Your response (reaction?) to change is conditioned by your entire life experience…the family you come from, your age, education, marital status, attitudes about work and about yourself. From this it follows that everyone has a unique way of perceiving and handling change. Here’s an opportunity to see what your particular situation may be.
The exercise that follows is called “Life Cycle Changes”. The questions you’ll be answering are all about what makes you unique. There are five areas. Take a couple of minutes to write out the first answers that occur to you. Be very brief, because you may want to come back to this later and add to it or revise it.
1. Self-History. What losses, traumas and other changes have you experienced throughout your life?
2. Relationship History. What have you faced as a member of a family, work team, social group, religious organization?
3. Sex/Gender Issues. What reactions or responses to change do you sense are based upon your masculinity or femininity?
4. Ethnicity Influences. What racial or ethnic consequences does change produce for you, if any?
5. Maturity Level. Where are you in your life cycle – youth, young adult, adult, mature adult, senior citizen – and how does change affect your outlook on your age, maturity, ideas about mortality and so forth?
Now that you have these responses recorded, you can begin to see what bottlenecks you may be encountering as change occurs – or as you attempt to initiate change from within. To illustrate this, let’s look at an actual case…your responses to a real transition in your personal past. Complete the next exercise, called “Your Personal Response to Change”
By answering the six questions that follow this introductory paragraph: Looking back over your life you’ll notice that there have been a number of significant changes – we call them “transitions” – for instance, from childhood at home to childhood at school, young person in high school to young person in college, student to worker, single person to coupled person…and so on.
Select a major transition you’ve gone through, then, on a piece of paper, write your answers to these questions:
1. What was the greatest difficulty you had to face?
2. How did you overcome this difficulty or fear?
3. When did you begin to feel that you would get through the change and feel OK?
4. What new things did you need to learn in order to handle and manage the change?
As you can see, you’ve already handled this and other major transitions, and there were specific things you needed to do, to know, to have, to understand and to act upon. The good news, then, is that you can do this again, anytime, in any situation.
And the best part is,it will always help you.