Change and Comfort. Which one would you choose?
Don’t you find that change and comfort seem to be at odds with each other? When there is change, it tends to result in discomfort. A common example would be experiencing troubles sleeping in the hotel when you are travelling to a new country. As we tend to be more comfortable with the environment, peoples, social cues that we are familiar with, the moment we are brought into a new environment, it is not difficult to sense one’s discomfort and anxiety. We feel lost without direction in a new place. We don’t know how to respond “appropriately” to our new bosses’ comments. We felt “left out” when we met new groups of people whom had known each other previously. Because of the discomfort, many of us tend to resist change unconsciously. Many of us find it difficult so you are not alone.
Coping with change
Change is inevitable. It exists no matter where you go. As what Heraclitus said, “the only constant in life is change”. We are changing as well slowly but surely. Aging is probably one of the changes that we don’t consciously think about all the time. Yet, it is happening every moment, slowly but surely. We graduated from school and change our education environment. We change on job roles and environment through our career. Schools may change their curriculum to cope with the increasing demand of selected skills in the booming sectors like technology and finance. Organisations may change their vision, management structure, and focus to remain competitive in the ever changing economy. Given that change is the consistently coming our way, how can we cope with these changes and remain positive and comfortable where we are?
1. Acknowledge the change
Some of the changes are within our control but there are others that are not. We might want to change our bad habits to improve our standard of living or health. That is fine as it is definitely within our means to do so. However, there are some changes that are out of our control. Examples are change in bosses, teachers, friends, colleagues or being retrenched or dismissed from a job. These changes tend to be unpredictable, catching us unprepared. Despite being uncomfortable, I think it is important to acknowledge the change and understand how you are feeling with this change. Self-awareness is important in coping with the change in our environment. Only when you acknowledge and know the change, you can come up with ways to overcome and adapt to these changes.
2. Adapt to the change
Once you acknowledge the change, you ought to rationalize why you feel such discomfort with the change. Many of us depend on past experiences to determine how we act and what to say in our everyday lives. That needs a certain degree of familiarity in order to do so. When we encounter something new, we ought to recalibrate our response to the suit the new. We can’t sit back and expect everything to still remain the same and do the things “as per what we have always done”. I guess, this is part that is difficult, especially when you don’t have anyone to guide you.
For me, I tend to go with trial and errors. Of course, mistakes will be made in the progress. I would think, try, obtain feedback, reflect, change, and try again. However, that doesn’t work in all situation. Sometimes, I often encounter new teammates who just don’t like whatever I did despite trying numerous attempts based on the feedback that I observed. That can be said for my bosses as well. Some just couldn’t accept me no matter how much I try to change. Every attempt I received a new criticism. Often a contradicting one. Yet, in the world where we are powerless against those who have the authority, money and resources, we ought to adapt to the change as best as we can.
3. Reflect upon the change
If you manage to pull through the initial phase, you realise that you are slowly getting comfortable with the change and settling down again. Once you feel yourself again, you succeed adapting and being comfortable in the new environment. It is important to reflect what you did. What have you done well and what you could improve the next time? We never know when the next change will catch us unprepared again.
However, if you have given your best attempt and still experiencing discomfort, distress, anxiety, and chronic stress, you might want to reflect and evaluate your way forward. Sometimes, change could be an indicator to seek change for ourselves. When you struggled for a prolonged period to get away with your peers but still get casted aside, should you still insist on befriending them? May be they are just not the right person for you. If you put in your best efforts and attempts to please your new bosses, yet they still give your negative remarks without acknowledging your efforts. Do you really want to work under such bosses? It is always good to have a backup plan or exit strategy.
Hope this helps if you are facing change and feeling uncomfortable about it. Feel free to share your experience in the comments below. Love to hear from you.