Talk about a heavy subject. At least, it is for me. I feel every one of the steps so emotionally in my core for every change that happens. Even if I picked that change. Planned for it. Made it happen. It's a very emotional and very exhausting process for me. I always feel better when I see the end or start the healing part. But it's heavy stuff.
In school recently we learned about the 7 stages of personal change.
1. Emotional Standstill – Immediately I detach emotionally from the situation. Shut it down.
2. Denial – Can you believe it's happening? I can't. It's not possible.
3. Anger – How did this happen? What was I thinking? Who did this? Why?
4. Helplessness – There's nothing I can do to control it anymore. I'm the victim. Neutral.
5. Bottoming Out – This is the breakdown part. Tears.
6. Experimenting – Maybe this isn't so bad. I might be able to make it through this.
7. Completion – The new beginning. The sun shines again.
Of course, it starts with an ending. And it ends with the beginning. Regression during the process is normal and, I think, essential to healing and moving forward.
Even baby steps are progress.
The books says that some people are tempted to think they should passively let the steps happen to them. This is dangerous. While the process is a natural progression, we still need to maintain control of our destiny. Knowing what the steps are is helpful, but the process does require some effort on our part. And ultimately, if we are paying attention and being mindful, we can control how fast or slow we travel through the process.
The book also listed 6 steps for dealing with change. They are a bit more broad and are helpful for dealing with large and small changes.
1. Recognize and understand the change.
2. Make the decision to accept or reject the change.
3. Choose the attitude you are going to have toward the change.
4. Choose the style that you are going to use to deal with the change.
5. Choose the action that you are going to take every day.
6. Review the steps and evaluate your progress daily.
I like this set because it puts more emphasis on your choice. You choose if you accept the change. You choose the attitude you have toward the change. You choose the action you take. You. Choose.
Change is hard. Any change is hard. And it doesn't go away. There isn't one change, or one season of change, and then it goes away never to happen again. Nope. If only we were so lucky. Change is part of being human. Part of living and loving and losing and moving and learning and breathing. It's as sure as death and taxes. And laundry. The only way to battle through is to examine your attitude and make the proper adjustments, take the first step and hold on tight.
You aren't the victim. You are the agent.