“Never say never.”
I certainly try not to. In fact, if I ever slip up and hear myself using that word, I get an immediate little nervous twinge.
Saying “never” feels like throwing a challenge out into The Universe.
And you know how The Universe loves irony.
I picture it as something that doesn’t like to be told what’s what. Its ears perk up at the mention of that word and it says, “Never, huh? We’ll see about that.”
There are two things most of us fear (or, at the very least, make us incredibly uncomfortable): change and the unknown.
Lucky for us, these are two constants in life. The key to making them less scary is in understanding our capability to adapt. It’s built right into our survival instincts.
For example, I recently got back from a trip to NYC. As a born and raised, mellow, introverted San Diegan, that place is a shock to the system. Subways, towering skyscrapers, the energy of people that seem to always be in a rush, the sensory overload of places like Times Square and Wall Street. It was an amazing city and an incredible place to visit, but overwhelming.
I found myself saying, “I could never live here.”
There goes that nagging little twinge.
My first response to that twinge nowadays is a little voice that says, “Well, actually, yes you could.”
Because it’s true. I’ve done plenty of things that I thought I could never do. And I’m sure I’ll do plenty more.
The reality is that if I had to move there, for whatever reason, I could. People do it every day. It would be difficult and I would feel out of place for awhile. Then, slowly, I would create new habits and routines. It would normalize.
I might even end up enjoying it. Is that how I currently feel? No.
But, I don’t know what “Future Me” would think. We’re not quite the same person. She’ll have had more experiences than me. A different perspective.
With any big change there will be an uncomfortable transition phase.
It’s important to remember this about the situations we’ll find ourselves in during our lives because it doesn’t just pertain to where we are. It applies to who we are. Everything from the physical changes that we go through to how we’ll feel about things as we continue to grow.
We adapt physically.
We want to get fit. We go through the discomfort of working out, our bodies adapt, we get stronger and the workout feels easier.
We adapt emotionally.
We suffer loss and heartbreak, we think it will destroy us, we adapt to and process the pain and come back more resilient than before.
We adapt mentally.
We experience life events that broaden our perspectives and drag us out of our boxes, we adapt to the curveballs that life throws us, and we develop depth and maturity.
Regularly using the word “never” is a sign that your mind is resistant.
The more we resist the situations that life presents us, the more pain we cause ourselves in the process of having to adapt to them.
Obviously, it’s alright to say “never” to negative and harmful things in life. I’m talking about using that word to close your mind to different and potentially good opportunities or getting into the mental habit of telling yourself that you can’t (or won’t) do things.
And just because you managed to adapt to something does not mean that you’ve decided that this new state is right for you. It just means that you can handle it.
There is so much strength to be gained from that realization.
The Universe will take any opportunity to show you that, sometimes, you have no control over “never”. Sometimes you’ll end up proving to yourself that you are capable of more than you thought.
So, what can you do to make the adaptation process easier?
Ground yourself with something that comforts you, create new routines for yourself, remember that the transition is the hardest part, look towards long-term reward, and be patient.
Take comfort in the fact that you are more adaptable than you realize.