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Change Your Outlook On Change

   By: Charlene M. Proctor, Ph.D.

Make no mistake about it, change is challenging whether it is conscious or unexpected.  Viewing adversity as change, not loss or failure, is part of empowered and positive thinking.  Humans develop resiliency through change, both physiologically, and emotionally

It’s necessary for all life forms to evolve.  Change comes though many vehicles – some hit us hard, others are rather sneaky.  But despite the challenges change brings, we know it is our natural state.  It’s inevitable – the world grows and we grow with it fueled by our emotions.  We are already designed to cry, express sorrow, frustration, anger, resentment, even give up for awhile – and most of us choose to explore these feelings. But we are also designed to have hope, recover, be stronger, and inspire others as a result of change.  You are never, never alone because emotion gives us plenty in common - as a society, we are not yet Vulcans. 

What makes one person triumphantly survive loss and turn it into positive energy, while another in similar circumstances resign?  It has to do with our underlying assumptions on change.  I have two very dear friends; each have had a double mastectomy from breast cancer.  Losing body parts is devastating, not to mention living with the daily uncertainty of not knowing whether you continue to remain in remission.  Yet one woman has forged ahead as a life-force warrior, focusing on triumphs and wins of today.  She doesn’t look back.  The other has difficulty moving forward – not engaging in work outside her home, quitting her job, waiting for “something” to happen while in a state of self-imposed limbo.   They’ve processed their information in completely different ways.  Why?

It’s because people want certainty before they decide to accept change.  It’s a natural reaction.  Certainly our culture has become more comfortable with making choices that have predictable outcomes.  A current cultural disease we suffer from is predictability, reflected in our inability to accept change at a deeply personal level.  It applies across the board to choices we make with our finances, careers, or our relationships.  Science, especially when applied to health issues, has given us a false security blanket when it comes to certainty. After all, it seems we’ve been able to control nature. We like to think we’ve cornered the market on predictability and good planning, when the truth is we live in a time where prediction is more intuition and common sense than science.  To embrace change, we need to release the umbilical cord we think we have to outcomes of certainty.  In other words, stepping off of the plateau requires a huge amount of trust.  Your fall will be broken somewhere at the right time. Believing that is what allows us to cope.  It is the first step, unsupported by any scientific doctrine.  And it’s a big one. 

No matter what science pronounces, whether it is in the form of a diagnosis, prognosis, or the state of the environment, there is no sure thing.   Science has already given us permission to accept truth with a margin of error in just about anything.  There is always the possibility something may exist, or not exist, despite what patterns indicate.  Truly, it is a useless endeavor to let science, or proof for that matter, hold you back from moving forward. Whether it is health, or other issues surrounding job loss, divorce, or death, you will successfully navigate through change and elevate the quality of your life by knowing anyone can beat the odds.  There is evidence everywhere, not just from Christopher Reeves, Mattie Stepanak, or those whose stories you find in People magazine, but from the dry cleaner, your third cousin, your own child.  Almost everyone you know has a story of beating the odds.  Let’s pay attention to the real evidence instead of looking for ways to prove that we can’t make it or the odds are just too great.

Adopting a new attitude on adversity requires big picture thinking on the subject of change.  View life, and spiritual development for that matter, as an upward spiral where you experience some of the same lessons over and over again.  Is it because we just aren’t getting what the lesson is telling us?  Perhaps, but that’s not the only reason.  We’ve deliberately put those circumstances in our chart in frequent doses to allow ourselves an opportunity to see how we’ve been progressing on the upward part of that growth spiral.  Adversity is an inescapable performance indicator – a frequent reminder of our upcoming 360-degree review in how we handle the bumps.  We are meant to be a stronger, more insightful person each time we get walloped.  With each business obstacle, make a stronger commitment toward your goal of service to humanity; each time you grieve, become better at comforting others and showing compassion; after each funeral, return home knowing life is a precious gift.  With all setbacks, it drives the point home on the one true certainty in life and that is we must use our time wisely to make conscious change in the world. Change is designed to get outside of ourselves and become conscious of our place within a community of souls.  Without change, there is no transformation. Change is good, making us stir the self-development pot a little faster!


Charlene M. Proctor, Ph.D., author of Let Your Goddess Grow! 7 Spiritual Lessons on Female Power and Positive Thinking and The Women’s Book of Empowerment: 323 Affirmations that Change Everyday Problems into Moments of Potential (2005) provides guidance through everyday complexity with female imagery and positive thinking.  Please visit and register for her many self-help and inspirational programs, which include The Divine Woman, a free monthly newsletter!

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