Three Types of Change: What types might you be experiencing?

Nothing says change like watching a grandchild grow !

Nothing says change like watching a grandchild grow !


Three Types of Change:
Planned, Disruptive, Spiritual

by Jacquelyn Strickland, LPC


Revised from a 2006 published article called “Growing Through Change” 

Do you ever  think about the collective unconscious? 

It can be defined in many ways.  Carl Jung first introduced the collective unconscious in his 1916 essay: “The Structure of the Unconscious.”  He later referred to a “human collective unconscious” based on archetypes or universal symbols which he proposed were based in instincts and a knowledge that we share as a species.  The concept is also often also defined in more spiritual terms such as Spirit, God, the Universe, or a Divine Grace.

A Place of Comfort, Solace, and Quiet Contemplation are key ingredients of HSP Self Care !

A Place of Comfort, Solace, and Quiet Contemplation are key ingredients of HSP Self Care !

Do you ever wonder
….how, or if, a human collective unconscious might be working in your life or the people you know? I ask this question because it certainly seems like a multitude of invisible forces have been at work during the last several months, creating both wanted and unwanted change. (Readers note:  This last sentence was written in Summer 2006.  I’m not surprising it is still relevant today.)

Back in 2006 ,  I began observing many friends and colleagues who were being affected by some type of major change or unexpected growth.  It was obvious these changes required some type of course correction in the status quo.   This year, 2016,  I am aware of many friends and colleagues who seem to be purposefully involved in change, and they even seem to enjoy anticipating what might be coming next.  And it seems this year – an election year – the “collective unconscious” is working harder than usual.  I hope we can all be mindful of change and choose to take a proactive role in our own growth and development.

I’m grateful my own life has presented me with these similar kinds of changes : Planned, Disruptive, and/or  Spiritual Growth.  All have pushed me beyond my comfort zone and even though I struggled, eventually I was rewarded by learning to live a more authentic life.

A dream I had in the summer of 2006 is an  example of all three types of change:  Unplanned, Disruptive and Spiritual.  It was a very unsettling dream which left me feeling overly emotional, confused, and vulnerable.  It seemed I had no choice except to surrender to being pulled along an uncertain and unsteady current.   It was like being an unwilling passenger  on emotional roller coaster from which there was no escape.   I did not like this dream.  I did not like these feelings.  I did like that this dream heightened all my senses connecting me with unexplained, sudden feelings of love, connection and gratitude, even though also mixed with grief, sadness and regret.  This experience took me about 2 years to finally understand.

img_4247Resisting Change
In our current world, it is easy to observe those who are resisting change altogether.  Sometimes this is evidence by a struggle to hold onto the past – whether with outdated things, relationships, people or places ~  and yes, our beliefs and values. This usually arises from unfounded F.E.A.R. ~ false evidence appearing real.  It can also show up from of accepting a status quo which no longer serves a helpful purpose:  in fact, it may serve as a harmful status quo.

Planned, Disruptive or Spiritual Growth?believe

Is it planned change that you have initiated or look forward to? Is it an unexpected change that you didn’t choose such as major changes in your employment, divorce, death, or illness? Or, is it a spiritual type of experience that has challenged you to grow outside your comfort zone?

Planned Change
This is the type of change that one contemplates for quite some time, and it takes appropriate action to make it happen. This is probably the most comfortable type of change, even if a bit challenging, because it is something you have chosen for yourself and at least some of its potential rewards are known to you.

In this case, planned change can:

  • be motivating and energizing, giving us something new to discover and look forward to
  • promote our spiritual and/or psychological growth
  • generate resourcefulness and creativity
  • increase our physical energy levels

Suggestion: Be sure to celebrate your successes! Create small rituals that will provide special memories for this time in your life.

Disruptive Change

Disruptive change, on the other hand, is change that we do not seek out. It is usually change that is unexpected, and often feels like it is being thrust upon us and that we have no choices. This type of change can:

  • inhibit growth, leaving one feeling stuck, confused or debilitated
  • create a sense of perceived helplessness
  • increase tendencies toward anxiety and depression
  • leave us feeling isolated, misunderstood or lonely

Suggestion: Find a trusted friend or professional with whom you can thoroughly process your experience. Unresolved anger, grief and/or loss issues can arise much later or prohibit our growth in ways we least expect. Try to remember, “doing your best is always good enough.”

"Seek and ye shall find."

“Seek and ye shall find.”

