Monday, 4 January 2016
Change is inevitable
We tend to wait for the start of a new year to make new resolutions because it symbolizes new beginnings. None of us ever wake up on a Tuesday or Wednesday (or any other day) of the month with the same feeling for renewal. We feel about renewal on New Year's day exactly the same as we feel about ourselves on our birth date. Nothing compares to the feelings of anticipated excitement (or uncertainty) on the days prior to that specific date and the actual day of our birth. It’s magical. We feel empowered, special and just so very, very significant on that day.
Sadly, none of our resolutions really last for more than a few days or weeks into the new year. Our resolutions are metamorphic; what we initially wanted to change and what eventually does change can be seen as a subtle process – we hardly ever notice the transition. If our resolutions dissolve within hours, days or weeks, we shouldn’t feel weak. It’s not a lack of willpower that prevents our resolutions from materialising. The actual problem is that we’re trying to bring about change incorrectly.
We can only initiate exterior change once we have made inner changes. We need to change our pattern of thinking first before we can change any habits or our lifestyle. If we want to change our mind, we need to get used to the new perspective and this takes time. We cannot decide on the 28th of December that we’re going to change from the first day of January.
Changing our mind is very complicated because we are constantly bombarded with information and change, in our environment and the world. Very few of us really like change. We tend to become comfortable with what we know and just the thought of change brings a measure of anxiety and stress. Change requires ‘effort’ on our part to adapt. Because we are rigid in our thoughts, we first shun the idea of change before we accept it. With the start of a new year, we impulsively and excitedly think or say things without really understanding what these changes will entail.
Change is inevitable. Each day of our life we experience some form of change and, more often than not, we have absolutely no control over it. Any change that we experience creates emotional fluctuations. Our emotions can be likened to the desert landscape, which is prone to change when the winds shift the dunes and form new sand formations. Any changes we experience are emotionally challenging because all the fixed points that we know seem to disappear, leaving us disoriented and insecure. Disorientation and a lack of security bring fear. We become nostalgic about what we had, especially when the change we experienced was radical. For example, the loss of employment, divorce or death in the family can impact our lives dramatically. For many of us it becomes difficult to let go. And if we don’t let go, it becomes difficult to move forward.
In the midst of change, we have to find our own unique way towards a new ‘comfort zone’. Everyone experiences change differently, and, in our attempts to cope and move forward to betterment and safety, we find ourselves on a solo journey. The key to success on this journey is to make sure that we connect with someone we can trust. While we travel alone, experiencing life in our own unique way, we still need to share our experiences, and discuss our thoughts, emotions and self-revelations so that we don’t end up repressing them.
Life is unpredictable. We cannot understand, own or control it. The only thing we can do is strengthen our mind and our heart. We can gain knowledge of the world and everything in it. We can read about other people and their experiences. We are not the first people ever to experience change. Many people before us have suffered loss, pain and trauma, and many people after us will suffer the same. We can look at their stories and coping strategies, and through this become aware of what life can throw at us. We can imitate their attitudes or strategies, but in the end, we need to do what must be done to survive the onslaught of life happening to us and around us.