(DISCLAIMER: All blame for all punn I share on this blog goes to my brother and father who brainwashed…er…taught me puns from birth!)
A man was buying a Mother’s Day gift for his wife. Including tax, his total was $19.00, so he handed the cashier a $20 bill.
“I’m out of ones,” she said, holding out two quarters, three dimes, and four nickels, “do you mind coins?”
With a terrified scream, the man bolted from the store.
He was afraid of change.
Melancholies and Change
Okay, okay, in all seriousness now, a dear Analytical/Melancholy friend told me this week, “You need to write a blog about Melancholies and change!” She narrowed her eyes, “Especially change they didn’t want.”
This is a bit of a challenge for me, as I am not a Melancholy Personality myself. I’m an Expressive/Sanguine; I bore easily, so I thrive on change! But I’ve learned from the wonderful Melancholy people in my life, most notably my mother, my husband, and my son, that change can be not just upsetting but downright debilitating for them.
So for all you Perfect Melancholy Personalities out there, and those of us who love you, here are my Top Ten Tips for a Melancholy Making Change:
Top Ten Tips for Melancholies Dealing with Change
1. Take Time to Adjust to the Idea of Change. You already have a plan. Because, by definition, it’s a perfect plan, the very idea of change is (to quote The Princess Bride) inconceivable!
2. Accept That Change is Inevitable. Typically, you will work hard to avoid change or deny that change is happening. You will go through a period of thinking, “This can not be happening! This can not be happening!”
3. Take Time to Grieve the Loss of Plan A. Change is loss, which requires processing and closure. Avoid people who urge you to “get over it!” or “hurry up and move on!” They don’t get you. Find people who do.
4. Focus on Self-Care. While other factors in life may be “falling apart,” you can maintain some balance by continuing and (if needed!) improving your exercise, diet, and sleep routines.
5. Set a Time Limit for Researching New Options. Otherwise, you may pour too much time and energy into gathering information. (One woman I know was so afraid of making an imperfect decision, she spent ten years researching and “trying out” paint colors for her house.)
6. Limit Negative Self-Talk. You can tend toward “ain’t it awful!” internal dialogue. You don’t have to buy into the whole “power of positive thinking” deal (most Melancholies think that’s too Polyanna.) But it’s also important to realize that negativity can spiral out of control.
7. Create Time and Space to Process the Options. Actual quiet alone time is vital. Get away for a one day mini-retreat during which you turn off your cell phone, get out your journal and pad of paper, and process your research via writing. Make lists of pros and cons. Imagine the best case and worst case scenarios. Write a persuasive letter to yourself.
8. Ask for help. Go ahead — pull out the dictionary: h-e-l-p. aide. assistance. succor. Succor’s a great word! It means “timely help and relief in difficulty or distress.” Change is difficult and distressing for you. Yes, we know you could do it all alone. But don’t. You deserve to have friends help you; they deserve the opportunity to support you. (And yes, you do need to ask; they won’t automatically know what you need, nor will they want to intrude. So ask!)
9. It’s Time to Make a Decision. You’ve done your research, not as much as you’d like, but it’s enough. Not because you feel like it is, but because it has to be. The time has come to make a choice. Bathe your process in prayer. And then “bless and release” the discarded options.
10. Move Forward. Don’t throw your neck out of whack by looking back, wondering, “What if . . . ?” or wishing, “If only . . . !” By all means, continue to learn from the past. But second-guessing yourself consumes enormous amounts of time and energy that is better spent adjusting to your new situation.
A Common Thread?
Have you noticed a common thread, here? It’s not by accident that half of these tips involve the word t-i-m-e! The Melancholy needs lots of time to go through the change process. That’s why she hates, and even fears, change so much!
Soooo, what did I miss, leave out, or forget?