Spiritual Growth or Change

A spiritual growth experience can sometimes be similar to peak experiences, though not always. Even if this experience is a positive one, it can be unsettling nevertheless. You might notice:

  • a deeper understanding of past events
  • a new found sense of freedom either through heightened self-discovery, healing, or forgiveness
  • feelings of confusion, excitement, fear or wonder — which can be combined with feelings of love, connection and wholeness
  • an intensified sense of awareness of the beauty of things around you – (Do you ever find yourself trying to capture the fly, bee or insect in your home to put it outside rather than kill it? :))

Suggestion: Bringing spiritual experiences into a present day reality is sometimes confusing and difficult. Giving full self-expression to your many thoughts and feelings can help you to feel more grounded and provide ways to integrate insights into your daily life. Again, it is always appropriate to ask for help if you need support.

Almost all types of change, whether positive or negative, can be stressful for HSPs. We can easily become overwhelmed by our emotions, leading us into a downward spiral if we aren’t aware of how we react to change.  It might be helpful in dealing with change if you can take a moment to become aware of your answers to the following:

“When faced with (planned change), (disruptive change) or a (spiritual growth experience) the (positive) and (negative) emotions, thoughts or behaviors I am likely to experience are ………..”

Before deciding to act upon any change experiences, try answering these insightful questions from Debbie Ford in her book, The Right Questions :

  • Will this choice be empowering or dis-empowering?
  • Is this decision based on faith or fear?
  • Am I standing in my own power, or am I trying to please someone else?
  • Is this decision for my long-term fulfillment or my short term gratification?
"The day breaks...this way." ~Jacquelyn Strickland

“The day breaks…this way.”
~Jacquelyn Strickland

The Highly Sensitive Person and Change

Regardless of what type of change or transition you may have experienced lately, we know that change for HSPs always presents many over-stimulating challenges. I think this is because most people see things as black, white and a bit gray. We HSPs, 15-20% of the population, rarely see things in this way. Instead we see and feel things on many levels, from many perspectives, with innumerable shades of grey. So when change does come along, we can literally tire ourselves out by processing the many different colors, shades, and hues of situations that our keen sense of intuition and deep perception present to us.

So, what’s an HSP to do?

After identifying which type of change you might be experiencing, here are a few other suggestions for coping:

  • Self-Care: Be sure to allow for extra sleep, long baths, time spent alone in nature
  • Be very gentle and patient with yourself, realizing it is a process you are not in control of
  • Observe and honor your emotions as they arise
  • Become aware of the many parts of yourself that are most affected and identify these parts as accurately as possible
  • Are there parts of you which feel vulnerable? Angry? Confused? Unheard? Give them a voice by writing.

Try to determine if the feelings are current or are arising from the past

  • Be very gentle and patient with yourself, realizing it is a process you are not in control of
  • Observe and honor your emotions as they arise
  • Become aware of the many parts of yourself that are most affected and identify these parts as accurately as possible
  • Are there parts of you which feel vulnerable? Angry? Confused? Unheard? Give them a voice by writing.
  • Try to determine if the feelings are current or are arising from previously similar or unresolved experiences?
Mother & Son ~ HSP Connection ~ 21st HSP Gathering in 2011 Photo by Kim Tyler hotography, Essex, CT

Mother & Son ~ HSP Connection ~ 21st HSP Gathering in 2011 Photo by Kim Tyler hotography, Essex, CT

Quotes to Contemplate for Growing Through Change

Caretake this moment.
Immerse yourself in its particulars.
Respond to this person, this challenge, this deed.
Quit the evasions. Stop giving yourself needless trouble.
It’s time to really live; to fully inhabit the situation you happen to be in now.  ~Epictetus

“Love is the acceptance of the experiences in our life. Power is the moving through them. Wisdom is the result. ”    -Nina Zimbelman

Each emotion is a message for you, a signal from your soul.
When you look at your emotions as obstacles, or experiences
that you would rather have, or not have, you miss the point.  you that is important.
The point is that every emotion offers information about
When you ignore your emotions, you ignore this information.– Gary Zukav

Celebrating changes.

Celebrating changes.

It is easy to be seduced by the idea that how things turn
out is more important than what happens in the process.
Manifestations, as desirable as they are,
are by-products of the soul qualities that are developed in quest of the goal.
The real question is not “How did it turn out?”
The question is, “What happened to your spirit as you journeyed?”    ~Alan Cohen

“The future is not some place we are going, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made.
(Note:  I’m adding:  The path can also be found.)
And the activity of making them
changes both the maker and their destination.”
(Note:  I suggest adding:  The path can also be found.)

– John Schaar, a sociologist and professor emeritus at the
University of California Santa Cruz

knowledge_heart

 

 

 

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