We all have ‘givens’ that are supposed to be constant, right? Well, what happens when the ‘givens’ of a stable job, stable relationship, stable transportation fail us? What happens when…
- You’ve lost or changed a job (whether your choice or not)
- You lost a house/apartment/had to move for some reason
- Your car is in the shop/have no transportation
- You just went through a divorce/breakup
- A loved one just died and nothing makes sense anymore
- You just went/are going through a personal tragedy
- You or your partner has an illness which will affect everything
- You are caring for a sick/older family member
- Some other yuck happens that I failed to mention
What then? What if we are going through MORE than one of these things at a time? One is hard enough! What if any/all of these things has made our lives uncertain?
Sure, we could fold in on ourselves and give up. God knows we will feel like it sometimes. We could withdraw from our friends, stare at the wall, never go out. Basically give up on life. I mean, if any of these things happen to me, the world is against me, so why even try, right?!
This isn’t really about CHANGE. It’s about ADAPTATION.
In Part I we will look at External Adaptation. In Part II we will look at Internal Adaptation.
It’s like standing on a dock. By the dock you see a rope hanging from the tree branch out over the water. You grab the rope and swing out to the platform a few feet away.
When a person has one change, they can swing out to the platform and, when time passes, or things settle down, or they get the job/the car/the house back they can just swing back into the familiar. Sure, the time away from the dock was awkward, but they are insulated from the enormity of the change because of the familiarity of all the rest.
But what if MORE than one of these things happen at once? When more than one change happens at once, it becomes not a change, but an adaptation. There may not BE a dock to swing back to from the platform. There IS no place of familiarity or comfort, or perhaps only a very small part of the familiar is available to comfort us. Even if we did some of the change on purpose or for growth it really puts a person out of sorts.
Why? Because all of our life experiences no longer apply to our new situation – to the little platform we find ourselves on. So, what do we have to do? ADAPT.
What is ADAPTATION? A Composition rewritten into a new form, a modification of an organism that makes it more fit for existence under the conditions of its environment which improves its fitness or survival.
So, we rewrite ourselves. We modify ourselves to improve our chances for survival under the new rules of our situation.
There can be a significant learning curve. One cannot expect to be an optimal performer in life (for anything) immediately. Through practice, and patience, we externally adapt.
We learn the new job over time. We find a new house/apartment/stay with a friend. We grieve and mourn and time heals. Eventually even the worst things come to an end.
When external ‘givens’ change, what does that do to the internal ‘givens’, the internal landscape of the person? How does this affect our sense of identity?
Read Part II to see how Adaptation affects our internal sense of identity.
Copyright Devorah Allen 2018. All rights reserved.