Our challenge with change is our sense of lack of control, especially if that change is initiated outside of us. Something is happening to us. We didn't choose it and it's happening anyways! This could be anything - health concerns, a new job responsibility, a teenager being a teenager, a tax that impacts our income, a schedule that won't quit. In response, emotions such as anxiety, frustration, resistance, anger, overwhelm, and worry appear. Not knowing what outcome change with create, we draw a defensive position, on guard and suspicious. Far from our process is trust, allowance, or embracing what is. Instead of responding with curiosity and openness to the possibilities inherent in change, we push back against the unknown and just want things to be as they are. We want to stay comfortable, even if what is comfortable is something we don't like. At least we know what it feels like. Think of a stagnated marriage or frustrations you have with your job or the economy.
In actuality, though, we do have control...because we have choice. We can choose what to think, how to speak, how to engage, and what our next action steps will be. No one else is doing that for us, unless we've turned into a robot. Above all, we can choose our view. Perception guides all that we see. Like the red car syndrome, we find what we look for.
As we move about our day, we categorize our experiences as good or bad, like or dislike. Built from past experience and honored belief systems, this categorization helps us navigate the constant influx of information. It adds a convenience factor to our life, simplifying the range of things we look at and narrowing the scope of what receives our attention.
This narrow and restrictive view, however, allows little room for things to show up as they are, without our slanted perception. We're so busy creating judgments of like or dislike that we don't step back to see what's really there, to make a healthy assessment, to reflect what's true for us in this moment, and to offer ourselves the chance to respond in newness.
Change is taking place all the time and we are part of that change. Why not let ourselves get unstuck and explore with possibility? How would life unfold if we let it take shape more naturally without trying to control it all, even if it's just a conversation with our teen?
I understand the safety feature behind our urge to control, but reflect on how our assumptions about people or events influence how we approach them and what expectation we have of outcome (hint...red car, red car). Instead of defending ourselves against change, what would it look like if we participated with an attitude of play or curiosity, a "don't know" mind. If we let go of the fear and instead let the situation flow, we'd be in a much better place to make decisions that resonate with our heart and what we really wish for.
The question then... how to switch our perception so we are in control of our experience? When a trigger situation arises, check in and recognize without judgment what is true for you in that moment - what emotions are present, where your thoughts are, how your body is responding, what story you're creating. Purposefully slow down, breathe to settle, and acknowledge your true core feelings and what you are really seeking. They may not be what you think they are. Anger is often a mask for fear or sadness, sarcasm and judgment a squelched desire to be loved or included. And see the situation as just that - a situation, a compilation of causes and conditions. It's not personal to you... it's just the movement of life.
With heart-felt, judge-less honesty of what you are feeling, embrace your awareness of this as a gift, a gift which will help you to make the right, or better, decision for what is needed. Grounded and solid in your truth, you won't need to sway anyone else to agree with you or see things the same way. Other people's perception are different and that's OK. When we are solid in what's true for us, without our stressed emotions taking over, we are clear versus unskillful. In this way, flow, grace, and ease become partners with positive and proactive change.
Take a few moments now to reflect on what you've resisted today. Step back, notice your reactions, and see if things might have shifted differently if you had been able to slow down and gain insight to your truth before engaging. Do this often. These little stopping points throughout your day can have a huge impact on your life.
The invitation: bring in a sense of ease to any moment of change. Shift your perception to one of openness and curiosity. See what amazing things may show up. Enjoy!!
With many blessings for peaceful days,
Mindfulness & Stress Management Coach