THE BEANBAG PSYCHOLOGIST 21
Keep The Change!
An old house that has forever stood at the end of the street has been replaced by a multi-storey apartment complex. Uh oh, unease. The affable elderly gentleman who sold stationery and soda pops at the small shop next to school retires and is replaced by someone else, unease. New neighbours, unease. Friend leaves school, or worse, the country, awful unease. Friend comes back with an accent and new ideas, well that’s tragic!
Some people really hate change! So much so that just mere contemplation of it can cause apprehension and anxiety. But why?
Change is a very effective reminder of how we are not in control of everything that happens to us. And that is OK! It is alright to not be able to control everyone and everything around you. It is a free world and no one should be controlled and manipulated to suit the needs of another. The point is, the kind of control that matters is the one you have over yourself and how you make change work for you!
It is true that a reasonably stable life without too much flux offers security. But when our living conditions change, such as when you have to move because of a parent’s job, a new sibling is about to enter the family or a family member falls sick, they signal the arrival of an important milestone in our lives. It can be quite anxiety provoking but how well we deal with such transitions determine how much stronger and well-adjusted we emerge.
When the change is self-initiated, like when you choose to shift to a new school, or take up a new extracurricular commitment, one would expect the transition or adaptation to be easy. But that may not always be the case. One would still need to deal with how different the actual situation is to how one had imagined in their mind. There may be a few challenges to overcome and few adjustments to be made to settle in. What makes the transition successful is staying committed to one’s decision and a dedication to have fun and learn more, no matter what!
In case of change which is externally imposed, the resistance to accommodate is much higher, making successful transition more difficult. Adaptation then, depends on what one makes of this change. If it is seen as an opportunity to break away from the monotony and grow, one’s commitment to acclimatize is higher and one can develop into a free agent whose outlook is evolved and more open to experience than ever before.
To deal effectively with change, be it situational or relational (like the problems with the “new” old friend!) requires one to be a flexible individual who is willing to transcend the limitations of their preferences and characteristics. “I can’t do this”, “I don’t like this” and many such self-defeating declarations keeps a person from achieving their potential to be more, do more and give more.
Rolling with change can be very freeing and liberating as one doesn’t need to feel like a victim of the situations they are in but instead take charge of how they can ride this change with dignity and purpose. Stagnation is after all, not for the life-affirming human spirit!
SANGEETHA MADHU & JYOTHI RAVICHANDRAN, THE HINDU IN SCHOOL