Sometimes change can be so difficult that we find ourselves doubled over in pain. Tears flow uncontrollably, and the pain is so intense that we just want to wake up from the nightmare we are experiencing and find that life is the same as it was before things changed.
These moments are especially challenging when the grief we are experiencing is a result of our own decision to make a major change in our lives. Sometimes we can wake up from the nightmare if we simply compromise our decision or settle into a life that gives us little or no joy. But, a painless life is a joyless life. As I wrote previously in It’s a Wonderful, Hard Life, “To live a full life, avoiding pain and grief is as self-defeating as avoiding joy.” An inspirational life of change and growth comes with a package of pain and joy.
It is natural to want to avoid experiencing moments doubled over in pain. It is less natural to want to change things we are accustomed to and comfortable with even when those things drain joy from our lives. So, it makes sense that so many of us go through life settling for less than what we truly desire. This is what keeps people in unrewarding careers, in abusive relationships, etc. The pain of change usually appears much greater than the subtle, sometimes life-draining, forces of comfortable pain.
How to Face Painful Change
Here are a few tips to remaining strong while facing painful change.
- Allow yourself to cry. Fighting off tears can be stressful and can distort our view of the world. Tears have a cleansing power. They help us see things more clearly. Crying moves us through the grief process and lessens the pain in the end.
- Spend time with supportive people. Spending time with someone who supports our decision, whether they agree with it or not, helps keep us strong. Sharing grief and tears with someone we trust makes the pain much more bearable.
- Pray and meditate. Through prayer and meditation we are sharing our grief with God and gaining clarity and direction which, in turn, helps us know we are making the right decision.
- Trust your decision. No one knows the life you want for yourself better than you do. No one can discover God’s will for you but you. Friends and loved ones can offer ideas and opinions which may help and guide you, but in the end, your opinion is what matters most.
To read more about how I dealt with the pain and joy of change by letting go of drug addiction and embracing a clean and spiritual life, see my post, Letting Go and Embracing Change.