How often do you smell your cheese? Change is a constant fact of life. Everything around us is changing whether in our personal or professional lives. We too are changing. What matter to us changes, our priorities change and people around us change too.
During a family gathering, one of my elderly relatives talked about her close friend who hadn’t been answering her calls for three weeks. “Her husband took my calls, promised she would call me back but she never did. I don’t know what happened. We’ve been friends for many years and we used to hang out together several times a week.” Smelling pain and confusion in her voice, I wished I could interfere to sooth her soul and solve her riddle.
Her situation reminded me with the book of Spencer Johnson ‘Who moved my cheese’. I bet my relative isn’t alone and that many of us experienced a similar situation, whether with a boss who changed, a lover who stopped caring like before or a friend who drifted apart.
Concerned with the mattered, I identified 7 steps to deal with change in a healthy and mature way:
1- Notice the signs, don’t live blindfolded.
The signs could be words muttered in a funny way and followed by “I was just kidding”, someone becoming more nervous with you, avoiding you in gatherings, taking a distant seat, a boss not assigning to you responsibilities like before…etc
2- Taste your feelings.
Do you feel enthusiastic about your work like before? Do you feel happy while spending time with your friend or you feel stressed out? Do you feel appreciated, respected, valued, understood…etc
3- Move beyond your fear. Communicate.
Many of us, hoping to save the relation or their jobs, prefer to swallow their feelings instead of opening up. Communicate your feelings to the other person. Seek first to understand his side of the story then make sure to be well understood too.
4- Act instead of wailing.
Sooner is the better. As soon as you smell something wrong in the air address it. Don’t leave the situation till it gets more complicated.
5- Be straightforward.
Don’t give excuses of hurting other people’s feelings. Know what to say, how to say, where to say and when to say it.
6- Save your energy.
Complaining about your problems will magnify them and suck your energy. If you still feel negative about a situation, get it out on papers. Write all what annoyed you. Draw a line when you’re done and promise yourself to move on.
7- Imagine a better tomorrow.
Most of the time painful events turn out to be blessings, yet only the wise recognises that. Your boss who’s annoying you might be serving you to shift to a better career. Your spouse who isn’t treating you the way you deserve might be the motive to let you practice tough love, stand for your rights and grow as a human being.