If there’s one thing that I’ve learned over the past few years is that our ability to navigate change, uncertainty, and the resistance that comes with it has a big impact on our health, relationships, and fulfillment in life.
Because the only thing that is constant in life is the fact that things change. Knowing this, I often wonder why the Universe makes it SO difficult.
There are three things that become our superpowers if we want to change something in our life. But before I share what you CAN do, I’d like to suggest a few things that you should avoid doing.
Avoid having an affair, leaving a long-term relationship, getting a new job, moving to a new city, excessive buying, or any other action and impulse that you have that’s in response to the need to DO something or feel differently.
Why do we need to avoid taking action right away?
When we get this inner sense that something is missing in our life, we often lack clarity about what that something is. So, we often find ourselves changing things without really knowing what this inner longing is all about.
We think that by changing the outer circumstances of our lives, we’ll feel better. But, what often happens is that the same feelings and situations seem to arise in the new relationship, job, or place we’re living.
We need to change the stuff inside us first.
By focusing inside ourselves we’re able to create meaning around our life situation and can then make decisions that are in alignment with our deeper truths.
In the end, we may decide to leave the relationship or change the outer circumstances but we’ll be doing it in support of our future best self and not as a reaction to the present moment.
Three things you can do to prepare for your future best self
You get CALM. You get CONNECTED. You get COURAGE.
When we’re talking about getting “calm” it’s really about learning how to regulate our nervous system. When we’re in a perpetual state of “fight/flight/freeze” or in other words, stressed out, we are not able to see anything clearly.
We are physiologically in survival mode and in this mode our ability to gain clarity about what exactly we need to change in our life is limited.
It’s important to realize that there’s a difference between dealing with the effects of stress and dealing with the stressor itself.
For example, if you’re struggling in a bad relationship it’s important to become more physically and emotionally resilient before you attempt to deal with what needs to happen in the relationship.
Making changes in our lives, especially the big ones, requires that we do so from a place of being grounded and centered in our core truths about who we are and what we need.
Access to this level of insight and awareness requires a calm presence.
Calmness breeds clarity and clarity breeds alignment.
I created “a Beginner’s Guide to Meditation” to help with this first but vital step of getting calm. It begins with just 5-minutes a day. You can access the guide here.
After our nervous system is settled and we’re feeling calmer, we can connect with our bodies, minds, and hearts. The source of wisdom for what feels right for us and who we’re meant to become.
We are all born with this inner GPS that guides us in letting us know what feels right for us and what feels off.
Learning how to connect with ourselves in a noisy world is a real superpower.
Although we may find it helpful to seek guidance from others, at the end of the day it is our own inner guidance that knows what is right for us.
There are three questions that are powerful to ask yourself:
Who am I?
What is my heart’s desire?
How can I best love myself?
As you silently repeat these questions and then release them out to the Universe, you are planting powerful seeds of intention. The answers may come to you by way of signs, books, people, or messages.
In this way, you are connecting with yourself AND connecting with an intelligent Universe.
Now that we’re calm and connected, we’ll begin to get messages from our inner voice about what the next step is in moving towards the desired change.
Many of us feel that we need to have it all figured out before we get started. But, the truth is we just need to take one small baby step at a time.
As you think about taking that one baby step, be prepared for resistance.
There is nothing about change that feels comfortable. As soon as you begin to even think about making some changes, your body and mind will react and set off the warning signs-signaling danger.
When you’re prepared for this resistance, you can assure yourself that it’s “normal” and not a sign that you’re not supposed to change.
As N.R. Narayana Murthy reminds us,
Growth is painful. Change is painful. But, nothing is as painful as staying stuck where you do not belong.
This is where the “courage” comes in.
Just like building new muscles at the gym feels uncomfortable, growing into a new way of “being” feels uncomfortable.
It doesn’t matter if the change involves beginning to use your voice in relationships, setting healthy boundaries, getting a new job, letting go of trying to control things, inviting someone out on a date, or sharing your feelings- it is going to feel uncomfortable.
Having navigated some significant changes and the dark night of the soul, I now know that the level of happiness and contentment in our lives is directly related to our ability to find the courage and manage the discomfort.
Because if we don’t learn how to navigate the changes that life requires of us we will not thrive. This failure to thrive often looks like health issues, emotional challenges, and relationship troubles.
When we learn how to get calm, connected, and find the courage to take action that aligns with our souls, we really begin to shine in our lives.
Inner peace is not something we find, rather it’s what we become when we learn how to regulate our nervous systems and deal
(Original post-October 2015, Updated May 20, 2020)