Why Does Change Hurt?
The subject of change seems to be all around us. It’s become a rallying point for winning political campaigns where much is said about the need for it, if not the way to go about it. Recent political events aside, lots of personal changes have been sweeping across my landscape lately. I’ve felt a bit like Dorothy when she commented to Toto after only a short time in Oz, that “My, people come and go so quickly here!” There’ve been changes in nearly every major venue of my life: health, love and relationships, work, living conditions . . .
It hasn’t been easy. In fact, some of it has been damned hard. Sometimes it’s thrown me completely off kilter and off any sense of rhythm or rhyme. Sometimes it’s been scary or very, very sad. Some of it, of course, has been delightful-a welcome shift in the lighting of my life or a pleasantly surprising new development.
But enough of it has been painful for me to wonder why difficulty and stress is so often the nature of the changes we see. I wondered to The Shower Team, “Why does change hurt?”
This question is coming from a place of misperception on your part. The truth is that you are all changing all the time-every moment of every day. Even your scientists have established that the very cells of your being are dying and being born on a continual basis below your level of awareness. Your environment, your world, your external as well as your internal conditions are in constant flux, but you are for the most part, feeling no pain as a result of this.
The pain that you associate with change is entirely a result of your focus-your choice to look primarily at what is leaving or disappearing or dying and as you look at that, to mourn its departure and its loss, rather than to give your attention to the gain you are experiencing, to the expansion that is always the result of the change taking place. You choose to look back and to see yourselves as losing something rather than to look from the perspective of your powerful now and to see the potential benefit of what is coming.
In this as in every dilemma of your lives, it is your perception-the point of view that you are choosing-that is your source of feeling either powerless or powerful. Your focus is what determines whether you mourn or whether you move forward with eagerness and joy.
You have done a bangup job of convincing yourselves that you ‘need’ your grieving processes, that it is unhealthy for you to let go of anything that has mattered to you without trudging through various stages of unhappiness before allowing yourselves to embrace the new with true anticipation. You have talked yourselves into believing that you must have a funeral in order to celebrate a life that is no longer being physically expressed.
We do not tell you it is wrong to take this or any other approach. We never say you should not feel this or that or that you are messing up by choosing a focus that feels bad to you. In this as in all manner of life experience, you are free to choose. You are free to spin your theories and to hypothesize your processes in whatever way you see fit. You are free to give full rein to the sorrows that follow whatever you are observing. You are free to spend as much time as you like reminiscing and regretting and to justify those choices in whatever ways you want. And in fact, it is the contrast of those resulting times of sadness and sorrow that often assist you in clarifying the happiness that your heart truly desires.
None of that changes the fact that sooner or later you must turn your attention elsewhere. Eventually you must begin to look forward if you are to move forward, you must see the value of what is coming and judge it as worth giving your focus to, rather than continuing to fix your gaze in the rear view mirror.
It is when you turn your eyes back to the road ahead and allow yourselves to see the wonders of the journey before you that the change stops hurting-and starts to feel like the wondrous adventure that you always know is the truth of your lives-the very reason you chose to come forth and to have this physical experience to begin with.
Change hurts-and will hurt-for as long as you decide that it needs to, not one second longer. You have every hue of an unlimited palette of colors with which to paint your perspective on anything that comes to you. You can color your world blue for as long as you like . . . until you reach the inevitable realization that a spectacular rainbow awaits your inspired and ingenious hand.
I just moved into a new apartment. It’s somewhat embarrassing to admit that it’s the first home of my own-not shared with anyone else-in my adult life. Some of the reasons for the move have been painful or difficult ones . . . but the actual experience of selecting and moving into and creating my own space with my own stuff has mostly made me positively giddy. It’s brought a bubbly, creative energy to my experience that I never expected and has just been such sheer fun, for the most part, that whenever I think about it-as opposed to the reasons that got me here-I can’t help smiling.
Maybe it’s one of the reasons I’ve been avoiding blues as I’ve gone about decorating my new space. I’ve chosen rich reds and bright greens and golden yellows-not because I dislike blue (like so many, it’s one of my favorite colors) but because I’ve felt like it was time to explore more of the other colors available to me.
I still get a little blue sometimes-even when sitting on my gorgeous new red loveseat. But I am realizing, as the Team has said, that life really is a rainbow. And I can choose another color as easily as I pick out a different can of paint.