Transformation is one of those words that sounds easier and loftier than change. The latter often beckons its listeners to hide, avoid or escape. Why is change so scary, but transformation seem as elegant as a caterpillar turning into a butterfly?
I think because all of us innately know transformation is necessary in order to truly live. Change sounds force upon us by something beyond our control. One is our humanely right. The other something to fear.
Truthfully, however, we need both to wake up to our lives.
Change can inspire transformation. An external event, an illness, a loss, even a positive experience like marriage or a new baby can force our hand. What we thought we knew no longer applies. Some people embrace this change. Others fear it.
I tend to fall into both categories. Initially I go into panic mode when change arrives. But by quickly submerging myself into whatever newness is taking place, I find peace in acceptance and surrendering. Through life’s greatest challenges, I realized I can either resist and cause myself more suffering or I can learn how to ride the wave of unexpectedness and allow whatever is happening to transform me. Doing so has always given me the greatest lessons.
Recently, for example, I kept running into an annoying problem without any solution in site. How do you resolve a reoccurring conflict? One way to automatically fail is to continue to do what you have been doing and expect a different scenario.
In order to change the situation and break free from it, you need to reach in deep and do something that makes you a bit uncomfortable, sweat a little and do what doesn’t always feel natural. I learned I can either take this challenge as an annoyance that is “happening to me” or I can think of it as a lesson “happening for me.” That tiny shift in perspective ended up being a HUGE insight to me! I quickly learned the lesson wasn’t to feed my ego, defend myself, or manipulate the situation. What I needed to do was be vulnerable, be honest, and communicate in a way that was 1) respectful 2) genuine 3) filled with integrity.
Sometimes we get bogged down in proving ourselves because of low self-esteem, a critical environment or a traumatic childhood. Automatically we feel the need to justify and defend every decision we make. But if we step out of that and trust our true selves we remember that nothing other people say or think matters as much as how we view and think about ourselves.
How to Transform Your Life
Transformation takes courage, discipline and a lot of patience. But it can start out small. Interestingly, you can start by changing your external circumstances. For example, start noticing your home, your workplace, your physical environment. Is there anything you can do to make things more pleasant for yourself? Decluttering, organizing, donating items that no longer serve their purpose. These things seem superficial. But look at something that bothers you every day is like a paper cut. Seemingly benign, but it cuts at you over time.
Life coach Martha Beck says she notices when clients change their outward appearance, there’s often an internal change. I think you can also begin to start small by changing your physical environment or appearance to initiate change in your life.
Eventually you will gain the confidence to create consistent change in your life and that will begin the journey toward life-long transformation…