We are creatures of habit. We like to sleep on the same side of the bed, eat the same breakfast, and have a generally consistent day-to-day routine. However, it’s often in moments of discomfort or breaks in the norm that we’re encouraged to learn and grow. What initially feels like a moment of awkward vulnerability can turn into an opportunity to discover something new about ourselves and our world. We might even unearth a new skill or passion that was previously hidden. Let’s explore some of the many reasons why we should embrace, rather than resist, change.
Resisting change limits growth.
Heraclitus is known for saying, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river, and he’s not the same man.” And we agree. Just like a flowing river, change is a constant and continuous aspect of life that should be welcomed rather than resisted. If we’re preoccupied with putting down boulders to block the flow of change, we risk boxing ourselves in and limiting our own potential. By extension, we also restrict nourishment to plants and creatures downstream that rely on the water to survive. Instead, by embracing change and recognizing that life is always in a state of flux—we will find ourselves (and those who rely on us) stronger, braver, and better because of it.
Even Peter Pan had to grow up eventually.
Sometimes it requires more work to stay the same than to allow change to happen. Growth might be temporarily uncomfortable—the caterpillar curls up in a cramped cocoon before becoming a butterfly—but it’s a natural and necessary stage of life. Think about it, even if you love picking your kids’ clothes out—you ultimately want them to learn these skills for themselves, right? Likely, they will struggle and get frustrated when trying to get their shoes on the correct feet, but eventually, you’ll both benefit from their newfound independence. In time, they’ll feel empowered and excited about their new skill.
Start with small changes.
We understand that change can be difficult, and we’re not suggesting that you dye your hair purple or make any drastic moves overnight. But the more you practice making even small changes, the more comfortable you’ll become with them. Here are a few changes you might warm up with.
- Pick up a new book. If you normally read fiction novels, challenge yourself to pick up a non-fiction personal development book (bonus points if it’s about embracing change).
- Try out a different coffee shop. Maybe you’ll run into an old friend or meet a new contact while you’re there.
- Take a different route home. Even if you get lost, you’ll have expanded your horizons and might discover something new about your neighborhood in the process.
- Say “yes” to something you would have normally said “no” to, such as going to hear a band you’ve never heard of. Even if you don’t know the music, you may discover a new genre that you love.
Allow time to process the changes.
As we’ve already noted, change is challenging. But with a few strategies in place, dealing with new developments doesn’t have to be so difficult—especially if you allow yourself the space to process the transitions as they come.
- Journaling: Writing about your experience with change will help you to name your challenges and work through them more deliberately.
- Swimming: Swimming laps has been shown to improve mental health, and it enables you to tune everything out and focus on your thoughts. Bonus: You’ll lower stress levels while getting a great workout in the process.
- Talking to a friend: There’s nothing better than getting together with a trusted friend when processing new experiences. Ask them to just listen, rather than chime in with advice, and then do the same for them.
Ultimately, let change equal opportunity. While a loved one moving or you starting a new career path might feel sad or intense, these moments also open areas to take on new leadership roles, meet new people, and make new memories. And no matter how many changes come your way, your values and morals will remain a constant that you can always count on. With a new mindset toward metamorphoses, don’t be surprised when you emerge from your cocoon and start to fly!