Why Is Change So Difficult?

“Change is easy” said nobody, ever. Really that is not entirely true. Some changes are welcomed and bring excitement and joy, such as the arrival of a new baby. Some changes are unplanned and scary, such as the loss of a job or a sudden expense.And some changes are simply not what you want, such as the end of a marriage. As humans, we have the innate capacity to make change even more difficult. When we resist change, we discount our ability to handle difficult situations. The more we resist, the more we increase our frustration. That very frustration is what can trigger depression, anxiety, and even physical illness. So the question begs, how do we deal with change?

The answer is research, planning, and self-confidence. Begin by acknowledging how you are emotionally affected by the situation. Be honest with yourself and don’t be embarrassed to write it down, if needed. Then determine what you would like to get out of the change. For example, say you have a sudden, unexpected expenditure. Well, you might acknowledge feeling frightened and overwhelmed. Then you need to research. This may simply be looking at your own budget or you may go online for various answers to how other people have dealt with the same experience. Finally, come up with a plan. If you continue without some type of plan, you will increase your frustration and anxiety. A plan is a proactive way to deal with the problem. You may have to adjust the plan as you move through the change, but you definitely need a place to start. So, for the expenditure, you may decide to decrease your expenses, increase your income, or ask for a way to reduce the expense. Then you must work the plan.  This is where your self-confidence comes in. Have confidence in the fact that you were thoughtful about the situation, and you put together the best plan for you. This will allow you to have time away from the “change” in which you can experience happiness and joy. There will always be change, but there is no rule that says you have to let it consume you.

Why We Don’t Allow Ourselves Joy?

Helen Keller said, “Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” Yet, so often I encounter people who feel guilty about feelings of joy. Some common hurdles to joy include: 1. Feelings of guilt; the faulty thinking that for some reason you don’t deserve joy. This might be because you know others are struggling or because of messages given to you in the past. 2. Fear; the faulty fear that the minute you experience joy, it will be taken away, or worse yet; that you will be punished by something bad happening. 3. The belief that joy is not attainable, not really a true emotion that can be experienced. This usually occurs after years of pushing joy away because of reasons one and two.

So the truth about joy is that you need it in your life. And yes, it is okay to be joyful, even when you know others are struggling. In fact, your joy can actually lift others out of their struggle and demonstrate that there are better days ahead. And in the past you may have been joyful and experienced another person, who was not emotionally healthy, shoot you down for the simple fact of being happy. People who are struggling with their own demons will do this, and it hurts. It’s okay to recognize that they were wrong to do that and allow yourself to move on. Then there is fear, the fear that something bad will happen. Well, generally in life, bad things do happen. Joy actually safeguards you from losing yourself in worry and anxiety about what is around the next corner. Joy teaches you that even when bad things happen there are better days ahead. Joy strengthens you from within and builds resiliency. So please, open your heart and let joy in. The softness of a baby’s skin, the smell of Fall in the air, the overwhelming sound of a Gospel choir. Joy is waiting for you, right around the corner.

What’s So Scary about Anger?

I’ve worked with a lot of angry people in my life. And those that cross their path can testify that anger is scary. But in reality, anger is natural. You won’t live your life without a little bit of anger. What is scary about anger is how people deal with it, or the behaviors that it sparks. Here’s the truth about anger: anger is an emotion that is actually trying to protect you. Yes, that one emotion that can get us in so much trouble is actually working for you. Anger is a secondary emotion. It is a mask used to cover up something that is threatening us; for example, fear, humiliation, anxiety, even jealousy. And those emotions are the ones that make us feel vulnerable. And what do we do when we feel vulnerable, we protect ourselves.

So here are a couple of tips to take the scary out of anger. First, identify what is really going on. Are you frightened that someone might hurt your feelings? Do you fear rejection? Are you embarrassed by someone’s behavior, thinking it might reflect on you? Once you know what is actually going on allow yourself a moment of vulnerability. Yes, it may be scary, but have the confidence that you can deal with the situation in a calm and reasonable manner. Communicate your feelings and look for ways to resolve the issue. If you find yourself becoming heated and filled with anger, take a step back. Give yourself time to calm down, and then readdress the issue. Again, identify the true emotion, acknowledge your vulnerability, and address the problem. Keep at it and a whole new world of self-actualization will open up to you!