Encountering the Unexpected: How to Handle Change

We’ve all had them, those things that happen, seemingly out of nowhere, that catch us off-guard, just when everything was starting to smooth out a bit.  All of a sudden, there it is; the UNEXPECTED.  You know the ones, the kind of surprises we don’t like.  Bad Trip 26/365It could be getting that call into HR with the next round of layoffs that have been rumored for weeks.  Maybe  it’s that request to return to the doctor’s office to talk about those test results.  Perhaps, it’s an intimidating letter from the IRS, or, an inquiry from your bank or accountant.  A phone call that awakens you during the wee hours about one of your teen sons, or daughters can shock us awake, quickly.  It could even be a disclosure from your spouse or significant other, that you never saw coming.

These fall into that area of “life happens,” and, where we hope and pray it just doesn’t happen to us.  But it does.  Despite our best efforts, sometimes there are just things in life that we personally can’t avoid.  Things that we are not directly responsible for their happening, yet, things that directly involve, or affect us.  Yet, there is hope! How do we handle change?

It’s been said that “life is 10% of what happens to you, and, 90% how you react to it” (Charles Swindoll).  If this is correct, then we spend considerable time as reactors/responders.

Some keys for us to follow, are, as follows:

  • Know that the unexpected will occur in our lives.
  • Equip ourselves for resilience for contending with the unexpected, by maintaining our overall sense of healthiness; mind, body and spirit.  This will be especially helpful for our personal staying power, as the time of the unexpected may become prolonged.
  • Believe that the intensity of the situation is temporary, and, that it is normal to go through shock, disbelief, anger/hurt, and that it really ‘stinks’ in the meantime, before eventually getting to acceptance.
  • Fortify ourselves through the support of caring family, friends, counseling, and prayer through our faith/church/spiritual community
  • ‘Never give up, don’t ever give up,’ (Jim Valvano)…hope is an amazing thing, that doesn’t run out, until we allow it

Although the sampling of the things mentioned above will not change the event, or circumstance, these strategies/skills can change us, in the meantime, as we effectively learn how to manage, cope, and heal from it.

~Author: Mr. David Wiley, MS, LPC– Licensed Professional Counselor for Miller Counseling Services, PC

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