A New Look at Different
Point to Ponder:
How are you dealing with the differences that change has brought you?
A dear friend recently moved from San Diego back to the neighborhood she grew up in. While her entire family lives in the community, the change is still proving to be a difficult one. Despite her familiarity and even comfort in the area, it doesn't look and feel like the life and friendships she worked hard to build in San Diego. The faces, routines, schools for her children...it's all new, overwhelming and a lot for her heart and mind to navigate.
Only two years removed from my family's move from Texas to San Diego, the emotions and challenges I endured are still fresh and I wholeheartedly empathized with the experience she was having. We had a good talk and during our conversation I was reminded that adjusting to change of all size and variation takes time. It's a legitimate process, however there are things that we can do to expedite resiliency so that we can appreciate and enjoy the new.
What I shared with my friend came from my own experience dealing with the changes from moving, which starts with what I call the "judgement phenomenon". I was amazed at how quickly my brain compared, judged and even gave good, bad, right, and wrong labels to the differences around me. Too often I have viewed change and "different" as a threat to my controlled, predictable and comfortable life. Different is unfamiliar and unknown, and while melodramatic, when I run into "different", the safety alarms and sirens go off and scream DANGER, because ultimately, all I want are the cozy warm and fuzzies.
What I learned from my experience and what I shared with her was to consider going into each changing, new or different situation with an open mind--with this judgment, comparison or label-free thought in mind: Don't give "different" more value or meaning than it needs. Different doesn't mean good, bad, right or wrong. Different just means different.
Each of us are adjusting to a literal difference and change in seasons--from the spontaneous, late night and free form days of summer to a more regimented and routine fall schedule. Some of us are adapting to a new community and relationships, a new church, a new job, school, career or schedule, while others of us are adjusting to our children's new teachers, kids going off to college, being needed less by children and more by family members and friends. Whatever your change scenario may be or change season you are in, a healthy approach is to avoid judging, labeling or comparing the differences. And, taking the wise advice of Wayne Dyer never hurts: "If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change."
As for my sweet friend who just moved, I'm happy to report that she entered last week with the "different doesn't mean bad" mindset, and as a result, she had a much better experience and is starting to settle in. What a great opportunity and inspiration for each of us!
Start looking at the differences that change brings into your life differently and without judgement, comparison and labeling words like "good, bad, right, wrong."