Resiliency: Weathering Life’s Storms

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Darwin

Resistance to change is the source of most people’s angst.  When you can’t change what is, when something you  didn’t want has been forced on you, when everything you’ve worked for has crashed, you have 2 choices: find a way to acquiesce to and allow what is,  or dig your heels in and resist. Of course, if you’ve been forced to retire, endured the death of a beloved spouse, been foreclosed on, lost a job or all your retirement money, that may sound like a pretty glib statement.  But ultimately we choose to allow what actually is moving forward, not saying “it’s okay”, but knowing that when changing back is impossible, the resilient moved forward into the unknown.

Oh, it doesn’t happen overnight.  The process of allowing oneself to be with the unknown, for an unknown period of time is resisted in a myriad of ways: use of substances, new unhealthy relationships, are two of the most common ways people try to assuage their grief.  It doesn’t help.  In fact, it postpones the inevitable.   Grief won’t go away; it returns until it’s done with you.

Everything in our culture send s the message that you can have anything you want anytime you want it.  So when we can’t change what we didn’t’ want to happen in the first place, it seems we’ve failed.  But quite the contrary; being able to weather life’s storms and come out ahead in new and perhaps unexpected ways is the hallmark of the resilient person.

Change is the behavior or observable outward sign that things are indeed different.   Change is the outcome, not the process by which it occurs.

Transition, on the other hand,  is the inner process that precedes any change with all the accompanying emotions that surround it.  Fear, anger, helplessness, as well as acceptance, peace and hopefulness, as well as a myriad of other emotions  may be part of this.  Transition is the reason that change does or does not occur.

Think about any change that you’ve made or that you’ve had to make, whether children are leaving home, you are changing jobs, starting a new exercise routine or moving.  At first, everything is foreign and unfamiliar.  You don’t know  anyone at your new job, your new exercise routine hasn’t shown any benefits early on, and a move to a new home is hard when you don’t know your neighbors, where to shop or where your friends will come from.  This is a  bit like being in an unknown land.  Many people quit early because they can’t weather the unfamiliarity.

But you have already weathered MANY changes in your life.  Write down some of the major changes you’ve made, or had to make.  Then think about how you coped through each of those changes.  What worked?  What didn’t work or was harmful?  What was missing for you, if anything?  Do you need a better support system?  Do you need to beef up yours self care?  What about tools to help you handle the change like journaling or a creative pursuit like painting drawing or dance that allows you to express what transcends words?

You already have some tools in your toolbox.  Resiliency is the ability to weather the storms in life.  You can always improve your resiliency and the best time to do that would be when you aren’t in the eye of the storm.  What has worked for you in times of change?

If you are facing change, I would be honored to be part of your transition.   Please contact me at info@marshabarnosky.com  to schedule a thirty minute session of exploration to see how transition coaching can benefit you.

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