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Spring has sprung, and change is in the air! The plants are activating, the creatures have stopped hibernating, and the heat is very motivating. Working at a disability resource center has taught me a lot about Spring and how it brings about change. One of the biggest subjects that I work with this time of year is housing. Now that it is warming up people are starting to think about transitioning and moving to someplace that fits their needs. The big underlying factor in terms of housing is change. Some people are easily adaptable to change and can accept change, without hesitation. On the other hand, some of us hear the word change and start running in the opposite direction. Throughout life we base our landmark experiences on this idea of change. For example, completing school, moving away from you family for the first time, starting a new career based job, or starting a family. These are all major changes in life, but they are necessary for our personal growth and for the growth of our society as a whole. Change is not always easy but there are some steps, provided by no other resource than WikiHow, that can help us more easily maneuver in this adventure we call life.
-Step one is to acknowledge your feelings about change. This can include speaking to someone about your feelings of change (remember to be polite!). It is ok to be upset about change.
-Step two reminds us that change is going to happen, weather we agree with change or not. Change is part of being human and is our avenue for growth.
-Step three is to understand that you might need to change your perspective about change. This can include asking yourself why change is necessary. When I had a spinal cord injury in 2011, forcing me to live my life from a wheelchair, I had a very negative outlook about the situation. It wasn’t until I changed my perspective that I was able to continue my life in a positive manner.
-Step four will piggy back off step three. Keep a positive attitude! Our attitude can have a big influence on our experience. Don’t accept what doesn’t feel right, and don’t be afraid to fail. Half our life is controlled by outer circumstances, but the other half is controlled by inner circumstances. A positive attitude starts with a positive outlook. Go inside your mind and find that positive attitude.
-Step five is to take a look at why change bugs some of us so much. I find that change makes me uncomfortable, and I do not like to be uncomfortable. Once I realized that being uncomfortable is inevitable in life, I was able to take steps and action towards being more accepting to being uncomfortable. With this step always remember to never put yourself in harms way and to be an advocate for your rights.
-Step six is to understand that humans are verily adaptable. Our capacity to change is greater than our capacity to stay the same. We have come a long way as a human race because of our acceptance of change. History has not always been pretty and we still have hardships to come. But we can be the change that we want to see in the world. It only takes one person to change the energy of a whole nation, like one of my heroes, Ed Roberts.
-Step seven is to manage our stress and anxiety by learning different stress relieving exercises or techniques. I use yoga and meditation as a stress reliever. Without yoga and meditation my life is night and day. You do not want to see me on a day that I missed my daily meditation…
-Step 8 reminds us to stay active. It is good to work, produce, and engage in our society. Sometimes it is difficult for me to engage in society when I am the only person in a wheelchair in the room. This goes back to attitude and changing my perspective. If I have the right attitude, being in a wheelchair allows me to light up the room even more.
-Step nine relates to step one. Talk it out! One of the best ways for us to think is by engaging with other minds and hearing what their thoughts are about a situation.
-Step 10 is all about action. Action can include creating a list. Making a list or writing things down allows us to put our ideas out in front of us. Then we can organize our thoughts in a way that allows us to reach the goals we have in mind.
-Step 11 is about thinking about others and how you can impact the world in a positive way. When we take the focus and attention away from ourselves we automatically change our outlook and have an understanding that we are in this together.
So go forth, without fear. Every battle is won one step at a time. I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself” -Leo Tolstoy