It really stinks when life throws you a curveball and really changes your path in life. The path you had dreamed about for years and suddenly it is no longer an option for you. So now what do you do? While you are trying to pick up the pieces someone will undoubtably tell you something like “When life gives you lemons you make lemonade.” Or “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!” Because they think it will help. Not knowing that saying those things are not helpful and in some cases puts them at risk for getting a punch straight to the throat!! Obvious there a million and one different way that a person with or without a chronic illness can deal with a major life change. Some will wallow, some will throw them self the ultimate pity party, others will become depressed or and some may give in or give up. But is there really a RIGHT way to deal with a life change?!
When your life changes in a spit second how you respond, your reaction and how you adapt to the situation and your new normal will teach you MANY key lessons about yourself. The following lessons are ones that you will learn as you adjust to your new life.
- It may not seem like it, but you and your body can adapt to anything – The human body and minds ability to adapt is truly amazing. As you begin to adapt to your new normal your body adjusts to an extent without you having to do much “teaching.” You will naturally find ways to solve the problems you now face. Your body will NOT find you a new job on its own, or drive a car without you. But if you lose your hearing your body will help to adapt by strengthening other sense. Those who are not open to change are the ones who will never adapt to their new normal.
- There is no shame in being emotional – When big things happen and life changes it’s only normal to feel some feelings of sadness. It’s also normal go through the whole grieving process from sadness to anger and all the feelings in between, because you are grieving the loss of something. Whether it be the loss of a career, the loss of a spouse, or whatever it may be in your case. It’s just fine to allow yourself to throw a giant pity party, but allowing yourself to wallow for more than that will make it hard for you to adapt to the changes you are dealing with.
- You are not alone – When you are going through something no matter what it may be, it always feels like you are the first and only person to have ever gone through that particular event. And you always feel like no one else will ever understand even if it’s something like a breakup, which nearly everyone has truly gone through. What you have to remember is that there are in fact others who can show you some empathy. Even if your close friends and family might not understand there are other people in support groups who can also show empathy. Especially if you have a new diagnosis groups of people online can be very helpful and you can find lots of empathy
- Take some time for self-reflection – One of the most important parts of dealing with life changing issues whether it be divorce, change in job/career, or major health changes, is to find time for some self-reflection. It is a quick and easy way to take a step back and look at what is going on and get centered. These are opportunities to check in with ourselves and take some time to practice reflective exercises, like meditating, yoga or journaling. All of which should be done during quiet time to get yourself together.
Change is never easy for anyone at any time. But it is going to happen. We can’t always be prepared so we have to learn how to adapt to change when it is thrown at us. I hope the four tips/ways I mentioned above will help a little the next time you have to deal with a change you weren’t prepared for.