In the past five years… Has your choice of music changed? Or the way you dress? The types of books you like to read? What about your hobbies? Or friend group? Who you live with or where you live?
My guess is that you answered YES and maybe even nodded your head to a least a few of these questions. While the questions may seem superficial, your answers can help you capture the changes in the landscape of your life across time.
Over time, you will go through changes. These changes may be emotional, spiritual, physical, mental, or all of the above. Some changes happen without a plan, while others are plugged into the calendar and organized just as you wish. Furthermore, with each change, you have the opportunity to integrate new information into your identity and sense of personhood. In other words, with each change, you have an opportunity to grow and become more YOU!
How My Life Has Changed
Whew, has it changed! In the last five years, for example, I:
- Made multiple job changes– left teaching, worked as a nanny, returned to teaching part-time, and left teaching again.
- Decided to become sober.
- Started my own business (Thank you for being a part of this community!)
- Moved in with my partner, and later, got married to him, which also means that I gained a whole new, second family.
- Made lots of new friends and let go of a few friendships along the way, too.
- Reclaimed my relationship to writing. (The book is still in progress.)
- Reached out for help from different therapists and coaches.
- Stopped going out to late-night events and embraced my need for sleep.
- Lost one of my grandfathers.
- Gained a 5th nibling (gender-neutral for child of a sibling).
How has your life changed in the past few years?
I invite you to pick whatever timeframe feels good to you–1 year, 5 years, 10 years, etc. and make a list of the changes you have experienced.
Stop. Breathe. Feel.
What sensations do you notice in your body after creating this list? How is your heart? What kind of thoughts are you hearing?
As you consider your experience with change and prepare for continued transition and evolution, these 10 tips will help you embrace the changes in your past, present, and future!
10 Ways to Embrace Change and Become More You:
- Remember that change is inevitable, normal, and necessary. Specifically, you might like to use this sentence (or one like it) as an affirmation! Repeat it as often as self-doubt or resistance to change comes up. Sometimes these acknowledgments alone will offer you deeper presence or greater capacity in the midst of a transition.
- Name and acknowledge the changes you are experiencing. You might say to yourself, “Things are changing, and that is okay” or “Whew, a lot is shifting, and this feels tough.” Whether you feel graceful about the change or not, naming the experience is an excellent first step.
- Claim your sphere of control. Assess the situation and determine which elements are within your control. It might be helpful to categorize elements as “in my control” and “out of my control” in a two-column chart. Furthermore, sit with the list of items under “in my control” and notice what comes up. Check in with your sense of empowerment, contribution, significance, and belonging. Then, as you sit with the items under “out of my control” you might ask: “Is there anything I can make peace with? Let go of? Ask for help with?”
- Separate yourself from the experience. You are not defined by one change; you are a whole person with vast and diverse experiences. Yes, life changes can impact you greatly, and, you get to decide what each transition will mean for you. If it feels supportive, give yourself a gentle mental reminder of your wholeness. For instance, I use the phrase “I am not this experience.”
- Maintain self-care routines and rituals. While things are shifting in life, it can be helpful to rely on a small handful of self-care practices that ground and support you. For instance, I try to take a long walk– 30-60 minutes per day, most days, no matter where I am. This helps me feel most like myself, whether I am traveling, going through a loss, or embarking on a new project. What is on your go-to self-care list?
- Focus on resilience. Each change will bring with it some level of discomfort. As you meet this discomfort and learn new parts of yourself, you are getting stronger and wiser. I invite you to notice the quality of your heart as you consider this idea.
- Ask for help. Friends, you have a support system for a reason, and times of transition and change may call for extra love and care. Each transition is a chance to connect with yourself and your community.
- Celebrate growth. Through each and every change, you are making progress. Isn’t this inspiring?! Pat yourself on the back, call a friend, journal, make a social media post, buy yourself a donut, or find another way to honor your growth.
- Reflect on your own unique journey. Pause regularly to notice how far you have come. Perhaps you do this nightly or weekly or after a big challenge. Regardless, slow down to acknowledge the distance you’ve traveled.
- Connect with community. It can help to reach out to other folks who have gone through a similar change. This can be formal or informal. Ideas include the following: support groups, group therapy, FB groups, podcasts, IG accounts, MeetUps, lunches with friends, and calling a loved one.
Embracing Change as Self-Love
Without change, we would be stuck, stagnant, bored, regressing, and uninspired. I’m not saying that going through multiple job changes, going to therapy, starting a business, and deciding to be sober was easy. However, change is an important and potent part of life.
It is my hope that these 10 ways of embracing change support you in cultivating love and appreciation for yourself and your journey. You are worth it.