Life Changes – and surviving them! My story

If you are a Scot – you are about to experience a big change and I hope whatever the result of the referendum it turns out to be the best for you.

Many of the clients that come to see me in the clinic bring problems relating to dealing with big life changes of one kind or another.   I, myself have had to learn how to adjust to children leaving home, the death of my husband, a major relocation, becoming a grandmother, a new relationship and re-starting my business in a new area – to name but a few.  This week I have helped a 30 year old woman to come to terms with a recent divorce and a 50 year old man to cope with a redundancy from work.

Some changes are sad and some are happy.   But whatever the change, the truth is that change itself, positive or not can be challenging.  Whatever your age, changes certainly force you to find new ways of functioning in the world and often how you see yourself.

So what can we do to help ourselves through, with as little pain as possible and as much of a positive attitude as we can?   Everyone wants to move away from bad feelings and towards good ones!  Having a positive goal to work towards is very helpful. Many people spend ages thinking about what they haven’t got and can’t do and forget to get excited about what they can or do have and what they do want.   That is a sure fire way of feeling down!   Even if you can’t imagine the specifics of what life is going to be like in future, focusing on building something happy for your future is important.  Feeling hopeful is a very comforting and encouraging feeling.

When I was struggling with a huge list of massive change that all hit me in quick succession I was very grateful to have my NLP skills.   But it took more than ‘skills’ to get me through.

I had to learn how to deal with a hugely different set of circumstances – I kept thinking about the fact that it is a process rather than a static situation and knowing that helped me to focus on the knowledge that even if my life wasn’t the way I wanted it right now, and even though I couldn’t imagine exactly how my future was going to pan out, life would change and that is a guaranteed fact!

I kept reminding myself that even though I couldn’t imagine how it would all turn out, that just told me about my imagination and not the reality about my future.

And I knew that importantly I needed to keep making sure I was going in the right direction at least!

I did know I wanted to feel safer, happier, stronger, more connected.   I also knew that opportunities for improvement would come my way from time to time and I wanted to be in the right state to notice them and make the most of them.   So I checked in with myself regularly to make sure I was doing the things that fed me and those qualities of life and avoiding,  where possible, things that depleted me.   I also kept an eye on whether this week I was in a better state than last week.   It was a bumpy ride and some weeks weren’t better than the one before but I kept regrouping and facing forward again.

Richard Bandler pointed out that “happiness isn’t the prize you get from running away from pain”.   It is the reward for deliberately aiming yourself towards what you want!  So every little improvement, no matter how small, was something I did my best to value.

Sometimes it is all about just getting used to the new way, and so I allowed myself time to get more familiar and comfortable with my changed life and kept reminding myself that one day I would look back on that time so full of change and challenge and I wanted to be looking back and feeling proud of how I had dealt with it.   I was not a patient person in those days but I learnt to be more patient.   I had to!

But now, I can honestly say I got through the hardest part of those days and I know I really did my best.  I hope I am a better person in some ways as a result of that time.   I am certainly a very different person!   And going through it myself has helped me to be much more in tune with helping others as they face times of change which is a silver lining for sure.

As I am so often in the position of helping people with their challenging changes, I would be very interested indeed to hear about how you have dealt with yours.   If you are willing to share your experiences below, my guess is that someone somewhere might be grateful to you for your honesty as whatever helped get you through, even if it was just being patient, may be just what they need to hear right now to help them too.

Whatever happens in the referendum on whether Scotland is going to separate out from being part of the UK, there will be many for whom that is a happy change and many for whom it is not.

My wish and prayer for all of you living North of ‘the border’ is that you will manage the change with grace and generosity and that you will find your way to make the very best of all the changes that are about to ensue for you.

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