I’m sure you’ve heard this statement before: No one likes change. Alright, that statement may not be 100% true for everyone (some people love change). But when life changes suddenly — and in a negative way — it’s a difficult for most people. So if and when you find yourself in the midst of a sudden life change, remember these 11 things:
1. The only thing that is constant about life is change.
You can’t escape it. No one can. Life happens. People die every day, and their loved ones are left to mourn the loss and go on with life. People get fired every day. They have to learn to deal with their sudden financial losses and find a way to regain their security. Break-ups and divorces happen all the time too. But wallowing in your misery about it won’t help. At some point, we all just need to remember that change is inevitable. But how we deal with change is optional. So make it positive.
2. You’re not alone — everyone goes through changes.
I’m sure it feels like you are alone, but you’re not. There are probably thousands or millions of people out there going through a similar experience right at this moment. Even if you had the most horrific things happen to you, like being diagnosed with a terminal illness or having a loved one pass away suddenly, there are people who have been though it and survived. If you keep that at the forefront of your mind, it might give you some peace.
3. Feeling confused or upset is normal.
When life changes suddenly, you probably want to scream, shout, curse and plead with God. All you want is for life to go back to “normal.” You want your “old life” back. You would probably do anything to have that. But remember, these feelings are part of the grieving process. To NOT feel any of these emotions would not be normal. And to repress the feelings is not healthy. It can do physical damage to your body and mind.
4. The haze you are in now will eventually lift.
Like I said, you might be thinking that life will never be normal again. Well, it will never be the “old normal,” but you will learn to create a “new normal.” One of my grandfather’s favorite sayings was, “You can get used to anything — even hanging if you hang long enough.” While that might be a crude yet humorous quotation, it makes a point. Humans are enduring. We’re built for survival, so the haze will eventually go away. Maybe not as soon as you want it to, but it will eventually disappear.
5. Do some self-reflection and look at the change as a life lesson.
If you are religious or spiritual, you can look at life through a lens of a spiritual lesson. Even if you’re not, you can still use negative experiences to figure yourself out learn to grow as a person. I think absolutely everything that happens to us can be seen as a learning opportunity. But you have to train your mind to think along those lines first.
6. Focus on and appreciate what you do have left.
When my dad passed away, it was awful. Anyone who has lost a loved one knows how horrible it is. You feel like your world is crumbling down around you. However, as sad as it was to lose him, I was comforted by knowing that my mom and stepmom were still alive. And my sisters. And friends. And other family members. Focusing on who or what you do have left brings a little bit more peace to you during those difficult times.
7. You need to make the choice to keep going.
You might want to just never get out of bed again. You might think your life is over. But guess what? It isn’t. Life goes on. The world keeps turning. And if you “check out” of life, everyone else just keeps moving on. So you need to make the conscious choice to get out of bed, put one foot in front of the other, and keep walking through life. Don’t give up. It’s a choice. It’s not an easy one, but it’s still your choice.
8. Ask for help.
Hopefully you have a network of family and friends who can help you. I know a lot of people who like to be strong and don’t like to ask for help. But being strong doesn’t mean that you don’t ask for help. Being strong means that you DO ask for help. If you don’t, it just makes you feel more isolated. Most people like to help others. So give them the opportunity to spread their love and kindness to you. Open your heart and your mind and let people in.
9. Just because things are bad now, doesn’t mean you can’t be happy again.
The best thing someone said to me after my dad’s funeral was, “You never get over it. You just get used to it.” I had never thought of it like that before. But it’s true. We never get over the loss of a loved one. But if your sudden life change is something like the loss of a job, divorce or a health problem, you will find a way to “get used to it” too. Sometimes you have no choice. So the only choice you really have is to choose how you are going to respond to what happens to you.
10. Eventually, things will become clear to you.
Someday, you will look back and know why it all happened. Here’s an example from my life: I was fired, once. There — I said it. Okay, I wasn’t really fired because I did anything wrong, I just got let go. And at the time, I was confused. I didn’t know what to do next. But if that hadn’t happened, I would not have ended up in the career I am in now, which I love. I am a big believer in “everything happens for a reason.” Even if it’s a negative life change, there might be a reason why it happened. Again, it could be another life lesson.
11. You need to mentally prepare for the next life change.
Hopefully your next life change won’t be sudden or tragic. It could simply be graduating from college, having your children move out of your home, or retirement. All of those changes are predictable and you can prepare for them years in advance. But the sudden life changes are different. Not that sudden life changes are as common, but if you mentally accept the fact that they can happen at any time, then you will definitely appreciate what you have right now.
Change doesn’t have to be bad. It can lead to something greater than where you are now. Even horrible changes can eventually be turned into something positive. So if you’re going through a sudden life change, remember these 11 things and hopefully you will get through it with ease and grace.
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