Change Is Hard – How to Avoid Terrible Transitions
Change is hard. So how can we avoid those terrible transitions in life? Wendy encourages us to take the validate, love, and respect those going through transition.
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Transitions aren’t Terrible
Transitions aren’t terrible when those involved are treated with thoughtfulness. I’ve learned ways through reading, and through experience, to lessen the stress of transitions experienced by those we love. These techniques are helpful for babies, children, teenagers, and adults—including ourselves.
Becoming a Grandparent
What brought this topic to mind is my recent blessing of becoming a grandparent. Things I learned and applied while raising my own children came to mind whenever a challenge presented itself—the challenge of how to sooth a crying baby.
Babies don’t understand a whole lot yet. But they do sense and interpret more than we imagine they do. A gentle and patient caregiver soothes, rather than agitates, an upset infant. Keeping this in mind motivates me to, as Dr. James Dobson said, “Get behind the eyes of the child…”
“The most successful parents are those who have the skill to get behind the eyes of the child, seeing what he sees, thinking what he thinks, feeling what he feels.” ~ Dr. James Dobson
He says empathy is the most important character trait children need from the adults around them.
Change Is Hard
Adults, babies, and children often struggle during life transitions; however, there is a way to ease the stress of changes for everyone. Warnings are wise to give to babies and children. So when we’re going to move from one activity to another, I often sing a song I made up for my own children to signal a change is a coming. Singing is much like a public health nurse tingling a bell immediately after a vaccination shot; it distracts the child from over-focusing on their discomfort.
Even Scriptures gives us warnings of what’s to come so our hearts won’t be discouraged:
Matthew 24:6 NIV says: “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.”
And 1 Peter 4:12 NIV says: “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”
Change is Hard but Love and Respect Can Ease the Nerves
Love and respect is the cushion that soothes the nerves of those facing change.
Here are some examples of how to demonstrate love and respect:
- Validate feelings rather than ignore, belittle, or deny them.
- Serve a generous helping of the individual’s love language.
- Calmly accept the situation.
We validate someone’s feelings by refusing to ignore, belittle, or deny they are experiencing them. To do any of these things is a sign we may be on the narcissism spectrum.
Sadly, most narcissists won’t acknowledge their need of help and will shame those around them for expressing emotions because narcissists can’t handle their own feelings—never mind anyone else’s. They live in perpetual denial because they’re incapable of empathizing. If this sounds like you or someone you know, you’d be wise to research this topic. Therapy is available for both the narcissist and for those injured by the narcissist.
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Change is Hard But Love Languages Help
Serving a generous helping of someone’s love language is another way to show love and respect to someone experiencing pain during a life transition. Remembering it’s about making them feel better will help us choose wisely what works best. Some people like hugs; others prefer gifts, acts of service, words of affirmation, or a listening ear. When in doubt about what to say, silence and stillness are a better choice than blurting a platitude that minimizes their struggle and maximizes their shame.
Calmness is a soothing salve and lifejacket for the sufferer. If we want to help someone who is flailing around in a canoe that’s traversing white waters, the last thing they need is someone else bouncing around in panic too. The boat will tip and you’ll both sink. Dr. James Dobson mentioned this tip as being critical for parenting during the turbulent years of adolescence. But I’ve found it’s wise to apply this to anyone drowning in turmoil. A struggling canoeist needs a lifesaver—needs you to keep paddling calmly—they don’t need a canoe tipper.
Validate, Love and Accept
So there you have it: Validate, love, and accept someone’s struggle during a transition and you will help them stay afloat. Love will float their boat—and yours.
Life is hard when waters rise
But compassion helps us stay afloat
And we mustn’t close our eyes
To others tipping in their boat
For life is hard when rapids roar
And we all need the helping hand
Of others cheering from the shore
And tugging us safely back to land.
You Might Enjoy These Posts About Creation:
Crawford Paul – The Treasure of Heaven
Don Salmans – Living a Life That Counts
Gary McBride – Practice Peace
Greg Reader – An Unfamiliar Culture
Images courtesy of:
Grandfather and child – kkl099
Child and Baby – sathyatripodi
Warplanes – robertwaghorn
Girl – xusenru
Boat – DuncanNelson
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