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Navigating Big Changes

Image courtesy of IMDb.
Image courtesy of IMDb.

In my last post, I shared that so far, 2015 is a year of big changes in my life.

This time last year, I was still at the helm of MentorCONNECT, the nonprofit I founded in 2009.

This year, as of January 1, the reins are in the hands of a new group of leaders – people I know and trust, but they are still not me.

This time last year, I was broken up with my boyfriend, miserable yet resigned, stoic yet heartbroken.

This year, we enter a new year together and we are – remarkably – stronger than we’ve ever been.

And these are just two of the really big changes accompanying me in 2015.

A few days ago, a friend and I watched a movie called “Birdman,” starring Michael Keaton and Edward Norton.

Aside from an instant fondness for the title (feathers are always a win-win for me), I found the movie itself somewhat hard to digest.

For instance, there were quite a lot of scenes with dudes running around in their tidy white undies.

Also, actors were portrayed as (yawn) self-centered, a theme I find both overdone and unfair (i.e., are actors truly more self-involved, or does their profession simply cause them to be unable to so easily hide that aspect of our shared human condition?)

Plus, frankly, I really thought the “Birdman” costume could have been better.

All that aside, the most beautiful part of the film for me was a scene where Norton agrees to play “Truth or Dare” with Keaton’s daughter, Sam (played by Emma Stone).

In the scene, she asks him – flirtatiously – what he would do to her if he was not afraid.

His answer was both violent and beautiful, and has kept me thinking for days. 

He said (and I paraphrase), “I would take the eyes out of your head and put them into my sockets so I could see the world through your eyes.”

Incredible.

And perfectly timed to remind me of my favorite coping strategy for riding out big changes.

Over the years I have realized we typically can’t stop big changes from occurring. Similarly, for me at least, just wanting a big change won’t typically cause it to magically manifest.

What helps me in these times – and what has always helped me – is to try on another set of eyes and take a fresh look at the world and my situation.

I can then perceive:

a) I am not the only being struggling to cope with an unwelcome or simply unexpected (even if very welcome) change.

b) I am not the only being who wonders if she can survive or thrive (or both) as the change unfolds.

c) I am not the only being who has felt equal amounts of fear and hope grappling for territory inside me.

This “your eyeballs in my eye sockets” strategy helps because I feel connected instead of isolated when I remember there are lives going on all around me, lives equally as complex as and complementary to my own.

The particular set of eyes I choose also matters.

I might choose my mentor’s eyes, my partner’s eyes, my best friend’s eyes, even a stranger’s eyes, depending on what perspective I feel like I’m not seeing that I need to see. I may even try on several sets of eyes until I find the insights I am looking for.

Ultimately, the goal of this exercise is to remind myself I do have support, I do have courage, I do have stamina, I do have persistence, I do have every reason to press on, expecting something wonderful out of it all.

Today’s Takeaway: Have you seen “Birdman?” Did you enjoy it? If so, what was your favorite part of the film and why? How are you feeling as 2015 begins to unfold – what hopes, fears, and expectations do you have of this brand new year?

Navigating Big Changes

Shannon Cutts


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APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2019). Navigating Big Changes. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 23, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/mentoring-recovery/2015/01/navigating-big-changes/

 

Last updated: 29 Mar 2019
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network (blogs.psychcentral.com) prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.