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How Do We Adapt To Change?

How do we adapt to change?

Sometimes I feel lost for words for this new uncertain world which is enforcing change and limitation on most of us. This helps me realise we are in a global trauma.

When we feel afraid we need to find safety in a relationship

When we humans feel afraid or threatened our natural instinct is to seek the proximity of a safe attachment figure; or to put this more simply, to be physically close to someone with whom we feel safe. 

We are hard-wired to be naturally social creatures, and one of the more difficult aspects of the pandemic is that for a long time many of us have lost the benefits of being physically close to loved ones and other humans; on the contrary, other people are to be physically avoided! 5 months in and we are still facing so much uncertainty as well as just beginning to process the shock of this experience, and which we will continue to experience: issues such as grief, trauma, loss and change which are beyond our control.

Most of us find change difficult

Charles Darwin famously said “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” I believe this is as true of us humans, and is the challenge we are all facing in 2020 and beyond. We know that habits are hard to break and most of us don’t like change, yet right now we are being forced to give up our usual lifestyles.

So how do we adapt to change?

In my own personal experience I had to find the inner security and courage to face myself – with all of the discomfort that can bring. I considered how Covid-19 is diminishing the usual ways in which I keep myself buoyant (eg meeting close friends in person; taking holidays; working hard and staying busy). Filling the vacuum came denial and resistance at first – a clinging on to the status quo; followed by a resignation and acceptance of the fact that I am not in control of the changing external circumstances; next, and most importantly, a genuine letting go or surrender; then welcoming stillness for reflection of who I am and what I need and want. Finally, there is the possibility of seeing and seizing new opportunities.

Facing ourself

There is nothing easy about facing oneself, but it is nevertheless a part of the process of adaptation and growth. One of the big positives for me that has emerged in our culture as a result of the pandemic is that more of us are learning to slow down the pace of our lives – a truly wonderful change and hopefully one that can be sustained.

By: Wendy Bramham
August 2020

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