Thursday, January 24, 2008

Things Change - It's Our Job to Go On

When we stop and think about it, we know that life means constant change. It happens all of the time and there is nothing we can do to prevent it. People we know and love grow old and frail. At some point they come to the end of their lives. Our children grow up and make more and more independent decisions about how they will live their lives. Change happens in our jobs, with our friends, in our communities. It happens everywhere.

There are changes that give us joy. Welcoming new babies, getting settled in a good job, and finding a secure relationship are all things that might leave us feeling happy. When change brings loss, though, we can end up suffering, even arguing with ourselves or others that the situation couldn't or shouldn't be what it is. More often than not, we turn our entire focus to trying to make the pain go away.

Our whole culture admires a person who can "take control." The unfortunate thing is that in many cases, this just doesn't work. Then, to compound our sense of failure and our pain we are left with blaming ourselves or someone else for things not going well. It becomes a spiral of pain and unhappiness that is hard to leave behind.

There are a few simple things you can try that might help.
  • Ask yourself if you have this problem, or if it has you. Can you separate it from the rest of your experience?
  • Remind yourself that change, including loss, is a normal part of life and is most manageable when it is accepted
  • Practice seeing the problem as being only one part of your life
  • Think about what other things are important to you, what you want your focus and purpose to be
  • Commit to taking at least one step, however small, that will bring you closer to your purpose

There are times in all of our lives where we feel overwhelmed by change and loss. What we always have, though, somewhere inside of us are our hopes and aspirations for our lives. There is no better time to remind ourselves of what we want to be and to make sure we're moving, however slowly, in that direction.