Things don’t change; people do. Dreams and visions change. They sometimes grow and evolve, and sometimes decay, self destruct or just sit around and stagnate. Organizations and communities are made up of people. People change. Sometimes, they just get up and walk out, and never come back. At other times, they say hi to you on the steps every morning, but they are no longer who they used to be. Coping with life is difficult enough when things are fine, but becomes near impossible when you don't know if people around you can be trusted. One of the most difficult lessons in life is being able to accept that people, dreams, and visions change.Perhaps the most useful skill one can acquire is the ability to cope with people and change.
The reason this grief is so difficult to cope with is because it involves a loss of trust and dependability. When someone changes from someone you knew into someone you have never known, much of your belief in the goodness of the world can come crashing down. I know how it feels, since I have been witness to such changes in and around me, and I have bruised myself over and over again. Here are some ways I have learned to grieve and get over the one thing that is inevitable - change.
Acknowledge your feelings
It feels foolish to have been wrong, and it feels very foolish to have been let down by those you trusted. It is very difficult to acknowledge this feeling. It is not foolishness that you are experiencing. What you are feeling is betrayal of your vulnerabilities. In the process of living with loss, it is important to acknowledge your feelings to your self accurately. I have wasted much time trying to cover my feelings of loss and betrayal under a layer of indignation and false bravado. This is a part of the process of grief. Grief is characterized by the four stages of denial, anger, bargaining and depression. One has to go through all of these stages, perhaps going back and forth between them before one reaches the fifth and final stage of grief, which is acceptance. Know that your feelings about the changed situation are real, they cannot be wished away but will resolve with time. There is no magic button that you can press to feel okay about the way things are by 10.29 on Tuesday morning. Give yourself time.
The Questions are Pointless
The one thing that follows every loss, every let down, every betrayal is the tsunami of questions that never let up. How could he do this? Was she lying all the times that she said the things she did? Can they be trusted again? Will we ever be able to put our sincere effort out together? What have I done to deserve this? They come at you endlessly, every time that you are by yourself, or taking a break from things that would otherwise keep you occupied. A big ideological change in an organization or in a relationship between two people is usually accompanied with a state of confused emotions. No matter how cold and detached you might be, the awareness of being let down will be at the back of your mind. Your lower worlds will provide you with the questions ceaselessly and then provide you with answers to them too. This starts a vicious cycle of anger and self pity. You feel sorry for yourself, and then you feel angry that you are sorry. The angrier you get, the sorrier you feel, and it spirals downwards endlessly. Let go of the questions. There are a thousand factors behind the actions of the other person that you will never know. You will never know his difficulties, dilemmas or compulsions. It is temptingly easy to presume and judge, especially when you yourself are smarting from being let down. Ease up on the questions. Neither the questions nor your presumed answers are going to make you feel or act any better or wiser.
Embrace What is Emerging
When faced with a rearrangement of principles in the world around you, it is easy to get obsessed with how things were, how comforting and promising it was, and how wonderful the vision that you were fed on would have turned out - if only. This indulgence in soothing nostalgia robs you of the present and the opportunities that the present holds. While there is great comfort in commitment to a vision and to people and their visions, they also hold you back from exploring other options and alternatives. In the process, you might actually be depriving yourself and the organization of health that it could otherwise have experienced. When things fall through, instead of lamenting about what could have been, try and focus on the opportunities that are emerging. Are you free now to pursue some other line of thinking? Can the organization now do some of the things that if felt constrained to do earlier? Is there some energy that can now be allowed to surface? Can the vision be re-written from the ground upward?
Pack the Memories Away
One of the more complicated things about moving on after people and organizations change is the memories that get triggered by things and events. It is essential to value the contribution made to your life by those who were integral parts of it, but that does not mean you have to live the rest of your life tormented by what is no longer there. If things or the way things are done repeatedly evoke memories, pack them away, rewrite the process, and sweep the past clear. Especially in large organizations where many people can be affected by relatively small trip-ups or paralysed systems, it is essential that the past be packed away. This is in no way disrespectful to what is no longer there, but a step towards uncluttering your present processes.
Keep Bitterness Out
This life and this world are small theaters, and the people you meet on the way up might be the same people you meet on your way down. Our time is limited and the ultimate purpose of each one of our lives is to create the maximum value we can for ourselves, for our loved ones, and for each other. As morality matures, the driving force, the motivation behind the things that you do undergoes change. Sometimes it is not possible for one to understand the motivations behind another person’s actions. Moreover, our lives are interconnected in ways that we cannot entirely comprehend. Nothing that happens happens without reason. Do not allow your feeling of being let down, being left behind, or being deprived stop you from experiencing gratitude and compassion for other. Bitterness tends to eat a person up from inside, while preventing him or her from experiencing fulfilling relationships with others. You never know how you or the people you feel bitter towards today might need to interface tomorrow.
Our lives are like games of chess. At the end of the game, the king and the pawn both go into the same box.