It probably comes as no surprise that (as somebody else has said) the only constant in the universe is change! Those changes affect every aspect of our lives, and the older I get the more I think that it would be nice if we could just slow the pace a little. On the macro level it might be the first anniversary of the Pathways to Change initiative or the final signing of the new contract for the provision of teaching here at RAAF STT (Royal Australian Air Force, School of Technical Training.) On a more personal level it might be a change in living arrangements (marriage or separation), the birth of a child or the final moving out of your youngest child. These changes will continue to happen, and none of us are immune to their affects. So what can we do to cope better? Out of my own struggle here are 6 suggestions in no particular order:
- Self awareness! It is imperative that you know who you are and what you believe. Yes that also means being honest about your strengths and weaknesses and being realistic about your hopes and dreams.
- Confidence! Refuse to be threatened by the changes you see around you. We all seem to have an inbuilt fear of change, but when we confront that fear head on, and break down those impossible tasks into bite sized pieces we know we can do it.
- Clear goals! Don’t wait for someone else to impose a future on you, take some initiative to develop your own vision for the future. Recognise what new skills you may need to learn and what old habits you may need to break and start work on them before you are forced to.
- Outward focus! Our tendency when we feel threatened by all the changes around us is to become paralysed and inward looking. Compassion for others in their struggles will help you to see your own in better perspective and help you to feel better. Applaud the success of others, give something to someone who needs it today – even if it is just a smile!
- Consistent and Persistent! The people who cope with change best are those have bought into that change and convinced themselves of the benefits and refuse to allow minor setbacks to stop them. They may not break speed records but they keep on keeping on.
- Calmness and Serenity! In order to keep moving forward through change you need to be like a cyclone, allow the storm to rage around you but maintain a calm centre. For me, that involves making time to meditate, to intentionally step back and reassess where we have come from as well as where we are going.
Each of us have the power to make a difference, but that will only happen if we seek to work with change and not against it. Change is a constant in our world, and if you are struggling to cope, maybe it is time get some help. As I pondered all that I was reminded of this:
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
Don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen to God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
He’s the one who will keep you on track.”
(Proverbs 3:5-6 The Message)
Chaplain Ian S Whitley