Integration Not Change

Integration Not Change

Change is something that I have often found difficult. Whether it be starting a new school year or even finishing one, the transition from one routine to another has always been somewhat of a struggle for me. I often have a few days of adjustment (as I’ve come to know them) where I get used to the change that has occurred - however big or small. I would equate this feeling to the time between Christmas and New Year, where you don’t really know what to do with yourself but you know that in a few days by the time you’ve settled and New Year’s Eve is close by, you’ll know where you’re at again. 

Change is something that has been on my mind recently because I have a few changes on the horizon with moving out of my family home for the first time and starting a new year at university. Because it has been on my mind, naturally I brought this up with my therapist, and she really altered my perspective on change.

Before our conversation, I had always viewed change almost as a ‘cut-off point’. In other words, I’d thought… ‘right, so at the end of the month I will be starting a new routine and have to leave my current routine behind me. Everything is changing’. I had seemed to always picture a change in my life as an ending of something, which always left me a little fearful of any change that would come about.

‘Integration not change’. This is something that my therapist said to me that instantly made me feel calmer about my upcoming changes and able to view a new thing in my life in a completely different way. What I have learnt about change is that one change doesn’t have a hold over all the other things in your life. Just because one thing is changing doesn’t mean everything else has to change with it.

Let me give you an example. In my mind, I had viewed moving out to university as living there 24/7 and not going back home until the end of term. For some people, this is what they want their uni experience to be (which is great) but for me, this would result in a huge change that would go back to my older strain of thought… one change meaning everything changes. What I have realised is that moving out of my family home is something that can be integrated into my life as it is now. I can still pop home to see my family (even if it’s just for a cup of tea when I fancy), I can still see my friends and do everything I am doing now. The only difference being, I live somewhere new.

What I am trying to say is that, for me, viewing a change as an integration of something new into my current life makes it a lot more of a calm prospect that allows me to realise that change can be exciting. I have been working on learning to love change, and this perspective gives me a more positive outlook on upcoming changes.

If you, like me, can sometimes find change in life difficult to adjust to, try finding time to apply this perspective to your situation. View a change as an integration of something new into your life rather than a change of every part of your life.

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