How to Navigate Painful Changes.
First things first, this might be extremely challenging if you’re not used to it, but consider the possibility that you’re actually a good person, that you did nothing wrong, and that you’re totally okay as and where you are right now.
Take away the extra pressure of thinking the world is against you and that you’ll never make it, whatever that means anyway, and that life’s unfair, and take a deep breath. Feel the difference?
Especially in times of upheaval, of confusion or despair, treating yourself with kindness and taking extra-good care of you is essential.
Beating yourself up only multiplies your freak-out rate and intensifies the miserable feeling of not-enough-ness. It robs you of opportunities to collect yourself and think clearly to come up with new ideas where old (re)solutions didn’t work.
Once you stop fighting against yourself, once you drop the resistance, you can start to acknowledge what is.
Usually a situation goes away if it’s taught you what you needed to learn. Humans are stubborn by default, and programmed to seek comfort, so chances are, we try to push the discomfort away, want it gone, without really paying attention to what it’s showing you.
Here’s something else to ponder: the mind is an incredible thing, you can control and manipulate it. We try this with events, people, the news, but rarely do we apply it to our thoughts.
Instead of focusing on all the bad things you perceive, that are undeniably there and true (Are you sure? Really? Or are you just skilled in bending and manipulating reality? Hint: you definitely are, so you might as well do it for your own good and stop your psychic self-harming), change your perspective and look how far you’ve come!
You’ve fought many battles, you’ve come a long way, no playing small here!
Now view the changes that lie ahead of you. But don’t look at them like they become either successes, or if they don’t, you’ll die.
Why so serious? Are you someone who feels the rain, or do you just get wet?
A helpful way to approach change is to view it as an experiment, as an opportunity to grow and learn. And if it doesn’t work out the way you wanted, it was but an experiment that didn’t go as expected.
The pain of failure
Here’s the thing: you will fail and fuck up.
But you can choose a state and mindset of openness, you can try new things and different approaches, and commit to a vulnerable and curious pursuit of projects that are or might become dear to your heart.
Failure doesn’t mean you die. Even if it feels like it the very hot minute it happens, you’ll find that you’re still alive. We can take this even further: often the fear of failure occurs before we ‘do the thing’.
That’s the case for me, for example, with every article I write. It feels like a little death. It has its roots in my strict upbringing, and there’s still that sting of potentially being rejected, judged, disapproved of.
But I keep doing my thing and accept the little deaths that come with it. I do this because I want to grow, I want to learn more, become more me (or rather un-become everything that isn’t me).
Growth never happens in comfort zones.
My knowledge, insights, and skills didn’t rain from glitter-filled clouds from the night skies while angels sang me to sleep. What shaped me were the painful experiences, things that I endured and overcame, and sometimes literally survived.
Pain can be very cathartic and humbling.
I know it was for me. And it was profoundly transformative.
The thing is, I didn’t get stuck in the pain for longer than necessary. Okay, in the beginning I might well have.
I think it’s part of the process, like its own legitimate stage of becoming capable of carrying the weight and responsibility of a mature soul.
It’s like a state of defiant, sometimes raging, grieving. As the magnificence of your soul unfolds more and more, you’ll feel ready to move on.
You’ll learn to handle pain and struggle without getting stuck there too long.
So pain is inevitable, and it doesn’t feel great. But keep this in mind: by staying stuck in your comfort zone, being miserable, frustrated, or at least incredibly bored and stagnant, you also create a painful experience.
You might as well come out, come alive, and take the hand that the Universe is offering you.
Bonus: you’re not alone.
There’s support and inspiration and help available in so many forms — family, friends, colleagues, podcasts, books, YouTube channels, coaches, therapists, meetups, retreats, networks, classes, online courses, the list goes on.
What you need is connection and purpose.
If you don’t have that, you get depressed sooner or later.
So, if you don’t have that and you don’t want to get trapped in some dark place (or want to finally get out of there), it’s time for an experiment.
You can start small.
Who can you have a vulnerable conversation with?
What would give your life more meaning?
What does it take for you to feel alive (cheating allowed: you can go back to one of the most wonderful moments of your life — where were you, who were you with, what did you do?)?
What is something new that you could try this month, this week, or even today?
If something feels particularly uncomfortable, embrace it, offer it some cookies and milk (or whiskey and cigars). Listen to what it has to say, hear it out without judgment. Let it be.
That’s the opposite of the instinctual reaction of contracting, trying to push it away.
And this is pretty much the essence of what it means to disobey: going against the usual protocol and standards, sometimes even your own. The effects will surprise you.
Lina Boldt is a coach and writer. She has a Ninja-warrior survival record, and can often be found in the thick of deep transformational work, which made her gain quite some expertise in breakdowns and breakthroughs. Her current mission is all about surrender, and she can’t live without chocolate. You can connect with her via her website or Facebook, where she also hosts a ‘Disobey with grace’ group.