Change is Inevitable, Change is Necessary, and Change is GOOD!

In coaching midlife women, I’m learning so much about the power of change. Whether change happens to us, or is chosen by us, change can be the starting point of miracles happening in our lives.

Terry Neil wrote, “Change is a door that can only be opened from the inside.”

Many years ago, in the throes of some very significant life changes, I first read those words. Prior to reading this I hadn’t given change much thought. Change was something that “just happened” and when it did, it was up to me to do my best to adapt to it, much like we do to the changing seasons and weather. After all, what other choice do we have?

Change in our external world is constant and usually the changes that get our attention or cause trouble are the “bad” ones: our loved one is diagnosed with cancer, we lose our job, our marriage fails, our child rebels, our dog runs away. When we think of change as something outside of our control, something determined by external factors, then we see our own thoughts and actions as having little, if any, effect.

Often, people respond to unexpected change much the same way they respond to a crisis or a catastrophe. First, they try to flee (an inborn survival instinct tells us to “run away”) and if they can’t escape physically, then the very least they can do is distance themselves emotionally and mentally. They go into what’s commonly called “survival mode,” which is just another way to escape. They pretend, deny, avoid, and resist change by becoming passive and withdrawn, and eventually fully cut off from reality. They refuse to accept responsibility for events in their lives; embracing victim-hood and giving up all pretenses at active living.

In the Fourth Edition of Random House Webster’s Dictionary, there are multiple definitions for the word “change.” However, the two which intrigue me most are: “to make different” and “to become different.” Being my father’s daughter, I’m enthralled with words and their meaning, so I immediately looked up the words ‘make’ and ‘become.’

Under ‘make’ there was: “to create by shaping, to cause to exist or to happen, to force or compel, to cause someone or something to be as specified.” This sounded like the change with which I was very familiar. An external force causing or forcing something to happen…like it or not!

But under ‘become’ there was: “to come, change or grow to be.” Wow, isn’t that a whole new way of looking at change! Sounds much more like a choice, an opportunity, something desirable! As an avid gardener, I think that giving anything the chance to “grow to be”, is akin to “life”!

Through years of many, many changes, both good and bad, I’ve come to view change – both changes that happen to me and the ones I orchestrate – as all positive for my life. Even the most difficult changes I’ve experienced have created some incredibly positive results. Years ago, after my husband died, I began to think of downsizing. I envisioned a smaller home with fewer headaches, responsibilities and less expense to maintain. My daughters, however, saw themselves being ousted from the only home they’d ever known, and were not at all happy.

Eventually, despite the hard work necessary to make that change happen – all the packing, selling off of many personal belongings, the actual physical move, and all the work needed to turn this house into a comfortable home, the three of us received benefits we could not have foreseen. All the work before, during and after the move brought us closer together. And in the years since moving here we’ve continued to be closer – possibly because the living space requires us being closer – but I like to think that it’s because we created a bond during the gargantuan effort it took to close a 3-story, 5 bedroom house and move to these smaller quarters. Once we stopped focusing on what we were losing and what we didn’t like about moving, we were able to focus on the potential benefits and new opportunities.

That’s when I learned another very important lesson I try never to forget. Changes come to let us know it is time to grow. Once we frame change as opportunity, as possibility, as a GIFT…then the paradigm shifts. No longer is change something happening to us…we’re no longer an innocent victim of change…we’re now the master of our own ship. We control the rudder. We can trim the sails and slow our journey, or let them fully out to carry us rapidly forward.

Roseanne Cash said, “The key to change is to let go of fear.” By letting go of our fear we actually take control. We master the powerless feelings and make a conscious decision about how to face change head-on! Choosing to open the door to change from the INSIDE, rather than standing behind that door in fear, dreading what lies on the other side. By welcoming this new visitor at our door, we create a completely different experience for ourselves.

I felt empowered by the move to this house. It was not what I WOULD have chosen, had I been given the choice to have my husband live instead of die. But many things are beyond our control. I found that my true power lies in focusing on how to make change that happens TO ME, work FOR ME. Sure it takes hard work, and I often feel inadequate to the challenges that lie before me. But perfection is a myth. And life is nothing more than a series of new days dawning, new mountains to climb, new lessons to learn and new changes to embrace. Go ahead…open the door…and greet your next change with a hearty “Hello!”

If you are ready to be inspired, supported, motivated and encouraged to create a life to love, and to receive a FREE, 45 minute Coaching Consultation, I invite you to contact me at (856) 854-7393 or eileen@midlifeandmenopausecoach.com. I will get back to you promptly, usually within 24 hours.

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