This year, so far, one of my closest friends had a baby, one got a divorce, one moved to Asia, and two resigned from their jobs to start their own businesses.
I. Freakin’. Love. Change.
At age 32, I’m in my second marriage, third career, and fifth country of residence. I gravitate toward people with wide and varied life experiences and know that change makes you stronger, better, more interesting.
It makes your life full. You don’t need to have gone through any of the above changes in order to have experienced change because if you look back at your life so far, you’ll see more change than you probably realise.
Anyone who has ever read “Who Moved My Cheese?” will know the importance of adapting to change, especially change created against our will. This includes careers, relationships, living circumstances and, as the years pass, even just ‘the times.’ These changes are inevitable, whether or not we like we like them.
Today I’m focusing on the change that we generate. Driving positive change in our lives. Taking risks. Shaking things up. Believe it or not, change is our biggest teacher. It is our examiner. Sometimes it feels like our enemy. But in retrospect, it is often one of the biggest loves of our lives.
Here are five ways that change kicks our butt (and why that’s awesome)!
1. We See Things Differently
Routines allow us to go through life without thinking too much. Change forces us to look at things with fresh sight.
Think about when you are on holiday — the architecture, daylight, menus, people — they’re all different. It brings us into the present moment and it’s like we actually see things again. When I moved to Manhattan, I was in awe of all of the cultural and physical differences — from the constant sirens to the 24-hour restaurants to all of the vibrant, colourful, outspoken people. When I have visitors, I love to see things from their eyes and hear them comment on all of the things that they notice. It makes it all new to me again in those moments.
We don’t feel this way on our daily commute to work or buying coffee from the same barista every morning for 11 years.
2. We Have a Beginner’s Mind
This is a concept in Zen Buddhism, referring to having an attitude of openness when experiencing anything for the first time. Only something unfamiliar can invoke this. In a new situation, we have no preconceptions and simply come back to who we truly are.
When was the last time you did or saw something for the first time? I ask myself this often, and when it has been a while, I get ready to book a plane ticket, try a beginners language/cooking/dance class, or even jump on a train to a place I’ve never been before!
3. We are Vulnerable
Change allows us to remember that we don’t know it all, and we don’t have all the answers. Surprisingly, everything still works out OK, doesn’t it? Being vulnerable does not mean that we are not safe. In fact, there is great honesty in this openness. It helps push us forward in our lives. We think, what else is out there? And, if I went through this and survived, what else could I survive?
4. We are Humble
New experiences remove our ego. Humility is much closer to our higher self, our best self. It is on this level that we connect to our source, make clearer decisions, and some awesome inner work can take place.
5. We are Grateful
Change can remind us of how much we have. Starting a new business venture or having the courage to leave an unhappy relationship can remind us that we are more resilient than we understand. Or it might highlight the real, supportive and loving friends and family that care about us, no matter what. When we go through change, we value what remains constant. It is a chance to remember that we are capable and whole. We also are reminded that we are much stronger than we think!
It’s a beautiful thing to be grateful for your own strength.
Change is liberating, healing, and just plain unavoidable. The more we welcome it, the more profoundly positive its impact on us can be. Through enduring and embracing change, we kick a–! It’s best to adopt this truth sooner rather than later, as more change in life is always guaranteed.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh said it best:
Only in growth, reform, and change, paradoxically enough, is true security to be found.