by Janet M. Shlaes, Ph.D.
Living in a dynamic world, the only constant is change. Change can be internally or externally generated, i.e., you change or the world changes. Either way, change requires making choices, essentially the primary choice regarding staying put in the present, regressing to the past or moving forward. Perhaps, like me, you find this reality a bit unsettling from time to time. Each mode of choosing has both positive and negative aspects, so how does one decide which option to pursue?
To add to the challenge of change, all change includes loss and loss is not fun. Loss can include people, places, things, finances or former identities. How and what we choose when confronted with change determines the trajectory of our life path. Every choice counts; being stuck in not choosing ultimately is a choice that can negatively impact your life. Most individuals have a characteristic pattern of choosing that is some version of being proactive or reactive. A significant benefit of a proactive approach includes time, the time to step back and consider what is authentically important to you, what you value and what you want to bring into your life. A proactive approach requires the capacity to sit with feelings elicited by a specific change. Although a reactive approach may lessen your initial anxiety or discomfort regarding change, it ultimately adds to your stress via the creation of increased negative effects from being reactive.
Change is the only constant in our dynamic world. How you move through the challenges of change will determine your outcomes and your relationship with change. Being proactive with regard to choosing actions when confronting change can strategically and organically lead to desired outcomes. What is your characteristic pattern when faced with change? How will you choose when confronted with inevitable changes in your life?
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