How do you handle challenging changes? Do they bowl you over and make you question whether you’ll survive?
If you answered yes, then you’ll benefit tremendously from understanding the process of change.
Knowing what’s happening doesn’t stop it from happening, but it can keep you grounded and help you feel secure in knowing the ultimate outcome.
No storm lasts forever. Not only because life changes—it’s guaranteed to—but because we change with change. Humans are incredibly adaptable and resilient, and given enough time we will emerge whole and healed.*
In the late 60’s, Elizabeth Kubler Ross, a Swiss-American Psychiatrist, wrote the seminal book “On Death and Dying.” Ross studied the emotional states and feelings of people facing terminal disease. She noted several stages of grief and acceptance. These stages often, but not always come in order and she noted that people can bounce between them before advancing.
Ross discovered that the stages of change are consistent among people regardless of the type of loss—including death, divorce, job loss, break-ups, financial ruin, addiction, rejection, infertility, and incarceration.
Here are the stages of change, depicted as a curve:
Think of a major unwanted change from your past. Can you see how you went through these stages?
Now that you understand the roadmap of change, empower yourself by detaching from any stage of the process. Observe and acknowledge your feelings, and know that you are not what you feel.
Your feelings during change are like the weather, they will come and go and while you may be completely saturated with them, you are not them. When the storms finally pass, the sun will shine and you’ll be renewed.
*I don’t want to diminish or ignore disorders like PTSD and others. they are beyond the scope of this article. If you’re suffering in this way, please seek professional help to help you heal.