Change and Loss
There are some people who love the prospect of change; they say it excites them and they seem comfortable with the unfamiliarity of what comes next, preferring that to a routine.
Many of us though, find it trying at best and some are truly terrified by the new. Why might this be?
Change involves loss and even when we face losing things, people or circumstances we don’t like, loss can feel very destabilising and even debilitating. We knew where we were and what to expect during unchanging times; with change, we have to readjust and this requires energy and time. If the change involves an obvious loss such as bereavement, there are many painful feelings to be processed – not just grief; anger, terror, loneliness and many others can also be involved.
We tend to like – or at least accept - what we know. The unknown isn’t something we can see or plan for easily and most of us want to know what’s coming our way. Change almost inevitably involves some element of the unknown and the need to absorb a new set of rules, ideas or feelings.
So if we’re anticipating great pain, fear, uncertainty or frustration when change is in the air, we fight it. We prefer to retain the familiar. The problem is that, as we all know, change is inescapable: we grow up, we grow old; we are born, we die; we fall in and out of love; we change or lose jobs; we move house; we become ill; we move school or go to college; the kids leave home; we retire and so on.
Accepting and going with the process of change is difficult for most of us, no doubt about it. But maybe if we can just be that little bit more prepared for it, enjoying the moment as best we can without attempting to preserve it forever and trying to allow for the possibility that new situations might be valuable and/or positive, we might alleviate some of the discomfort and we might even find that we can derive some pleasure from an altogether new experience.