You must be the change you wish to see in the world.Mahatma Gandhi
How many times have you thought, or heard, someone say, “I hate change.”
Change seems to be one of those words, like confrontation, that makes us shiver. Somehow it seems to have a negative connotation, like it’s a bad thing. It’s something to be avoided. It’s something to fear.
So often we judge our fear of change and call ourselves names, by saying things such as, “I’m such a baby.” Or “What a wimp.” Judging our fear of change will tend to cement the fear into place as opposed to helping us tune in to that fear and discover what is at the core to help us to work through this fear.
What is it About Change that is So Uncomfortable?
As creatures of habit many of us love routine and predictability. Most of us find comfort in the familiar and resist changing our status quo. We must explore just what it is about change that makes us feel uncomfortable in order to begin the process of working through our fear and discover what spurs our anxiety at the very thought of a new approach.
Is your Fear of Change Rooted in your Childhood or Adolescence?
As a child, adolescent, or young adult, if we lived in the same place for a long period of time and were not exposed to much change, then change as an adult is unfamiliar and may feel uncomfortable. The thought of change may provoke anxiety.
If we experienced frequent change in our youth, and were not emotionally prepared by our parents to learn how to adjust to the new experience, then as an adult we may crave the need to stay in one place, physically, emotionally, spiritually, or relationship-wise.
- We might have heard messages like… “Don’t do that, you might get hurt.”
- Perhaps we had a helicopter Mom, or Dad, who hovered when we were exploring outside the family box of friends, games or activities.
- We may have lived in a rigid and confining household.
- Or our household was so chaotic, and inconsistent, that as an adult we crave “stability”. Even if what we are doing is not fulfilling and making us happy.
Is Fear, or Anxiety, the Primary Reason that Change Feels so Uncomfortable?
If we identify fear or anxiety as the root cause, then it’s important to know this, and honor these feelings. To connect with that part of ourselves, and look deep inside, so we can explore the origins. To begin to explore what that part of us has to teach us before we move forward to make changes.
Is it the Fear of the Unknown, the Unfamiliar, or of What Might Happen?
- What if I make a mistake?
- Is it that we believe that the enemy we know is better than the one we don’t and we have a fear of the unknown?
Often when we think of change, we consider the possible negative consequences of it, as opposed to the possible positive consequences.
For more tips on coping with change, please click on the link below for my complete article.
My wish for you today is that you are able to embrace the positive possibilities that can accompany change.
-Kathleen Dwyer Blair, LCSW, BCD
Director Nassau Guidance and Counseling