Sometimes when we are going through the stages of change, our negative emotions can get the best of us. Two of the big emotions we often feel are blame and shame.
When an unexpected change is thrust upon us, it is natural to want someone to blame. Sure, there is usually a person who delivers the “change” message, yet sometimes that person is nothing more than the messenger. Holding onto the belief that someone is to blame may make you feel better, although it will take you longer to move through the change process.
Another emotion people often feel when faced with a change is shame. Maybe you didn’t get the promotion, maybe the business didn’t succeed, or maybe that person wasn’t right for you after all.
Shame is a debilitating emotion. It serves no purpose whatsoever and needs to immediately be squelched. Remind yourself that you did the best you could under the circumstances. Learn from the experience. Simply refuse to feel shame. Replace the chatter in your head with positive language.
Your negative emotions do not have to get the best of you. Instead of feeling blame or shame, ask yourself what you have learned, and what will you do differently the next time.
There are three phases of change – letting go, transition, and starting anew.
The transition phase is the hardest because it is that ‘in between’ place where you have left behind the old and are uncertain about what the new will be. This is where you may feel vulnerable, anxious and in a state of flux.
Here are a few tips to help you find comfort and some semblance of control the next time you are in the transition phase of change:
- Do something that makes you feel in control. Choose a project that you can accomplish. Stick to it until you finish.
- Choose on one or two areas of your life that you can focus on to impact your future success.
- Think bigger and see yourself successful. Use your visualization skills to see your best outcome.
- Accept that this is an awkward stage. Give yourself grace and ask for patience from others in your life.
The transition phase of change can be difficult to navigate. Applying these few simple tips will help you to feel less vulnerable and uncertain, and more empowered and in control.
With change comes loss, even if the change is good. And loss must be grieved so you can leave the ‘old’ behind and move into the ‘new’ in a healthy way.
Most grief professionals agree that the grieving process consists of five stages that must be addressed in order to move on. The five stages are:
- Denial – Not accepting that it’s really happening.
- Bargaining – Believing that with negotiation or adjustment it can go back to the way it used to be.
- Anger – Feeling that the situation is “unfair”
- Sadness – Feeling lost, alone, or vulnerable.
- Acceptance – Realizing that things will not go back to the way they were, and it is time to move on.
When grieving a loss, you may move from one stage to the next and then back again. This is a normal part of the process. So when experiencing a change, do not resist the grieving process. Although at first it may not feel like grief is good, it does help you to close one chapter of your life so you can move on to the next.
Woohoo – it’s one of my favorite newsletters of the year. Our annual mid-year goal check-up.
Every July we send this activity out. It’s a worksheet that takes you through the process of evaluating your progress on your yearly goals.
We have it here for you as a pdf that you can print out. Do this right now – quickly before you forget, and schedule some time (around 30 minutes) to complete this.
It’s a sad fact that most of us spend more time planning a vacation than we do thinking about what truly matters – our goals, dreams, and ambitions. Step away from the crowd and make your life a priority.
As a bonus, I will provide free email support to coach you through your goals and further refine them when you complete the sheet and send it back to me.
It’s a simple fact that we want the things in our lives to remain familiar and stable. We strive to create routine in our lives, and make our world as predictable as possible. Routine and predictability make us feel safe, secure and in control.
Because of our desire for predictability, we can often be resistant to change. The status quo feels more comfortable and we are reluctant to stretch ourselves, do new things and take risks.
Oddly, even though we are so adverse to change, we are constantly in a state of change. Our bodies are changing, technology forces us to change, the people around us are changing, and our life circumstances are constantly changing.
Even the most courageous can feel some hesitancy at embracing a new identity or accepting a new challenge in our lives, especially if we are uncertain of how well we will survive or successfully navigate the change.
After all, no one wants to fail.
Next time you are faced with change, notice and acknowledge your resistance, and accept that it is a normal reaction – and that will help you to better manage it.
To your success and happiness