Finding Joy: Kinesiology expert Antonia Beamish on how to navigate change
Experiencing change in any area of life can feel bewildering, but kinesiology practitioner Antonia Beamish has some brilliant advice on how to navigate the storm
This month I wanted to talk about change, not because it’s a fun topic but because change is quite literally what most of us fear the most, myself included.
As humans, we tend to like things to stay the same, because in familiarity we find comfort and safety. Yet, change sweeps into our lives like storms in the sea, causing many of us to want to run and hide.
Whether it’s a change of job, relationship, responsibility, home, career, family, life path or anything else big or small, once change comes, whether we’ve chosen it or not, everything has the potential to transform. Yet, it can feel deeply uncomfortable in the process.
Aside from the obvious upheaval, it means having to do something different which comes with a whole sideshow of fear around what could potentially happen, what might go wrong and all the different ways in which we might fail and fall.
Change, like an ocean storm, also has the potential to turn our lives upside down, throwing everything off balance and causing us to lose our sense of direction completely. It can feel like we no longer know who we are, where we fit in or what we’re supposed to be doing.
It is one of the most disorientating feelings when in the midst of it, which is why I want to tackle it.I feel pretty happy writing about change because I’ve had so much of it in my life and I know a thing or two about the deep, bewildering discomfort and uncertainty that leaves me no choice but to embrace it if I want to see it through to the other side.
And this is where change can be so golden. If we allow ourselves to feel this fear and ride the storm of change, we realise how capable we really are; finding a trust and resilience within ourselves that we weren’t even aware of before. This is the gift change delivers, every, single time.
Yet, the challenge in navigating change is when we’re deep in the mire of it, where it feels swampy and heavy, and the light at the end of the tunnel seems like a far-off mirage. It’s the middle point where we’re no longer who we were and aren’t yet who we’re becoming.
This is where we are tested most deeply and where we have no choice but to admit to ourselves that, while it feels pretty awful, we just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
This means avoiding the trap of toxic positivity, where we force ourselves to see the positive, despite the circumstances, which I personally find deeply invalidating. We are allowed to feel, we are allowed to admit to ourselves that life isn’t so rosy and we are allowed to feel a bit sh*tty. But we also don’t want to veer too far into self-pity and resentment.
As long as we steer clear of wallowing in victim mode, it’s healthy to express how we feel because it’s impossible to live a life of pure smooth sailing. Storms will come into our life and throw it upside down, but they’re not to be feared.
We forgot that life is meant to be messy, complicated and tangled. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t be living!
There seems to be this misguided notion that to feel is to fail; that emotions are messy, sticky and complicated, so best left well alone. But it takes huge courage to face up to feelings. Not only that, but to embrace them as old friends, as prickly and uncomfortable as they may be and welcome them into our lives.
That lovely cliche ‘to breakdown is to breakthrough’ is so powerful because it’s true. Once we learn to feel, we become more self-aware and can steer our lives with this new sense of awareness through any storm of change that comes our way.
So, if you’re going through a period of change that feels icky, sticky and horribly overwhelming, just remember that the worse it feels, the more transformative it has the potential to be.
Don’t hide from the storm, get out there, feel the wind and rain on your face and feel how alive you truly are.
Antonia is a systematic kinesiology practitioner based in Cambridge. Find out more at antoniabeamish.com
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