Change: What A Pain!

Today at work a change happened that kinda slapped me upside the head.  There have been a lot of changes happening recently, and a part of me thinks I should’ve expected it, and even considered the possibility of me being part of the change.

So the change didn’t have to do with me directly.  But it happened to a coworker, someone I respect and look up to, someone I hope considers me a friend.  Which does, of course, impact me.  Thankfully I’m still employed.  But the change isn’t very comfortable.  It kinda sucks, actually.  But life goes on, as they say, right?

There’s a lot of advice or quotes or sayings or analogies or metaphors out there that have to do with change and how change is good and change is the only constant and the pain experienced from change is just God making you stronger or whatever.  Lots of good intentions, lots of great ideas and wisdom stored up in those.

So why do I still dislike change?  Why am I uncomfortable seeing my children get older and closer to being independent? Why do I dislike the way it feels to train for running that 10K this year, even though I can tell I’m getting better? Why do I dislike seeing friends or family suffer loss through death or divorce or just choices taking people in different directions?

What if we just allowed ourselves, or even others, a moment to simply experience the discomfort?  What if we got out of the way, what if we just gave ourselves permission to feel hurt, if only for a moment? What if instead of saying “I’m sorry” or “That’s sad” or whatever, we just say “It hurts.” And let that linger for a moment.

Human experience, I think, needs to be owned, we need to do our best to own our experience in a way that validates the fact that we feel pain.  Let’s not label the pain “good” or “bad,” it’s just pain.  Pain serves an important purpose.  Sometimes in our world of hustle- bustle- fast-food-“every problem can be solved in less than 30 minutes (minus 3 or so minutes for commercial breaks)” instant gratification, we expect ourselves or others to “get over it” or “keep your chin up” or “just keep slogging through.” Why can’t we allow ourselves a moment to feel the pain of change?

I think I can better honor and show respect to my friends who no longer work for the same company as I do by simply recognizing that I’m sad they’re gone and I’ll miss the camaraderie.  I think I honor and respect myself better by giving myself permission to feel pain and be sad about the change.


  1. Enoch Chapman
    March 23, 2015

    Pain forces us to acknowledge a situation that we may not be ready to acknowledge. Knowing that the pain is coming lessens the blow and may allow us to not feel the intensity of the situation so much. Knowing I'm going to put the 9-volt battery to my tongue let's me know the pain is coming and be ready for the "intensity," but when the pain is not known about and unexpected …

    The empathy you feel for those who are going through the struggle, the concern shown for the unknown of the situation, and even your own feeling of loss are all good emotional outlets to move through, but it's the overcoming the "sadness" where real growth can occur. It's good to acknowledge the negative moments in our lives, but it's better to keep trying to move forward and help those who need you more than your pain does.

    I guess what I'm trying to get down to saying is this, If you have friends who lost their employment make sure to send them my way at the LDS ERS. We can help out, even if it's just a shoulder to lean on during this time.

  2. tomachock
    March 23, 2015

    You're right, real growth can happen through overcoming. Yes, moving forward is important.

    But my point is that I think we too often skip the step of simply feeling because of the "fix-it" mentality. The whole "I ain't got time ta bleed" mentality and all the repression of painful experience don't help either.

    I am not advocating wallowing in the mire. I am simply saying we need to realize it's ok to feel pain or sadness at loss or change. Acknowledging that, I think, goes back to your initial point which is that maybe in the pursuit of excellence, when painful change happens, acknowledging the pain instead of just pushing through the pain might actually be a better strategy to overcoming the challenge and achieving excellence. Knowing that choosing to be excellent is actually an invitation to pain doesn't mean we don't have to feel pain when change comes. It may prepare us better for the blow, but the blow still lands.


Leave a Reply