Do you resent changes initiated by someone else? I do!

We had the same office space for over 25 years. One day we were “offered” a chance to move. Another expanding company wanted our space. I hated the idea of moving and all the time and energy it would take. (Fortunately they were offering to cover the expenses because they wanted to break our lease agreement.)

However, we really had no choice, so we bit the bullet and moved our office home. It turned out to be one of the best changes we ever made. It was perfect for the stage of our professional life we didn’t even see coming. Without the outside impetus it would have taken much longer to move forward.

At the time, I was very unhappy about the situation.

Management guru Tom Peters says that in order to thrive in today’s world, we should all learn to love change. I don’t love it yet, but I think that I have finally learned to accept that change is inevitable. Since the world is moving and changing faster than it ever has before, we all need to find ways to respond and adapt to new conditions.

Sometimes we don’t want to recognize an approaching change. I have many clients who are totally surprised when a partner announces that he or she is leaving a relationship. The signs were there, but my client either didn’t notice them or pretended that they weren’t happening.

Facing an impending change can be frightening. You don’t want it to happen. You either don’t know what to do if it actually takes place, or you don’t like what you think you will need to do to cope with the change.

It feels easier to find something else to think about or do. I have used eating as a “something else.” Some people use shopping, others use smoking, drinking, cleaning, movies, TV, etc… What is your favorite?

A better strategy is to recognize when change is approaching and prepare yourself by acknowledging your feelings (angry? scared? sad? relieved? happy?) about the situation.

Sharing your thoughts and feelings with another person can be extremely helpful. So can writing about them in a journal. A caring listener can help affirm both your observations and your feelings.

Then think about what you would really like to do when this change actually happens. Enjoy your fantasies. They may range from taking an extended vacation to going back to school to learn an entirely new set of skills, or even to seeking revenge. All of your fantasies are just fine. Write them down, they contain the seeds of your new life options.

Next, start listing all options that occur to you. A friend or a brainstorming group can help here too. “Wishcraft,” by Barbara Sher, is one of my favorite books to help clients focus on taking charge of major life changes.

Start sorting your options. Some may be practical but feel wrong, others may feel wonderful but seem impossible. Keep playing with your list until your next step begins to emerge. A listener can help here, too.

Feeling discomfort and even turmoil is a natural part of the change process. Don’t be alarmed by it, but do get whatever support you need. When you take an active role in preparing for change, you have the option of creating a change that works for you.

Is this you? “I don’t need therapy, but I could use some advice about…”

[tags]Self Help, Self-Improvement, Personal Growth[/tags]