Nobody likes change let alone when it’s difficult.
Because we like things to stay the same. Staying the same is comfortable for us because we’re used to it even if it’s not perfect or even far from perfect.
So why do we put up with the imperfect life?
Because we know what:
- To expect if we don’t change anything.
- Is going to be difficult and we’ll be prepared for it and will have created a contingency plan around it.
- And, we’ll also have ready-made excuses or reasons, however logical or illogical they may sound as to why we can or can’t change life for something better.
What are the problems if we decide to change?
Managing difficult change will mean dwelling on thoughts, feelings, and behaviours we don’t like to think about because they will upset us especially when the change is difficult.
It can be hard getting used to a new train of thought, creating new feelings, and giving us different behaviours.
Something different even if it’s for the better will push us out of our comfort zone and into the unknown and the unknown is frightening.
Difficult change can make us feel very anxious, stressed, frustrated and even angry. We can often get similar feelings to those associated with a bereavement. Unfortunately, any significant change is going to also have some loss of attachment to it.
Loss of a good friend, family member, a loved one, or a job perhaps. Loss of how you were before. Loss of purpose and identity. With any of these losses, you’re likely to be going to go through the change cycle of change and loss for what you had before.
First Stage -Shock.
The shock that this is happening to you and the people you love and care about. Perhaps it is separation, divorce, redundancy, a diagnosis, or a disability for example. You may find yourself trying to find a reason why it’s happening and need an explanation.
Second Stage – Disbelief.
Shock can develop into disbelief can then move into frustration and anger and start questioning why. Why is it happening to me? Why now? What have I done to deserve this? Trying to find a reason when maybe it has just happened with no reason. You may also be taking yourself through a bargaining process of what ifs and should have beens.
Third Stage – Depression.
If we’re not careful we can go further down the change curve of loss into a state of depression. A state of falling within ourselves, becoming engrossed in our thoughts and feelings making it difficult to see another way out.
Fourth Stage – Realisation.
This is an ideal place to be heading towards. The stage of realisation, reasoning and looking for a way forward. Noticing that there is a more positive way through this change, finding answers and seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.
Fifth Stage – Normal.
This is the final stage of the change curve of grief and loss when you’re starting to feel normal again after everything you have been through. Normal may be different but you are starting to feel more comfortable with where you are at, begin more settled with your thoughts and feelings and surroundings.
How to manage difficult change.
When managing difficult change not everyone goes through this process. Some may have a variation of this. It is normal to swing from one to the other for a while depending on what’s going on in your day-to-day life and where you at with your coping mechanisms. Therefore it's important to remember it is okay and with time you will get to stage five of feeling normal, in whatever capacity this may be.
10 Ways you can get through the change curve of grief and loss more easily.
There are several things you can do to support yourself or other people through this very difficult time of change.
- Don’t expect too much of yourself.
- Don’t change too many things at a time starting with one day at a time.
- Take one step at a time.
- It’s okay to admit to the feelings you’re having.
- Remember you will have down days and it’s okay to cry if you want to.
- At the end of each day celebrate the little wins however small they might be.
- Remember these desperate feelings will change.
- At the end of the day think about how you want tomorrow to be.
- Find your support network that is forward-focused and knows how to listen and comfort you.
- Even though life may be hectic right now make time to have some quiet time to recalibrate your thoughts, learning to acknowledge and accept them for what they are.
Amongst all the difficult thoughts and feelings that you’re going through it’s important to remember that they are yours and are real to you. Unfortunately, your friends and family, however close they may be to you, don’t always know the intensity of your feelings. These feelings may be locked inside your head and can be difficult to express. Even so, it’s important to try so that you can get the support you need to help you move forward through this difficult time and start ending sadness so that you can restore happiness after a difficult change in your life.