This picture was taken 2 weeks ago. About 1 week before that the lake was frozen. Today, not only the lake but most of the surroundings have melted too. There is nothing special about the process of change in the environment around us due to the change of seasons. However, the beauty of a change happening just before your eyes with such a velocity that it can even escape your sight and awareness is intriguing. Especially if we consider how the slightest change in our surroundings can affect our daily life. Walking over this bridge during the cold winter consisted of a rather small number of people trying to move as fast as possible to reach their destination. Despite the beauty of a frozen lake underneath and of the whiteness all around I would constantly find myself trying to hide underneath my scarf to save myself from the freezing cold. Those who were with me or one or two people we would encounter would do the same. Nevertheless, as soon as the sun came up and the ice had melted I found myself, together with about ten other people, almost falling into the lake by trying to see what was under the water. More people were walking around and I could finally enjoy the walk without the need for hiding. Climate can also function as an environmental cue: a trigger of particular behaviors, needs, desires which highly affect the way we live our lives. The sun on my face caused me to smile and stop to look around. I couldn’t make up my mind: Was it the snow that was melting or was it my heart?
Looking down into the lake I could see different street signs, children toys, and even a bike. My mind traveled in different scenarios that could explain why they were there and I could not stop thinking of the disastrous events that might have led to such objects at the end of the lake. A minute before I was happy for such a sunny change and now I was filled with negativity and fear on what change can reveal. I couldn’t make up my mind: Was it a good choice to get out of my comfort zone or was it a very bad decision?
I could not stop thinking of everything that had happened and that I learned about myself and others only in the first three months of 2018, and that just because I decided to get out of the comfort zone. And the difficulty in all of the process was dealing with change and processing it in a way of taking little steps to the life you want while you are figuring out how that life looks like. If you are in a similar phase, of being afraid of what change will reveal about you and those in your life here are two important advantages of the process of change:
Change introduces you to yourself and the surroundings
What is usually considered as the comfort zone the psychotherapist Mel Schwartz calls the familiar zone. According to him, getting used to a certain way of living and thinking does not necessarily make it comfortable but our brain processes an already known information easier. This is
the reason why it is rather hard in taking steps to make life changes. For instance, I am a person who hates the process of change. Despite being able to adapt rather fast just the idea of having to get used to a different environment (let it be natural – another country with a different climate for example-, work, education and so on) makes me very anxious and quite annoying towards others.
However, every time I have started feeling comfortable I have felt the need to make a particular change in my life. Doing so has allowed me to see my life from a bigger picture realizing where I want to be and sorting out ways of getting there. Many people consider that getting used to a change in their lives will make them lose themselves because they will have to act differently. Nevertheless, changes only make one crash the limits they have put in their lives and learn more about themselves by facing different obstacles, opportunities, or realities they wouldn’t have otherwise. Additionally, you will be surprised how much better you will get to know the people around you and their place in your life.
Change makes you immune towards unexpected occurrences
Causing a change in your life allows you to get used to discomfort and occurrences that you cannot control (which let’s admit are very often in life). Different changes can be, for example, starting eating healthy or exercising, moving to another country, starting a new degree program, changing your job or even all of them and more. By introducing ourselves to change eventually we will be able to remain calm and be more rational. We would be using what is considered as operant conditioning in psychology.
One of the main behaviorists who worked towards proving operant conditioning is Burrhus Frederic Skinner. Basically, Skinner claimed that by being punished or rewarded a person’s behavior towards something can be affected. It does not matter whether you have caused the change in your life or it happened unexpectedly either way, you will need time to get used to the process of change because it is not a familiar zone. However, if you cause changes often, by trying to get used to it and make it work until it turns into something good in your life you are training yourself to have a change in behavior. The reward you will be getting at the end of such process of change will allow you to have a better way of handling the situation in case of unexpected events. For example, I have the tendency to freak out over even the tiniest inconvenience but pushing myself out of the comfortability of the familiar zone more than once is making it easier for me to calm and try and find ways to turn things into my advantage (Me Days help as well).