Inward

by Barb Casper

Recently, I have been confronted with yet another life change. I thought I was prepared. I thought I had done everything possible to keep an old issue from rearing its ugly head. Instead, I find myself having to prepare for the unexpected, the unknown, and the unwanted. I have been feeling frustrated, angry, downright depleted of energy, and at odds and uncertain about tackling what lies ahead.

To help myself through this and, perhaps, anyone else who may be dealing with unexpected changes in their life, I thought it might be useful to let loose with pen in hand. Here’s what landed on the page after reflecting upon this re-occurring and unwanted life circumstance:

Change is inevitable, and yet we often approach it with trepidation. When a life event crops up that is unexpected, it can throw us for a loop.

It is human nature to seek out security and the positives in life. So we walk through the same doors over and over again. When upcoming life changes feel familiar and exciting, we know what to expect and we are comfortable with change.

However, most of us do not deal with unwelcome change with open arms. Instead, we keep the uncomfortable under lock and key, apply the deadbolt, and then chain the door shut making it impossible to prepare for what lies ahead. Often, we don’t even allow ourselves a peak hole. Houdini himself would be unable to escape the barriers we put up to avoid unwelcome change!

Unfortunately, being stuck in fear, worry, and insecurity when dealing with the unfamiliar doesn’t allow us to move forward. We lock the “difficult” doors within the inner recesses of our mind or save them to only open “when we are ready emotionally” thereby avoiding anything uncomfortable that may be waiting for us on the other side.

All of our lives we have been conditioned by others to be prepared for what lies ahead. Here are some idioms we have heard:

  1. Expect the worse and hope for the best;
  2. Be sure to save for a rainy day;
  3. Get your ducks in a row;
  4. There’s no time to lose;
  5. Your days are numbered;
  6. Take it as a sign of things to come;
  7. Get ahead of yourself;
  8. Live like there is no tomorrow; and
  9. If things don’t work out, there is always tomorrow.

Armed with these false notions, we believe we are prepared for life’s curve balls and have planned for every outcome. However, when our future becomes our present and life starts throwing fast balls, we may find ourselves sorely lacking for whatever may come our way.

The reality is we often prepare ourselves outwardly, doing whatever we have been told to meet difficult life circumstances. We spend very little time, however, preparing ourselves inwardly. Self-awareness, which comes after inward reflection, means being tuned into our emotions, thoughts, strengths, weaknesses and being aware of our innermost heart-felt desires.

Why We Avoid Change

Wanting it our way. If we believe what lies ahead is a path that will be extremely challenging and difficult, we are unlikely to take the first step and we end up right where we are. Instead, acknowledge the situation for what it is, recognize the need for control and then let it go. These actions will allow us to move forward.

Fear and anxiety paralyze us. Getting caught up in the emotions associated with change. Change the situations you can, let go of those you can’t. Acknowledge the emotions and then let them go. Relying on emotions alone to guide you on your path only serve to keep you behind door number one.

“All-or-nothing” thinking. Believing we are unable to live up to the challenge, we will fail. If we really want to change, one of the first things we have to do is take “all-or-nothing” off the table. Nothing in life is black and white. Sometimes we have to acknowledge that getting to the gray area, even 10% gray, is 10% further than nothing (white). We have to start somewhere and give ourselves credit for each accomplishment along the journey.

Neglecting resources – seek help if needed. We all need a toolbox of support to rely on during the long haul. Nothing changes in a vacuum. Ask and answer these questions of yourself: Who are you, what are your strengths, who are your social and spiritual supports, and what do you want out of life? Look within and know yourself. Let in your support systems to help you through change. After all, no man is an island. No man stands alone.

Trying to tackle everything at once. Commit to one thing at a time vs. trying to change everything in one fell swoop. This is a recipe for failure. It’s stressful enough to tackle one major change without taking on multiple difficulties all at once.

Believing change is simple. Everything is life is connected and believing in the notion “if we simply change just one thing, life will be golden.” That’s a sure-fire way to become discouraged and disappointed. Change is a process, forever present in life.

Failure is an excuse to stop trying. Failing is simply a stepping stone; a lesson to be learned on your journey. Failure teaches us what we can do differently the next time around. The journey and intended outcome becomes reality through experience.

Deep down, we don’t intend to change. Putting up a good front and simply saying or doing what others want to hear from us is meaningless. Change must be the intent and it must be heartfelt. Acceptance and doing what we feel is best for ourselves is always better than following the path others believe is best for you.

Only seeing the negative. Look for the blessing in every situation and accept the outcome. Often, we fail to honor and be thankful for the lessons learned despite the outcome.

“Change means we close the door to familiarity and open the door to uncertainty. That, my friends, can be scary stuff. On the flip side, what lies ahead may be a whole new world full of amazing opportunities and unfulfilled potential. Change begins by opening the door!” – Barb Casper

“As we journey inward we reflect our light outward.” Baron Baptiste

We need to go inward instead of outward and learn to trust our own inner guide, preserving our identity, and finding the answers from within. – Jane Fulton

“The inward journey is about finding your own fullness, something that no one else can take away.” Deepak Chopra

The next time you sense a strong emotion, take some time to put a finger on exactly what you are feeling. Get quiet, turn inward, and just listen. – Lisa Nichols

“To expand your mind is to go inward, to your soul center. Connect with your higher consciousness of self where you are limitless.” Anonymous


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