Adaptability Makes Change Flow Smoothly
Life changes. People come and people go. Friendships blossom. Some seem to bloom and grow while others wither and die; often inexplicably.
Perhaps we’re changing and fail to see it. Or maybe circumstances change. We move, or find a new interest, or find alternatives when a place or event becomes unavailable. Maybe it’s simply a life event; births, deaths, marriages, new jobs, big moves. We all experience them, like it or no. The only way to avoid change is to wall ourselves up in a cave and never come out. Even so, we’d change as we age, alone and cut off from the rest of the world.
Change is inevitable. We have two choices: adapt or fight it. Most of us, by the time we reach adulthood, have discovered the futility of fighting it. We’ve probably exhausted ourselves fruitlessly on more than one occasion trying to hold onto something which has served its time. But letting go and opening ourselves up to new possibilities is hard. It’s scary.
Like it or Not, We Must Move Out of Our Comfort Zone
Stepping out into the unknown; leaving our comfort zone; allowing ourselves to be immersed in new things can be, for some, a frightening and daunting experience. The smart ones (and also the successful ones) learn to not only adapt, but to embrace those moments when you feel like you’re free-falling. They thrive on the adrenaline rush of not knowing how or where they’ll land, or even if the landing will be safe, or leave them broken and bruised.
For those people, a life without change is as frightening as it is for people for whom change is something to be avoided at all costs. They can’t imagine a life full of mind-numbing sameness where everything is predictable and expected.
Most of us, I believe, fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. We sometimes struggle to leave our cozy, predictable existence to try something new; a restaurant, a vacation spot, a new group of people. Yet when we do take a leap and broaden our horizons, we’re usually pleasantly surprised at the outcome, and thus, encouraged to spread our wings even further.
Adapting Doesn’t Have to be Complicated
For me it’s been as simple as going to new places to dance, and to dance differently than I’m used to. My typical hangouts provide a mix of two-step, line dances, couples dances, and a smattering of West Coast Swing and Nightclub Two-Step. I’m comfortable with the mix, and if I don’t get to do the occasional WCS or NC2, I’m not terribly disappointed. Those dances are not what draws me to a club or lately, someone’s in-home studio.
But as my options narrow and I start hanging with a younger, more adventurous crowd, I find my willingness to leave my comfort zone (especially since I have people willing to go with me) increasing. In fact, I’m often the one to suggest someplace new.
To my utter and complete surprise, I looked back at the last few weeks and realized I’d spent far less evenings alone than was my wont. I’d ventured further out, stayed later, and picked up a couple new tricks along the way. Though I’m not ready to go to the newer places alone yet, I suspect even the minor resistance will soon disappear, and I’ll find my way to the new venues whether alone or with friends.
Adapting Happens When We’re Not Even Looking
In short, I’m adapting. Circumstances have changed. Options have, at least temporarily disappeared, and the amount of dancing I get in a single night has lessened. I’ve convinced myself more nights will bring me back up to my usual levels, and find it easier to win the argument when my brain tries going back into hermit mode.
Life does that. It gives and it takes away, forcing us to adjust to new circumstances whether we like it or not. Forcing us to grow into better, stronger versions of ourselves.
But there was a time I fought it, and fought it hard. I stayed tucked cozily inside myself, little realizing I’d locked myself in with some pretty voracious and unpleasant demons. They gnawed away at my guts, and I responded by becoming an angry, unpleasant human being. There came a point when I didn’t even like my own company.
Help Comes When We Need it Most
Even so, there were people who found me tolerable, and because they took the time to look beneath my crotchety surface, found something worth saving. Maybe they saw someone who reminded them of their former self. Maybe in our own broken way we created a support group, helping each other build the ladders out of our own pits of despair. Whatever the reasons, and however they found me, I’ll always be eternally grateful that the Universe saw fit to find people to help instead of giving up on me as a lost cause. I know I’d pretty much given up on myself by then.
So many people at one time or another find themselves in a place they neither want or know how to get out of. They convince themselves it’s the life they deserve and slog through each day with no real interest in anyone or anything. They spend their days at jobs they hate, and their nights in front of a computer or TV, disconnected from the world; disconnected from themselves.
Maybe life beat them down every time they stuck their nose out of their shell. Maybe they developed a misguided belief they didn’t deserve better. Or perhaps they simply feared what they didn’t know and couldn’t control. So they surround themselves with sameness, boring, destructive, stifling, and eventually, crumbling. Sameness can’t be maintained indefinitely so at some point it either falls apart, often devastatingly, or the person behind the self-made walls lives an illusion far-removed from reality.
Offering Gives Others a Choice, a Role in Their Own Lives
We can’t force others to adapt to change any more than others forced me. We can, however offer tools and support even if they’re rejected repeatedly. Like me, there will come a time when one of the tools resonates, and a willingness to at least try overcomes the fear of change.
The people who kept offering me tools in spite of my constant resistance are heroes in my eyes. They may not have changed the world, but they changed mine. We all have within us the ability to change a single person’s life for the better if we’re willing to accept their resistance and even rejection for awhile.
We can’t do it for the gratitude as that may never come. I know I never thanked the people who gave me my first leg up out of the darkness. We have to do it because it’s an integral part of our humanity. We’re not here to fix each other, only to fix ourselves; to be the best us we can be. But we can be there for those who are having trouble making the changes alone, and simply need a friendly face, a listening ear, a light in the darkness.
Will you be someone’s light?
Gratitude Isn’t Time-Sensitive
My gratitudes today are:
- I am grateful for the people who saw something in me worth saving.
- I am grateful for opportunities to pay it forward and offer someone else a tool they might need to escape their own darkness.
- I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, the bruises I’ve earned, the successes and the failures. They’ve made me stronger, more resilient, and more willing to adapt when my world gets turned upside down.
- I am grateful for friendship. They have changed over the years. Some have come, many have gone, but all have left me a better person.
- I am grateful for abundance; love, caring, compassion, friendship, joy, dancing, community, opportunities, inspiration, motivation, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.
And special thanks to Danae Thomas who offered me the first of many tools, and months of support to help me start climbing out of my own pit of despair.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward