quickly nowadays. Maybe it’s an outcome of living through times of change known as the COVID Pandemic. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older (and hopefully wiser). Maybe it’s that I’m more content with who I am and where I am now. Or maybe I’m less afraid of change now then when I was younger.
But no matter what the reason is, I start with allowing myself to ‘feel my feelings’ regarding the change and it helps make the rest of the ‘change process’ easier and more graceful.
How good are you at allowing yourself to ‘feel your feelings?’
I wasn’t always good at allowing myself to ‘feel my feelings’ but the emotional release that comes with actually ‘feeling’ is an important part of moving through change. Unfortunately, the problem is that many of us (most of us?) have either been told to stuff our negative feelings or else were criticized for them. And so we are now experts at stuffing our emotions, feelings, and needs. We try and only think positive thoughts and force affirmations from our lips.
Of course, not all change is traumatic or brings up uncomfortable and unfamiliar feelings. But sometimes change (and our experience with it) can be a traumatic experience. If the change you are experiencing feels traumatic, don’t sweep those feelings under the rug.
I had a traumatic birth with my daughter. I was only 30 weeks pregnant when I was having contractions. I went to the hospital and was told I was dehydrated. So, they hydrated me and sent me home. Within hours I was back.
Then after I was admitted, I was told I couldn’t have any visitors, had to only lie on my left side, and not get out of bed. The nurses ignored me and the only one supporting me (creating a fuss, trying to get me a room with a window, and sticking up for me) was my husband. I did have one friend who brought me some dry shampoo, which was a godsend.
I think my mental state was so low that I wasn’t in the hospital for too long before finally gave birth to a 2lb 6oz (healthy) baby girl. But I didn’t get to hold her or feed her. I was stuck in the recovery area with moms who were breast feeding. I was among crying babies and nursing mothers, yet my arms were empty. My daughter was alone in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
And because of my husband’s previous demands that I be taken care of, we had unknowingly earned a reputation as troublemakers with the nurses in the NICU. The nurses weren’t friendly, they wouldn’t give us information, and they were inconsistent in giving us permission to even ‘touch’ our daughter in the incubator. And when the alarms went off because my daughter would stop breathing, the nurses slowly and casually went to check on her (I wanted them to rush over!). I had great fear that she’d stop breathing and never recover because the nurses seemed so blasé about attending to her.
When I tried to talk about the trauma of my daughter’s birth and how I was feeling, people kept telling me to be happy that I had a healthy baby and that she could have been much sicker considering how early she was.
Trying to ignore my emotions about my birthing experience caused me to feel anxious and apologetic. I struggled with feelings of self-blame. I had to be assertive and fight for every bit of information and guidance and even threaten to move my daughter to a NICU at a different hospital. I wondered if there was something wrong with me because my daughter was so premature. I was unsure, nervous, defensive, and scared yet I put on a happy face on the outside. I pretended all was well.
If we aren’t allowed to process the emotional energy on the front end, we can get stuck in the story and experience long-term effects that can be even more destructive.
Denying your feelings and labeling them as “negative” only causes them to last longer, creates internal resistance, and will eventually catch up with you - often at the most inconvenient time and in the weirdest way.
Maybe we can have positive thoughts such as “I have the strength to get through this” or “These feelings are painful and uncomfortable, and I know they are perfectly normal and someday I’ll feel better about this experience.” And then still allow yourself to process your emotions.
A great second step is to be gentle and patient with yourself if you’re going through change. Accept where you are without self-judgment. See if you can adopt a mindset of faith knowing you will get to the other side. You’ve done it before and you’ll do it again.
Your journey through change (or the dark night of the soul) will be easier if you can love yourself a bit. Let yourself fall apart if you need to.
There’s no shame in feeling your feelings. They are YOUR feelings, after all.
Think back to those early months of COVID-19, isolation, and lock down. How did you deal with your altered lifestyle and social distancing? Did you spend time in resistance and complaining or did you embrace change? Did you find ways to get your emotional and social needs met? Or did your stance on the ‘vax / anti-vax’ keep you stuck in turmoil, judgment, and anger?
For me, the goal is to move through change with grace and lightheartedness. Instead of resisting and leaving claw marks on the wall because I don’t want change (like I may have done in the past), I try and lean into the change sooner now.
And I’m leaning, once again, into change in my business. One change I’m adopting is that I’m now offering any of my online courses and bundles on a “Pay What You Want” basis. This is an energetic match for me and it feels good. I’m not sure it’s ‘smart’ business, but it’s my business.
I’m also going back to ‘preaching and teaching’ – not quite a church or ministry, but close. Everything online of course. I’m still feeling into what this will look like for me but it’s a big change to what I’ve been offering over the past few years.
But before this new idea kicks off, I’m going to feel my feelings and be patient with myself.
Say yes to yourself by having the courage to feel your feelings!
Hi, I’m Janet and I’m all about helping you to awaken to your value, wholeness, and connection to the divine. And I do this by teaching and guiding you back to the truth of who you are and who you came here to be. Left to our own devices, most of us don’t know how to begin or where to start. We can’t see beyond our blind spots. That’s where I come in.
With decades of coaching, teaching, and mentoring success, I bring my clients what they need to crush their excuses so they can amplify their impact, boost their self-confidence, connect with their calling, and live their aligned life.