IAs much as you plan and hold out hope that your life will be “perfect,” we all know that won’t be the case. Life is going to throw you curveballs, and put giant potholes in your way. We all at one time had a path from A to B in mind. It led to the most perfect of lives. You had your dream job, married your real life Prince Charming and had the white picket fence with 2.5 kids. But that’s not the way life goes. Everytime you think you are on the right path you hit a big pothole that completely changes your trajectory. So what do you do now?
While you are doing your best to just put the pieces back together. Someone undoubtedly says something like “When life gives you lemons you should make lemonade!” Or my personal favorite, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle!” Not because they are trying to be mean. But because they really think they might help you somehow. They don’t think about, or know, how many times we’ve heard those same sentiments; worse that on some days those words put them at risk for a punch straight to the throat. But we have to remember that it’s okay to not alway be okay.
There are no less than a million ways for someone, with or without, a chronic illness to deal with a major life change. Some will wallow for a while and throw themselves the most ultimate pity party. While others become so depressed they want to give up. Then there are those who pretend like all is fine and no one would ever know anything was happening. But honestly there is no right way to deal with major life change. The only “right way” is the way that suits you best, and helps you deal with the issues at hand.
When life throws you that unexpected curveball you are bound to learn a few things about yourself and others.
Four Lessons learned from life change
- Your body can, and will adapt to anything that is thrown your way – In the middle of a big life change it feels like you will never adapt. Like you’ll never be able to accept what has happened. But the human body and mind are amazing, especially when it comes to adapting. As you begin to live your new normal your body slowly begins to adjust. Over time you will naturally find solutions to the problems at hand. Given your body won’t find you a new job, drive your car on it’s own or miraculously cure chronic pain. But it will adapt. If you were to lose your sight your body will begin to adapt by strengthening your remaining senses. It will be a slow process but you will eventually adapt to your new normal.
- There is never shame in showing your emotions – When your life changes and big things happen it’s only normally to feel many feelings. In fact you may run the gamut from excited to depressed and back again. And that’s just fine. When you experience something like a life-altering medical diagnosis or the loss of something important in your life. It is totally normal to experience the entire grieving cycle. It’s important as you experience each emotion that you allow yourself to do just that. Experience each emotion. If you try and stifle your emotions or hide them it may very well take you longer to get over whatever has happened. That being said it is fine to throw yourself a pity party and allow yourself to wallow for a short time. But you have to move past that and experience all the other stages of grief as well.
- You aren’t alone in what you are going through- When something big happens whether it be a divorce or a life-altering medical diagnosis. It is easy to feel like you are on an island all alone. Like no one can or ever will be able to understand what you are going through. Even though that couldn’t be further from the truth. It always feels like you are the first and even the only person to ever experience what you are walking through. When you start to feel that way it is important for you to remember that there are many people in fact who can relate. There are others who can show you empathy. Even though your close family and friends may not totally understand exactly what you are walking through. They can often give you a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear. It’s also important to remember that there are also millions of support groups options out there. Groups where you can find lots of people going through very similar situations.
- It’s important to take time for self-reflection – one of the most important steps in dealing with any big change is taking time for self reflection. Doing so allows you to sit in your feelings and really think about how you are feeling and why. These are opportunities to sit quietly all alone and check in with ourselves while also taking time to meditate, or journal. Journaling often allows us to have an outlet for our feelings. It is often easier to write about how we feel than it is to speak about our feelings to someone else.
Change is hard universally. For the most part it isn’t something we really look forward to, even though it’s a part of life. But it is going to happen. No matter how prepared for life we are, we are likely to never be well prepared for change. We can plan and prepare for almost everything except for change.
Something very beautiful happens to people when their world has fallen apart: A humility. A nobility. A higher intelligence emerges at just the point when our knees hit the floor – Marianne Williamson