Coping With Change
Many of our enemies today have no faces. These enemies include arguments, deadlines, boredom, lack of exercise, and pressure to achieve. We are forced to adapt to many challenges and changes every day.
Some ideas about change include:
- Change is inevitable. We all change, whether we like it or not. Some change is physical and obvious, as in aging. Other change is subtle and takes years, as when some husbands and wives grow apart. Regardless of its obviousness, nothing stays the same.
- Change can be positive or negative. It seems obvious that some people change for the better, as when one establishes a weight-reduction program and health and appearance improve. Negative change, too, is widely apparent. No child is born a criminal, yet the social conditioning a child experiences may promote destructive patterns in the person’s behavior.
- Change is a choice. Many have heard the saying “Not making a decision is making a decision.” Choosing to change is a conscious, rational choice. Choosing not to change is also a conscious, rational choice. What’s important is why we would choose to change or not to change. A college student once said, wisely: “For how I am, shame on my parents. If I stay that way, shame on me.” Adult human beings are ultimately responsible for their own choices, for their own changing.
- Change is most satisfying when the individual chooses to change. At times change is forced upon us. We receive ultimatums from family, friends, and employers. Unfortunately, this kind of change often occurs only when a situation has deteriorated to the point where others are affected because the individual has chosen to do nothing. The people who make New Year’s resolutions (and keep them) have chosen to make changes in their own life.
- Everyone has blind spots. There are things about us that others see that are not in our awareness. In order to become more aware of our “blind spots,” we can ask others to help us to see what we could change. In doing so, we must take two precautions: (1) First, ask a trusted friend, one who will be honest with you. (2) Second, be prepared to receive what you ask for and be ready to act on the suggestions. If you are not thus prepared, your asking for feedback will have a hollow ring to it.
- Significant change comes in behaviors rather than beliefs. Many people sincerely believe they should lose weight, but they don’t do it. Merely speaking about my belief will not suffice. It’s the old “put your money where your mouth is” idea. If you mean it, act on it.
- Behavior-change programs can be successful. Here is a brief summary of behavior-change ideas. Begin by asking: What is the behavior you want to change? When do you behave this way? What are the effects of your behavior? What other behaviors could be substituted?
For any behavior-change program to work, it must be applied consistently for a long period of time. Your family and co-workers can help you with a behavior change plan. Serious problems should be handled with a trained behavior therapist.