We’ve likely all grumbled, at least a time or two, throughout our lives about change. It can be annoying, disastrous, mystifying, inexplicable and heartbreaking, but it can also be refreshing and pave the way for growth. Most importantly, change is a constant so that’s why learning to embrace it is a valuable strategy when trying to keep a positive and empowered outlook on life.
1. Change can make things better
Do you remember learning how to use your first cell phone? You had to figure out how to navigate back and forth through all the different screens. Your ringtone by default may have been atrocious, but finding the settings function was too hard to care so you just let it be. You paid for texting per individual message so you may have gotten mad when someone clueless got a hold of your number and kept bombarding your inbox. If you previously had a pager, maybe you were used to grabbing the portable device before leaving the house, but otherwise you might have continually left it on the front table when you hurried out the door. Even if you were good at remembering to bring your phone with you, you may have been terrible at remembering to turn the ring to silent so, unfortunately, everyone in your office was in the loop as to how many personal calls you were getting everyday. Learning how to use a cell phone may have been tricky for us old folks, but now we can’t even imagine how life could work without the whole world at our fingertips.
Technological advancements are great reminders as to why change can be a great thing. In many ways, life becomes easier and the gap between us and the unknown becomes smaller. Do you remember having to go to the library and open up an actual encyclopedia when you wanted to know an answer? Between 4G and Google, we now carry almost all of the world’s knowledge with us on a daily basis. Changes like these can be great, but you have to embrace the differences or else you’ll get lost in the shuffle and still be relying on your rotary phone to try to connect with an operator for phone directory information.
2. Change can keep life balanced
Even when change isn’t inherently better, your body and mind need a change of pace to keep things balanced. I love smoothies and drink one almost every morning, but if I were to make the same exact kind everyday for every meal, my body wouldn’t have access to the right set of nutrients, access that only results from eating a balanced diet filled with various types of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. We easily all understand this principle when it comes to eating healthy, but we may forget how it applies to life outside of dietary guidelines.
We know that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, but Jack would also be a dull boy if there was never any change in his world. The way that life ebbs and flows, bringing with it lows, highs and seemingly-random variations, helps keep things fair and endurable. Some days you’re having a spinach salad for dinner with no hope of even a dressing while other days you get to splurge and enjoy the biggest chocolate cupcake you’ve ever seen. Because you know some days are going to be a struggle but other days are going to bring great rewards, you can learn to embrace the natural ups and downs in life with faith that the best is still to come.
3. Change can keep life interesting
Sometimes you just need a breath of fresh air to blow through life to keep things from getting stale. When I was in elementary school and my sister was in high school, my family ended up moving around a lot. I was too young to care, but she hated having to go from one place to the next. She felt like she had left all her best friends behind and then just when she was about to make some new friends in our new town, we would end up moving again. By the time I got to be ten, we ended up settling down in one area until the time I left for college. During middle school and high school, I remember just itching for our family to move again since we had been in one place for so long. Nothing was bad about where we were, but I just wanted some change.
We easily all get that itch for something to be different every now and then so you might as well just embrace the change that naturally comes in life and turn that difference into something fantastic. When life gives us lemons, we’re supposed to turn them into lemonade–and even if you think that adage is silly, the principle has merit. Change keeps things fresh and vibrant, helping you to see each day a little differently.
4. Change can pave the way for growth and learning
The kinds of changes we tend to be most afraid of are the ones that have the potential to make our lives completely different such as the death of a family member, a bad breakup, losing your job or developing a chronic illness. In those times, the simple making-lemonade adage can obviously provide insufficient consolation for the difficult experience you’re called to endure. Hard times will come for each of us, but they can help us learn to appreciate what we’ve been blessed with and learn how to grow. During a particularly miserable time, we probably have all wondered if we could even make it through the rough patch ahead. Looking back, you learned how strong and resilient you really are.
Although we may not be able to fully embrace loss and hardships, we can still learn from those experiences and become better people as a consequence of having made it through such tragedies. Joseph B. Wirthlin, one of my favorite spiritual leaders, spoke on the topic of “Come What May, and Love It,” a line his mother used to tell him. When discussing sorrow-filled days, he pointed out that even though we won’t love certain times, our reaction to adversity is the important factor that determines how successful we will be in life because great growth is a precursor to great happiness. We embrace change because being forced to grow and adapt enables us to become better and stronger individuals.
5. Change is inevitable and out of your control
Why should we learn not to curse change whenever it unexpectedly comes our way? Whether you want it to happen or not, change will come and that’s out of our control. We can waste our days yearning for what might have been or we can pick up the pieces and go forward. When situations are out of your control, you’ll be happier moving along rather than standing still.