Do you know someone who is in the middle of a transition, whether it be career, a personal relationship, or living situation?
Or maybe you just took a huge leap of faith into the unknown and feel a little uneasy or anxious.
Change is a tricky thing. Although inevitable and necessary to thrive, we can all struggle with the uncertainty of it. What may be a seamless transition for some can be a monumental mountain to climb for another.
I know for myself, I have struggled with navigating change. Whether it was moving to a new home, starting a new job, getting married, having children, or leaving a career, feelings of extreme discomfort would arise out of nowhere and just take over.
We also can be quick to overanalyze our situations, judge ourselves too harshly, or feel stuck in never-ending thoughts of “what if” future scenarios. We can display a lack of patience and put pressure on ourselves to “hurry up and get with the program” so we can settle ourselves into a new routine.
Managing change is no easy task, but when we feel supported, we are better equipped to ease ourselves better through these transitions. We can move through them more gracefully, with a sense of personal empowerment. We can harness our inner wisdom and strength to gently push ourselves forward. We can find the courage and confidence to stand in our unique power.
Here are three ways we can show support to others who are navigating change:
1. Acknowledge courage.
Since change can sometimes create discomfort, we can all feel ill at ease, fearful, irritated, or confused at times.
If we bottle up our emotions, we run the risk of creating unwanted stress on our physical bodies. Acknowledging our true feelings and understanding that we are made to experience the full range of emotions helps us grow.
When someone shows their true emotions, they are choosing to be vulnerable with you. It also shows that they trust you. Acknowledging that you appreciate their courage in sharing helps them to feel that their range of emotions are a normal part of the human experience, and they can move through emotions at their own pace. Saying “you are brave” or “thank you for trusting me with this and it means a lot to me” goes a long way.
2. Validate emotions.
Validating involves the process of learning about, understanding, and expressing acceptance of someone’s experience. It demonstrates support and that you understand what they are feeling without trying to talk them out of it or shame them for it.
When we feel our emotions are not “wrong,” we are more apt to have a solid sense of worth and can manage emotions effectively. Feeling understood and heard, rather than shameful, paves the way for more self-compassion and progress forward.
Here are supportive ways to express understanding of another’s emotions: “That must be really hard.” “I’m here for you.” “I can see how you would feel that way.”
3. Honor individuality.
Sometimes when we are in the middle of change, we can easily forget the magical parts that make us who we are. We can pick apart or be hard on ourselves if we don’t figure it out right away. We may even struggle with our confidence.
You can help someone see the greatness that exists by supporting them in reaching their unique potential. If you notice a particular strength in someone, tell them. Don’t hold it back. Hearing positive feedback or receiving a genuine compliment can lighten the mood and energy. It can be as simple as sharing what you appreciate about them, what they’re good at, or what makes them special.
Sometimes it’s the simplest ways that we communicate that show others that they are supported.
When we feel cared for, we can all cope better with the ups and downs of life, and ultimately, progress more confidently through change.