Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change. -Confucius
There are a lot of reasons you can start to feel dissatisfaction with your life. Sometimes, a big change is beckoning. Other times, it can be a small change that’s afoot. Maybe an important area of your life’s been neglected, during the juggling that life requires, and it needs revisiting.
It can be hard to know the difference between the invitation to tweak or make a sea change. Whether tweaks or tidal waves, the good news is, the voice of change can lead to welcome makeovers and improvements that increase the excitement and fulfillment in life.
Anais Nin says it all: – Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
– And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
A shrunken life! That doesn’t sound good. It takes a lot to get here – don’t you get that sense? Taking that risk to change might be just the thing to move that satisfaction index up a few notches. First, see what signs of change are here, and how you might explore what they’re trying to tell you.
Here are seven signs that something might need to shift in your life – provided it’s not just a passing EEYORE mood.
1) More trouble with moods and crankiness
Three moods that are not only unpleasant, but negatively impact health, are feeling anxious, depressed or angry/frustrated. If you rate these on a scale of 1-10, 10 is high, and they’re over 4 or 5, that’s having an effect on your body/mind. Is it a passing thing, or starting to be the norm? If it’s starting to be the norm, you may need to look more deeply here.
What can cause moods to build up and stuckness to take over? For example, procrastinating on actions you know you need to take. Or obsessing over things you cannot control. Take some time to journal, problem solve, speak with a friend or therapist. Investigate things using meditation or emotional mindfulness. If you hear the message and respond, this can lead to some movement or insight that leads to positive next steps.
2) You have an intuitive sense something’s off or missing
Sometimes things seem pretty good on the surface, and / or you may have reached an important goal. There can be a come down from the high of hard work and completion. That makes sense and it will often resolve itself. Other times, there is a sense of dissatis-faction with your life that comes from a deep place that is hard to name. It may express a desire or fact that is hard to face. Change is hard and most people try to avoid it as long as possible. When you start to get those inner intuitions that something isn’t right or needs to be shifted, you can only ignore it for so long, before it causes your quality of life to suffer. Don’t wait too long to hear this call from within.
3) What used to appeal, has lost its appeal
Often activities you used to enjoy might not appeal anymore. Maybe you’re dragging your feet on a project or on some next steps that seemed exciting in the past. Explore this, because it doesn’t always mean you should abandon the thing. Sometimes, you have to grow in some way to continue, like the manager that needs to delegate more to transform their current position into one that uses their best skills. You could be sick of the routine work you’re doing, and that could propel you to a new position that restores enthusiasm for your work. Allowing the angst and getting to the bottom of it is, once again, a useful approach here.
4) An outer event is spotlighting some lack or challenge
Having a big birthday this year? Facing an empty nest or a layoff? Environmental conditions suddenly making your location unlivable? These shifts can all be harbingers that the old way has come to an end. Transitions like this can be tough when you loved that old way. Facing a new learning curve brings up lots of vulnerability and old insecurities. Take heart; each successful transition helps you grow and stirs up that aliveness and drive that spice life up.
5) Feedback from those that matter points to problems
Thankfully you can have people in your life that care enough to tell you when you’re not on track. Years back, a friend gave me feedback that I seemed to have lost my creative streak. Oh no! That woke me up. I had gotten a bit too comfortable and maybe lazy-ish in my relationship at the time, losing that edge of adventurousness. I appreciated my friend’s courage in sharing this with me, and took the time to evaluate her input and take needed actions. My friend – and my ex – are still good comrades in my life.
6) Next steps keep getting blockaded by things that aren’t your job to solve
What is the purpose of your life? Sometimes you may think you came to learn a skill, and wish to do that, yet circumstances keep thwarting your progress. An example might be dysfunctional family dramas that seem to demand your time and attention, taking away from what you consider your deeper purpose. Life is complicated, and often it’s asking you to resolve lots of past karma as you go. That might mean learning how to communicate well, or limit over-giving, on the way to mastering life goals. Expert support or counseling / coaching may be needed to see what is yours and what’s not yours to do, in the drama circles of life and evolving to your deepest purpose.
7) You have a sense that big change is afoot, though not sure what or why
Sometimes you start to get a sense that a change is beckoning. Clues may come or again, a sense of dissatisfaction can be a precursor to upcoming change. Here you want to distinguish the voice of the inner critic from more truthful voices. You can take small steps to investigate new scenes without abandoning everything. Be gentle with yourself – change doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It’s just that inevitable call to expand, like any plant, animal, human and universe. Yes, it causes stress, but there is healthy stress too, when you are answering that call to change and expand.
Change can be a challenge, but it can also be enlivening and sane, when you tune in to it’s deeper truth. When you look back on life’s rhythm of ever-present change, you can appreciate the strength and effort that got you here. You see that the winds of change can peacefully co-exist with the urge toward homeostasis – staying comfortable and safe. With some reflection and exploration, the change that beckons can share it’s wisdom. You can chose the next steps that are for your highest benefit. Because your highest good – well that tends to be best for the world as well.
May the ease of beneficial change be with you.
P.S. When the winds of change are too chaotic or hard to interpret, counseling and coaching can be clarifying. Schedule a complimentary consult to see how this can help.