As you already know, life is full of changes. Sometimes, the changes happen when you least expect them. Some changes throw your schedule off like when there’s a cancelation of an event or zoom call you’ve scheduled into your day. Other changes not only throw your routine off track, they create a complete breakdown of life as you’ve known it. These changes can be due to traumas like the death of a loved one, a diagnosis, or a betrayal by someone you trusted.

Whether an inconvenience or a trauma, it’s easy to have a strong reaction when you’re going through something totally new or unexpected. It’s also easy to feel completely overwhelmed because you can feel like you’ve lost control of your life.

The good news is that you can approach these life events with techniques that keep you from feeling intimidated by them. For the bigger and more significant life changes, seek out support from someone who gets it and can help.

For changes less life altering, here are a few strategies to help move through them.

Have an open mind. Expect the best scenario instead of the worst. Remind yourself that you’ve made it through more challenging situations before.

Embrace the idea that this event might bring with it all sorts of positive spins on existing situations that challenge you. This new chapter in your life could be the answer to reaching goals that seemed out of reach in the past.

Be courageous. Fear can keep you from achieving what you want out of life. You know the best cure for fear that I know? Action. Sometimes, the anticipation is worse than what you’re actually facing and simply taking that first step shows your fear, who’s boss. So face the unknown with every ounce of courage you have.

Even when you’re not feeling courageous, tell yourself you’re brave. Walk into a situation while repeating the words, “I can do hard/new/different things.”

Take one step at a time. By far, the easiest way to approach any situation in life is to break it down into its smallest parts. When looking at the big picture of your new chapter, it might seem insurmountable. But if you take a minute to dissect it, you’ll realize it’s a lot easier to take smaller bites and even appreciate the newness every step of the way.

Be guided by past mistakes. Nobody you know has more experience in your life than you do. You know your strengths and abilities, and you also know how you handled things in the past that you’d handle differently now. Those learning lessons are handy tools you take into life’s new chapter. Use them as much as possible to help guide you through the unknown.

Be honest. If your new chapter is something being presented to you by someone else, be honest about if it’s something you want or something you think you “should” want. Just because someone has a great idea for you, doesn’t mean it’s a fit for you or where you need to be headed. Does it feel right to you? If so, you’ll feel a bit of a nervous excitement. Do you feel more of an impending doom? (Ok, that’s a little harsh but you know what I mean). If so, it may not be in your best interest.

New chapters don’t have to be scary at all. They’re simply unfamiliar. Just like everything else in your life. At first it was unfamiliar, then you moved into that chapter and it became familiar. You’d be surprised how perfectly capable you are in taking things head-on and celebrating in the goodness they can provide. Give yourself the chance to experience fulfillment; use these strategies to embrace your exciting next step towards create the life you crave.

Dr. Debi
Founder and CEO, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute

272: Somatic Work and Trauma Informed Therapy w/ Bethany Dotson