How’s the year treating you so far?
Is everything turning out the way you thought it would?
If not, don’t beat yourself up. I’d say that’s probably the case for many of us.
Who or what’s to blame? Chalk it up to the “C” word. Of course, I’m talking about change. You knew that…right?
Change will throw a crimp into the best-laid plans and sap the wind from the sails of any well-charted voyage. Change can be downright uncomfortable. But, it doesn’t have to be.
I have a theory: It’s not change that is so painful. It’s our resistance to change that’s the source of our pain.
Let me illustrate with a real-life example:
I live in one of those new-fangled apartment over retail complexes. Right below me was this cute little restaurant that served excellent fish tacos and $2 beers every day from 4 ‘til 7. About once a week I’d venture downstairs, sit on a stool and enjoy a couple of tacos and an ice cold beer. It’s was a lovely way to wrap up a busy day and the people watching value was bar none. Alas, one day I went down to grab my weekly treat and saw a sign on the door that they had closed…for good. No so long, hasta la vista, or later days. Poof! They had simply disappeared.
My reaction (imagine hands waving in the air and a frantic look on my face): “Are you kidding me? They’re gone? This can’t be. How rude. This sucks. What am I gonna do now? Man, I loved that place. Maybe it’s just a joke. That’s it…a joke. Hmmm…the furniture’s gone. No joke. This sucks.”
Yeah, no kidding. All of THAT happened in the span of about two minutes as I stood outside the dark restaurant on a hot summer evening. A cold beer would have really hit the spot. Instead I went back up to my apartment and pouted. Yes I did.
The next day I went down to the leasing office and spoke with the complex manager. They were as surprised as I was to discover the news of the restaurant’s departure. Apparently, they hadn’t given notice.
As the weeks rolled by, I’d see folks show up at the restaurant, read the sign, check the doors, and walk away shaking their heads in disappointment. I’d murmur under my breath, “Yeah, I feel your pain buddy.”
This went on for…well, too long. We’ll leave it at that.
Then one day it hit me. No matter how much I poked and prodded or tried to weave the story in a different direction, the fact was…the restaurant was gone and it wasn’t coming back. I could continue to make a career out of complaining about it and feeling resentful. Or, I could choose something different.
Now, I’ve talked about change before and how your response to it is the only thing in your control. But, I’ve learned that we can take it just a little deeper. In fact, before you even respond to change your thoughts and attitude about it are paving the path of your experience.
Change = bad, wrong, inconvenient, difficult, disappointing, etc. sets the stage for contraction, denial, and pain.
Change = new, fresh, opportunity, growth, learning, potential, etc. sets the stage for expansion, possibility, and joy.
So how can we change our relationship with change? I believe the key word here is to learn to ‘love’ it.
Once you accept, nay embrace, the fact that everything is always changing…life gets a lot easier.
And, the truth of the matter is that change provides the opportunity for something better to show up.
This past week a cute little burger joint opened up in space below me. They’re known for their excellent fries, burgers and shakes. I went downstairs to welcome them to the complex and found the staff to be friendly, engaged and eager to become acquainted with the residents. Their menu is extensive and has more variety than the taco place. Oh, and they serve over 100 craft beers. Friday just got WAY more interesting!
So, the next time you’re slapped in the face with some unexpected (or even expected) change. Stop! Take a breath and remember that the next thoughts you have could shape your whole experience. Then, take a deep breath and remember that we don’t really know where this whole crazy ride is going. But, it’s certainly going to be an adventure getting there.