I like to change, but I don't like change. Huh?
We all want to change our lives but we don't want our lives to change. Huh?
Let me explain. I like to improve myself through change in order to become a better person, but when it comes to things in my life that I have no control over and that I am used to being a certain way, I do not embrace change at all.
Certain changes like children growing up, people moving away, friendships that end, having to relocate, losing a loved one...mostly those inevitable changes that are part of life that we have no control over, are the things I have a hard time accepting.
The one thing we can't change is change. And the only thing that won't change is that life is always changing. Change is constant.
We all want to change our lives but we don't want our lives to change.
I am not a big fan of change. Sometimes I embrace it, but other times I resist it even when it's inevitable, and change is always inevitable.
Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher illustrated the point about change being ever present by saying, “No man ever steps into the same river twice”. An ever flowing river is there, yet the water in it keeps changing so that from one second to the next, it's not the same river.
What I know for sure is that everything in life is temporary. We tend to think that things will last forever. They won't. Nothing lasts forever. Each time I was pregnant I thought I would feel that way for the rest of my life. I didn't. Every time it rains, it stops. Every time you fall, you get up. Every time darkness comes, light follows. We are shown that every single morning, but still we often forget.
I have always said that if things are good right now, enjoy it. It won't last forever. If things are bad right now, endure it. It won't last forever either. When we remember all things (whether they be good or bad) are temporary in this life, we are able to feel more gratitude and less resistance. It helps us accept what is because we realize it is only temporary.
There are many things in life that are out of our control and we simply can't change no matter how much we desire to. Once we accept that we can't change them, we experience emotional freedom and peace.
“The pain that you create now is always some form of non-acceptance; some form of unconscious resistance to what is.” -Eckhart Tolle, author, The Power of Now
I heard a motivational speaker named Hal Elrod who was in a near fatal car accident talk about the power of acceptance. He was severely injured in the crash and told he would never walk again. He endured many long months of difficult therapy. During his recovery he became aware of the power of acceptance and realized there is no value in feeling bad about anything that he couldn’t change. He realized that all of his emotional pain (anger, regret, frustration, sadness, worry, etc.) came about only when he resisted something that he couldn’t change. He said, "To the degree that we wish or want something to be different that cannot be different, is the degree that we create pain for ourselves."
He says, "One day I was running late for work and sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Normally I would spend the entire drive feeling tense, frustrated, and wishing and wanting that traffic would move faster! But as soon as I began to feel myself getting upset, I said aloud, “Can’t Change It” and took a deep breath… realizing that I couldn’t change the fact that I was running late, couldn’t change the speed of the traffic, and I couldn’t control my manager’s response when I arrived late to work—but I COULD CHOOSE how I spent my time getting there—I chose to relax my tense shoulders, reflect for a moment on all that I had to be grateful for, and turn up the radio… What a better way to spend my time in traffic (and in life)!"
Maybe we can't change our circumstances, but we always have a choice in how we respond to those circumstances. We can either resist them, or accept them. It's a choice. Our choice. And the choice we make determines how we will experience life.
One of my heroes is Viktor Frankl who was a Holocaust survivor. He endured great suffering while a prisoner of a concentration camp. In his book Man's Search for Meaning, he stated, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” He also said, “When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
Just because our life isn't easy at the moment, doesn't mean we can't laugh and smile. Just because something isn't going exactly as we planned doesn't mean we can't still enjoy the things that are going right.
Every minute of every day we have a choice. We can accept and make the best of it. Or we can resist.
What I know for sure is our lives will be filled with things we have no control over and can't change. When we accept "it is what it is" and tell ourselves, "Can't Change It", we will be able to live our lives with much greater peace and happiness.