While the year has been a tumultuous one for many, as we come to the end of it we are reminded that challenges bring with them opportunities for growth. This though, can come as little comfort while we are in the middle of upheaval. With this in mind, 99FM’s MYD Heart spoke to Meditation Expert, Life Coach and Speaker, Melissa Mukaiwa, to find out what we can do to be better prepared to handle changes as they arrive.
Tools For Tackling Changes by Melissa Mukaiwa
Sometimes life sucks.
Beyond the gratitude journals, positivity post-its, that talk of silver-linings and all our many many “lessons” – the truth is at some point we’ve all found ourselves faced with the kind of challenges that leave us curled double, barely breathing and just generally shaking in our boots.
You know what I’m talking about….
It’s those unexpected betrayals. That sudden illness or disease, the turn in the market that heralds destitution, it’s the unforeseeable layoff or breakup that blindsides and has you wondering how did this happen? How did I get here? Why me? Why now? Why this?
On days like these it’s just eina. And the truth is that right then, in that moment there isn’t a single mantra, affirmation or quirky quotable that could ever make it any better.
So then what do we do?
Step 1: Cut The Cr*p
Though practicing positivity is undoubtedly powerful, pretending that you’re ok when you’re not ok, is NOT ok.
There’s a HUGE difference between doing the work to shifts one’s perspective into feeling better verses slapping a band-aid over a bullet wound and wondering why the feeling still festers.
If you feel bad, then feel bad – get help if you need to, but just make sure you give yourself enough time and space to process and express.
Step 2: Snap Out Of It!
There’s a point where “self-care” can turn into a kind of goal-undermining pity party and self-perpetuated victimhood.
Knowing where to draw the line between healthily expressing our emotions and slowly becoming a slave to them is somewhat of an art that’s best learned through personal experience, but here are a couple of signs that may suggest that it’s time to start moving forward in some way:
- You find yourself reliving the trauma of a particular change over and over and over again with no new insights or growth coming as a result.
- You obsess over questions that you know you’ll never get the answer to.
- You find yourself constantly day-dreaming about a different past or future that you know simply cannot happen given the change you’ve just been through.
- You begin to notice how focusing on this situation is seriously impacting other important parts of your life such as health, work, finances and relationships, in some very real and negative ways.
If you’re seeing any of these kinds of patterns, then I suggest that you begin the process of letting go by setting a specific goal to help you move forward.
Step 3: Get Support
Accountability is key. Having someone to hold your hand or cheer you on during those particularly painful moments, may be the difference between throwing in the towel and finally breaking through to everything you want and need.
It doesn’t matter whether it comes from your friend, community, coach, mentor or therapist, just make sure that you deliberately go out and find someone you trust who will help you do what you have to, especially in those moments when you really don’t want to.
Step 4: Develop a system
We humans are to a large extent an amalgamation of habits. That’s why change, even the kind that we want for ourselves, isn’t always the easiest thing to do.
That’s also why I’m such a big believer in systems.
Systems are the little hacks and rituals that will help you develop the new “thinking-doing-living” habits that are more likely to get you from where you are to where you say you want to be.
These daily non-negotiables will differ from person to person depending on their particular challenge or goal, but here are a couple that I think are absolute game-changers and that might help you regardless of what you’re going through:
- Meditate (Obviously)
- Move – dance, exercise, yoga and come alive.
- Take note of something good about your life – reflect on at least one event from the past 24 hours that you can appreciate.
- Forgive yourself and others for something you may still be carrying.
- Journal – old school, pen on paper, you’ll be amazed at what you learn.
Step 5: Rinse & Repeat
Moving through a difficult change is never a straight shot upwards. One day you may feel amazing only to find yourself slipping up and falling back into fear.
And that’s ok.
Whenever you do, simply recognise this as an indicator that it may be time to take a step back, re-evaluate, reset and reroute in some way. It’s a process…one that usually takes a bit of time.
We can’t always control the changes that comes into our lives but we can control how we choose to let them define us.
Really the most important thing is that you forgive quickly and continuously work on your capacity to, fail forward, fail better and never ever give up.
Find Melissa Mukaiwa’s website by clicking here