Change is a constant, just like death, we can not outrun it.
So often, we experience change through a negative veil. Quick to point out inadequacies and disappointment. It is curious that, given a choice, we often choose negativity.
Imagine if you could approach each new situation or person with excitement, anticipation, and openness. How might this change the dynamic and course of your life?
It is human nature to seek safety and comfort, moving towards the familiar even if it has negative consequences. This pull towards familiarity might be so strong that we perceive fault in people and circumstances just to create a sense of calm. In actuality, this approach creates stress and anxiety.
The first few days of each trimester, my daughters will complain about their classes; the teacher is “mean”, the content is “boring,” and they “don’t know anyone in the class.” I listen, acknowledge their concerns and then remind them of a favorite motto:
"Never create judgment around a person, job, or new situation for at least two months."
Invariably we revisited this class a few weeks later, and they have a very different perception. The teacher is fabulous, they have many new friends, and (maybe) the class is interesting!
Negative reactions and initial judgment come from a place of scarcity and fear. We judge others or circumstances because it is easier than admitting discomfort and connecting with emotion. Recognizing this tendency and creating a mindful practice will lessen the anxiety, stress, and confirmation bias you encounter.
I encourage you to actively acknowledge the discomfort and create space between what you are experiencing and your emotion. Permit yourself to become an observer only, living in the moment and experiencing things for only what they are. Void of bias, assumption, or judgment.
Think of a vast ocean and a boat moving and swaying gently and effortlessly with the tides. Rolling with the momentum and adjusting as the winds shift. In contrast, you are more apt to capsize when you try to over-manipulate a boat in a storm.
Guide your actions and thoughts rather than force them.
Life of Sailing notes: “Huge storms at sea are a requisite of fear and uncertainty. In most cases, it will sap morale, lead to poor decision-making, exhaust the crew members, and leave everyone in panic mode.”- sound familiar?
Harnessing the skill and strength to welcome change and approach it with curiosity and positivity is a worthy goal. You will not outrun change, but you can embrace the experience and inspire others along the way.
My Challenge to You:
As you approach a new situation, create intentionality and choose to remain open, curious, and positive from the onset.
Assume the best intent in others and maintain a positive mindset until proven otherwise.
If you feel yourself finding fault or comparing, take a moment to sit back, and reevaluate where these comments are rooted. What emotion drives the reaction (fear, discomfort, embarrassment)? Before you create a narrative or judgment, ask yourself, “Is this based in truth, and might there be another way to approach this situation.”