“It isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions. Change is not the same as transition. Change is situational: the new site, the new boss, the new team roles, the new policy. Transition is the psychological process people go through to come to terms with the new situation. Change is external, transition is internal.”
“Most people do not resist change. What we resist is transition. Change is a situational shift. Transition, on the other hand, is the process of letting go of the way things used to be and then taking hold of the way they subsequently become. In between the letting go and the taking hold again, there is a chaotic but potentially creative “neutral zone” when things aren’t the old way, but aren’t really a new way yet either.” — William Bridges
Out of my own life experiences I have often said, change is easy, learning to live changed is hard. Today’s quote beautifully describes that time between making a change or a “situational shift” and when we finally figure out what to do with it.
Think about some of the major changes in your life and the periods of transition that followed:
- From single to married.
- From married back to single.
- From being healthy to living with a life altering illness.
- A lengthy period of illness followed by regained health.
- The death of a parent.
- The death of a child.
- From student to professional.
- Loss of a job.
- Weight loss or gain.
How could life be different if we started being gentle with ourselves when faced with life changes? What if instead of trying to rush through the turmoil and even grief that accompanies these sometimes life altering changes we allowed ourselves to begin the process of letting go of the way things used to be and then taking hold of the way they subsequently become.
Even major life changes that are happy ones require us to go through this transition period. As much as we might love our significant other, learning to live with another person has it’s difficult moments. Finally landing that job you spent years in school preparing for does not mean you don’t have to learn how to actually do that job in a real life situation. — You got the job, the school you went to taught you the theory of how to do it, but how does this employer want it done?
Life changes are part of life itself. To fight such changes is to ignore who you truly are: A living, breathing soul on a planet of other living souls all creative and desiring to express that creativity as best we can. However living on a planet with billions of creative beings who all have the ability to make planetary life changes for all us we must learn to be flexible in our own ability to accept change is essential.
The more people there are on this planet of creative people, the more rapid the changes in our lives become. This can create an experience which Alvin Toffler calls Future Shock in his 1984 book where he says the difficulty of changes in our life situation is its rapidity. In the first paragraph of this book he says:
“The acceleration of change in our time is, itself, an elemental force. This accelerative thrust has personal and psychological, as well as sociological, consequences.”
We all are subject to experiencing this “future shock” syndrome. I know I have experienced it often through my life. In fact this blog would not have ever existed had I not worked through the shock of the future telling me (in the form of my husband) that I would be left behind and stuck in the past if I did not get over my aversion to typing. Anyone have else have a very strict high school typing teacher who (unintentionally) managed to turn learning to type into a nightmare? Without typing, you can’t use the current internet system. Without the internet, I would have been stuck in the sea of the past.
So we must be willing and skilled in accepting change. It can be fun, adventurous, challenging and very beneficial. It is not necessarily losing the “good old days” simplicity of the past but rather an excitingly new adventure into a new future with new possibilities.
What are the challenges you are facing brought to you by the passage of time? Perhaps we can help one another with ways to learn how to cope with “future shock” and daily life changes.