Time for Change: Transitioning the unexpected

If you take control over those things you can, you are better able to negotiate the unexpected.

Judy Sheindlin

Seldom, we take the time to self-reflect and explore our emotional well-being during or after an unexpected change. Yet, prioritize self-awareness and self-leadership might be a game-changer on our well-being as we go through the process from distress to adaptation. 

One thing for sure is that any change is a transition and that the coping mechanisms are unique. Also, change, especially an unexpected one (sickness, death, change loss of employment, change of residence, a new baby), is as significant as we may perceive it to be. Therefore, there is always a degree of grief for what is about to be lost. And as in grief, sometimes we may feel numb and confuse, even in disbelief. Other moments, desperate to stop time and beat ourselves up or others for the unexpected change. We often feel stuck at rationalizing the idea to move forward, and on some other days, feel relieved and curious about what’s coming next. 

I recently experienced the unexpected change of moving out from my place of residence. My family and I didn’t plan the change nor see it coming. Therefore, plenty of new actions, decisions, emotions, and thoughts appeared on our radar from one day to another. Looking back, I can see the most challenging thing for me during that time was to reconcile the idea of “what just happened?” Several decisions had to be made quickly while my thoughts kept ruminating on my attachments. Every day, I found myself with two choices. Either to get stuck in a ruminating thought cycle. Separating myself from questioning my thoughts, contact with my feelings, and visualize possibilities. A giant judge who had a hard time getting back to reality. Or the choice to attend to my feelings, share my thoughts, and be willing to express gratitude from past experiences and new ones to come.

So here I am to share with you how I managed myself while managing the multiple changes that followed my most recent unexpected change

Imagine what could have changed if my beliefs around unexpected changes were different? Instead of looking at them as punishment, they could be rather a gift. Suppose that I would experience the unexpected at the moment as part of the contract I signed before birth. Is that even possible? What about if I signed it to have the experience to help me learn more about myself? Perhaps, the transition between before and after will connect me to my spiritual side, intuition, life purpose, connection to others, understanding of others, self-leadership, and place with the larger scheme of things.  

Such an idea allowed me to retake somehow the command I felt lost. It made me consider that unexpected changes help humans build perspective by managing challenges one at a time and supporting decision-making and emotional intelligence to overcome adversity. In addition, the shift in perception opened the door for self-inquiry. For example, I could interpret that anger, disappointment, and pain expressed how deeply I loved, enjoyed, and got attached to my previous happiness. In that sense, it also allowed me to see that if I built that happiness before, I would do it again somewhere else. So, did the challenge prepare me to stretch even when the transition period felt sometimes unfair and uncomfortable? Sure it did. 

I can tell you this. It was easy to search for a safety net on distraction, engaging on social media, TV shows, and work overload for some time. Still, these actions did not allow me to complete the changing cycle, which attended the emotional turmoil I felt inside. So, once I permitted to feel it all -grief, resentment, anger, sadness, melancholy. But also, experience the sense of awe, serenity, possibility, playfulness, and agency allowed me to flow with the change. 

Unexpected changes are part of life, whether we like it or not. Sometimes we can feel very excited, and sometimes an immense sorrow. However, we are the movie directors of our lives. At any moment, we decide if it is drama, a sitcom, or an inspiring documentary. We have the choice of how to perceive the unexpected change, experience it, and store the memory of it in our spirit, mind, and body. 

Below are a few actions that got me through the unexpected. See if they can help you or anyone you know passing for a similar experience. 

  • Give yourself time to reflect but not too much till you get to the point of rumination. Practice grounding techniques. Walk in nature, pray, meditate, ask for guidance and understanding. 
  • Listen to your body, to your intuition, to your feelings and thoughts. I belief rage, disappointment, pain is just the expression of how deeply we loved, enjoyed, and got attached with our previous happiness. Then is a waste of time to judge ourselves and declare what is happening is not important. 
  • Talk about it let people know what’s happened to you. You feel less isolated on your grief by sharing with other your emotions.
  • Express gratitude for what you are leaving behind and what you are about to experience. Recall your memories. The ones that empower you and fill you with joy, love, and hope. They are there to experience them all over again anywhere, anytime.  
  • Visualize your future to construct your present as you want it to be. Some people call it faith, others setting intentions.
  • Coach yourself. Be curious and do a lot of questions. Get open to explore your answers. Let the following question help you to move forward. Is there anything inspiring on this new prominent change in my life?

If you are already there, embrace the growth.


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