It was an ordinary morning. I woke up and started my day as I usually do: by opening the Pinterest app. That’s when I saw it. My eyes widened in horror as I stared at the screen. And I cried out.
“WHAT HAPPENED TO THE NAVIGATION BAR?!”
Yo this is exactly how I react to change.
Well, I don’t say those exact words all the time. But I do cry out and act either scandalized or utterly horrified. As if I witnessed someone play the violin like it’s a guitar or eat Oreos with the cookie before the cream.
Change sucks, okay?
And I’m willing to bet many of us fear change far more than an alien invasion and a zombie apocalypse combined.
This is because we humans like some semblance of consistency.
Our brains expect things to stay the same. It prefers to know the outcome of something, rather than dive into the unknown. And changes bring about SOO many things we don’t know. So whenever we encounter change, we’d be hesitant and worried and surprised.
And there would probably be a sprinkle of panic. Or five.
So how can you cope with change?
How to Deal with Changes in a Non-freaking-out Way
Vent about it to Someone
I used to vent all my issues out into the world but I now find that venting only to a few of my closest friends work better for me. And look, I’m not saying venting out into the world is wrong. Certainly not. If that’s how you want to let out all the stress and awful feeling that comes with dealing with change, by all means do it! The important thing is: you’re letting it out of your system. Because sometimes the best way to move forward is to allow yourself time to feel bad.
And when you speak out what has been bothering you, someone’s bound to hear you and console you. Perhaps even give you a word of advice. Even a show of empathy can be enough to make you feel better.
Keep a Routine
Okay, before anything, I’m just gonna keep it clear that keeping a routine while facing changes is not necessarily the same as running away from change.
Running away from change is not facing change. At. All. It’s like trying to swim against the currents. It’s a stubborn and very stressful effort. I should know, I’ve done it dozens of times before. It always ended up with me giving up in exhaustion.
Running away from change is denying the very existence of change.
Keeping a routine, on the other hand, simply means you’re giving yourself an anchor. That amidst experiencing a big uncontrollable change happening in your life, you are focusing more of your energy on the little things you do have control over.
When I moved to a new city for college, I kept to my usual routine of breakfast, go to school, go home, eat dinner and sleep. And on weekends I would read books – and I eventually started a blog. Having a simple routine like that made the transition to a new city much more bearable. While there were moments when I would be shookt over the new transportation system or how people say some stuff without the “l” part (don’t ask), I can find comfort over the fact that my simple routine remained.
Deliberately Change your Perspective
You know how when you’re taking a photo of something and you change the angle and suddenly it’s like you’re looking at a completely different thing?
Okay so changing your perspective isn’t as easy as that.
But the main thought is the same yo. And that’s why I said you have to do it deliberately. For instance, when facing a huge change, my default response would be, “Oh no. Whyyy?” (With the accompanying whine.) But lately I’ve been working on responding instead with a, “Oh okay. Let’s see how this goes.”
Notice how I’m not exactly thinking positively there?
Because my goal isn’t to be positive about changes (though, that’s not bad at all too!) My goal is to keep an open mind when facing one, rather than immediately brush off changes of any kind as something awful the way thirteen-year-old me would.
Another way for you to change your perspective on changes you’ll encounter is something I got from Lifehacker. They suggested seeing the changes happening to or around you as something like a software update or an evolution. As our needs and our problems and our environment change, so should our own operating system. Which brings me to…
Acknowledge that it’s Happening to You too
I notice that the changes happening to the people close to you – your family and your closest friends and peers – are the changes that are the most difficult to accept. I talked to one of my best friends last month and she told me how she didn’t feel comfortable with how everyone around her is changing.
I could understand because I’ve felt that too. It’s like standing by the sidewalk while the rest of the world passes by you in a blur. Everyone’s going to different directions while you stay stuck on where you stand. It makes you feel like you’re being left behind.
Then FOMO becomes too real.
Hearing this from another person and not just in my mind made me think long and hard about change. So I gently told her, “But you changed too, you know.”
It is often the change in ourselves that we don’t take notice immediately. Somehow, we assume we’re still the same person as we are, say, three years ago. But think about it: are we really?
As Dumbledore once said with complete wisdom, “Yes… and no.”
Some core part of me might have stayed the same all these years. But the way I see the world? And the way I interact with it? There’s a wee bit change in those.
I like to think of it this way:
The universe simply rearranged itself and so I rearranged myself too. Or maybe the universe grew and so I made myself grow too. It’s just Newton’s Third Law, you know. Somehow, knowing this, knowing that I’m changing too, it made the change I’m seeing in the world feel much more bearable.
Do you not like change? Are you currently going through some major changes? How do you cope with them? Share them below!
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Photo from Kaboompics