The more willing you are to explore and experiment and to try on new roles, behaviour and ways of thinking, the more options you will have to overcome challenges and embrace change, and the greater the benefit will be that you derive from the process! Change is always a challenge, propelling us out of our comfort zones.
For most of us it is accompanied by feelings of indecision, discomfort and in some cases, distress.
Discomfort is mostly seen as a negative emotion – but what would happen if it is regarded as a way to thrust you into action or propelling you forward?
The more success you experience in managing life change, the more your confidence increases and the more willing you become to expand your experiences even further, providing opportunities to apply new knowledge, behaviour and roles that will enable more variety, accomplishment and satisfaction.
If your past experience involves events where change posed serious threats to your emotional well-being, whether related to situational or personal factors, limiting beliefs or thought or behaviour patterns that did not support you, change becomes an overwhelming and sometimes even a devastating experience.
If you are confronted with demands for transformation, whether you are the driver of the process or whether it is imposed on you, leading to a level of tension that is uncomfortable, consider how you can take the steps to obtain the life or other skills that you need to overcome the limiting factors in the process.
It is a completely natural process to outgrow certain roles – and it is also natural to experience discomfort as you make the transition from one role or environment to another. When you reach a stage where you desire more than what is provided from a specific role, environment or situation you may experience frustration, dissatisfaction, anxiety or a host of other emotions.
Placing parts of your life into different compartments when you are facing difficulties in a specific context, may serve its purpose for a short period of time; sometimes it is even possible to ignore the problem for a while; however, eventually things catches up with you and you are forced to deal with it. Postponing action or decision usually increases tension and may also lead to a situation spiraling out of control.
In the short term it may be possible to “box” issues, but eventually they spill over into other areas of life. For instance, being trapped in a job wholly dissatisfying, without taking steps to improve the situation can be to the detriment of relationships, health, emotions and mental well-being.
You are a whole being and every role you take influences every other role and aspect of your life. In the same way emotions, behaviour, thoughts and beliefs will also influence the experience you have in terms of your identity, different roles, relationships and environments.
You may experience some or a whole lot of discomfort as you transition from one life or career role to another, whether the change is by choice or not. At the same time, don't forget to focus on the exhiliration as well! Excitement energises and motivates you to move forward boldly.
Exploring Personal Growth
There are also those changes of a more internal and personal nature that can be daunting: yearning to explore your identity in more depth, finding a new type of vocation, experiencing more connection in relationships, asking questions about your true purpose, the meaning of life, and so on. Nothing can beat the satisfaction of reaching your own answers and conclusions even if, on a mental level, you find the process difficult.
I often then hear the phrase “I feel stuck” – a person desiring change, but not knowing how to maneuver or what decision is the best at the time. And the question “why?” comes up more often than not, without asking the questions that have true value in realizing the outcomes desired. Asking why often results in feelings of remorse, depression and despair, rather than allowing your thoughts to consider new options and possibilities for growth. You could try asking "what if", "how about" and "what's the worst that could happen?" allowing your mind to explore possiblities in more depth than those questions that lead you to a deadlock.