Change is everywhere, whether we recognize it or not. Day turns into night, flowers bloom and wither, stocks rise and fall. We move houses, change jobs, meet new people, and shift our mindsets.
Change is a natural part of life but sometimes, especially in our intimate relationships, change can be a challenge.
Part of what makes change difficult is that most of us prefer certainty. We want to know that there is routine, that things will stay the same.
I want to know that my assistant will be at work on time, that the bus will stop at the corner at 8:30 every morning, that Safeway always carries the deodorant I prefer.
Consistency gives us a sense of stability, of reassurance.
Just as we have our coffee every morning, we come to expect people to be the same day after day, too, and when they shift, that can upset the status quo.
So the question then is, how do we give each other space to change?
Whether your loved one is transitioning in a job, graduating from college, following a new career path, been recently diagnosed with an illness or is coming more into him or herself, our job is to embrace theses changes and welcome them.
Here are a few ideas to make change more comfortable:
1. Right Mindset
Becoming aware of what is happening and recognizing it can help us move into a transition with more grace and ease. Holding onto old behaviors, habits or beliefs makes us feel rigid and reluctant to evolve.
Try to be open-minded about what's happening.
Look for the good, for the excitement, for the shedding that's taking place as the new unfolds. Things typically get worse before they get better. Think about it like painting a house. It will look great when it's done, but before then, it's a huge mess.
2. Make Room for Change
We have to give our loved ones space without judging them or making their transition about us. Sometimes when people evolve, the growing pains don't feel so nice. Be patient, talk about it, honor each other through the process.
Take time to be together in nurturing ways.
Change can be rocky. No one typically follows a clean and perfect trajectory. Change often takes place with fits and starts, one step forward and two steps back.
Shortly after launching my new business, after I'd rented office space, created a logo, business cards and set up a website, I got cold feet. Actually, I panicked and thought I should go back to my old job. I didn't.
Instead, I stayed with those uncomfortable feelings, recognizing that it was fear of change, fear of the new and I kept going anyway. During that shift, my spouse was supportive and encouraging and stuck with me through that tough transition.
3. Create a New Normal
Once the transition period is over, it's time to settle in. That's the new routine. The problem is that our egos love status quo so change is always upsetting to our personalities. It ruffles us and makes us feel threatened, uncomfortable or unsafe.
Knowing that we can create a new normal can help counteract that ego pushback, or as I call it, the "No response."
Be patient with yourself when you watch your desire to say "no" to change. Breathe and relax, and remind yourself that it's just change and change can be great.
See if these ideas open up some space to allow for change to flow more easily for you and within your relationships. When we honor or own evolution and that of our loved ones, life is much richer and fuller, and way more fun.