Experts say that there are stages in change and loss: denial, bargaining, anger, and acceptance. It’s never a straight line between the initial sense of loss and acceptance. These emotions move back and forth between days and even minutes. Norman Cousins once said, “Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” So much of our dying and living is determined by fear – fear of the unknown, fear of embarrassment, and fear of facing what change might mean.
Yet, most of us need positive change – not change for change sake but an internal truth monitor that says, “It’s good to change – to reach a greater potential – to become a more authentic you.” Jesus said, “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”
Change will require stages of grief and loss but will we be healthier, happier, and more authentic if we embrace this change? Yes. When we are young we often make choices that are uninformed and uneducated due to the lack of life experience. Few people know early in life exactly what it is they should do with their life – they just sort of “back into it.” Change is inevitable and necessary. This is true for individuals, families, and anything in life. The question is whether we will embrace change or resist it – will we manage change or let change manage us? Doing nothing is accepting the premise that change will manage your life instead of you make a positive life-affirming change. This takes continued personal evaluation and honest reflection and most people don’t take the time to do that. Maybe today is the day to begin the change that is needed. As Thomas Kempis said, “The acknowledgment of our weakness is the first step in repairing our loss.”