by Sister Valerie Sweeney, SND
Do you know what is the ONE THING in life that we can always count on? CHANGE! Everything and everyone changes, and we can always count on that to happen. That may be a scary thought, but it is a reality. So it’s important for us to face change and embrace change when possible. If we don’t choose change, it will just happen to us. For the next few months I will use some thoughts from Lynn Levo, CSJ, to explore change and our responses to it.
The root of the word change means becoming. That gives it a more positive nuance, doesn’t it? We can GROW when we change. We can try new things and become new people. If we aren’t open to change, we end up denying it and resisting it, often feeling angry or victimized. A positive response to change leads to life, not death.
Change usually involves gains and losses. They often come together. If we want to gain a new job, we need to let go of our former role. If we choose to move to a new home, we vacate our previous one. That’s why change results in so many mixed feelings. We may feel happy, excited, anxious, fearful, eager, resistant. It’s important to celebrate the gains and grieve the losses that change brings.
There is a difference between change and transition. Change is situational and outside of us. Transition is psychological and internal. It’s the process we go through to come to terms with change. Change can happen quickly, but the transition process can take a long time.
What are some strategies we can use to help ourselves during times of change? First, be aware of it and acknowledge the impact the change is having on us. Journaling or talking to a friend or counselor can help with that. Second, practice self-care techniques such as getting enough sleep, eating nutritious food, exercising, and doing activities we enjoy. We can also look to a spiritual source of strength such as prayer, reading Scripture, meditating, or whatever else gives us inner strength.
Change is a part of life, but it’s not necessarily easy. Facing it with openness and knowing how to help ourselves through it make all the difference.