Cycling through Change

Are you tired of having to deal with change?  It seems a week doesn’t go by without being asked to adapt to something new—a boss, an updated computer program or a new group of contenders on Dancing With the Stars.

Life comes at us pretty darned fast.

Whether the change in front of you is positive or negative, it will undoubtedly activate within you some unpleasant feelings.

First of all, change is an interruption and interruptions tend to annoy us. We haven’t allowed time for this change, it takes us from a routine with which we are familiar and, adding insult to injury, it requires us to learn something new! (Remember graduating from school and thinking, with that childlike innocence, “Finally! I’m done. I don’t have to learn one more thing!”?)

Having to learn something new activates a feeling most of us avoid like the plague. That feeling is vulnerability.  The kissing cousin of fear, vulnerability seems somehow worse:  it strikes at the core of who we believe ourselves to be.  It makes us feel small and dependant, like a child.

vul-ner-a-ble >adj. 1a. Not protected against harm or injury. b. Susceptible to attack; assailable. c. Easily affected or hurt, as by criticism.

Feeling vulnerable does not evoke your “A” game, that’s for sure.  More likely, it causes you to react—a chemical effect induced by adrenalin that triggers the ancient “fight or flight” instinct.

So we say things like, “People hate change,” when the reality is that it’s not the change itself that makes us cringe, it’s the feeling of vulnerability it induces.

When change occurs it causes us to fret, “Can I adapt this time? Am I capable?  What if this is the one time I really can’t do what they expect of me?”

For some, getting to the other side of the initial reaction to change happens rapidly.  These evolved beings cycle through change like Lance Armstrong up a 10-degree hill. When change strikes, they take the hit to the solar plexus and briefly panic. For a while they feel anger and a desire to punch something. Then their rational mind starts to wrest control, reminding them of how good they are at handling these sorts of situations, pointing out ways in which this could work to their advantage and coaxing them away from reaction and into response.

How are these mere mortals able to process changes so quickly?  They have learned how to manage their focus.

The Law of Attraction says that you get more of what you focus on.  Your emotions are the strongest indicator of whether you are focused on something that will please you.  When you react to change, your focus is on any number of things, none of them positive. The longer you linger in the awful feeling of vulnerability, the more strongly you are attracting circumstances that will prove that you are, indeed, vulnerable.

Self-talk is the quickest technique to managing your focus. It’s negative self-talk that sparked your feelings of vulnerability and caused you to react.  It is positive self-talk that will move you into respond mode.  Moving from react to respond is an indication that your point of attraction is moving toward things that will please you and away from things that will not.

If you’re interested in becoming more like those who quickly cycle through the negative part of change to get to the “goodies,” then practicing soothing and positive self-talk is definitely the way to go. You will feel vulnerable for shorter periods of time, adapt more quickly to our rapidly changing world and, as a bonus, you may even learn to like some of the new batch of Dancing with the Starts contestants.

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