Feeling stuck in life?
Want to change your life for better?
Well, why don’t you change it then? Why don’t you take the first step?
… Easier said than done. Paradoxically, we want a change, but when the opportunity comes, our fear of change makes us do everything to avoid it. Novelty is tempting, but unpredictible at the same time. We envy others the ability to take difficult decisions, but when it’s our turn, the risk just seems too great.
This reflection came to me because I am seeking a major change in life. I’ve realized that in order to overcome my depression I have to quit my dull office job that made me so unhappy and stop dealing with those toxic people. I’ve already had some promising interviews, but the change is both exciting and dreadful, because it’s not just about the job. I’ve found an awesome opportunity which involves moving to another country and working with horses and people. Something completely different from what I am doing now, and that’s desirable. But it also means that I would be away from my family for a year, unable to take a week off to go and visit them (depends on the job). That’s where excitement intersects with fear.
Change is something most of us fear, and this fear is paralyzing. Surprisingly, it doesn’t matter if they are for better or for worse. Did you know that getting married and having a child are regarded to be some of the biggest life stressors? What matters is that there is no way back. Well, technically, you can always divorce or give your child for adoption, but it’s the kind of experiences that change the way you are forever.
Human mind is comfortable with the way things are – even if we don’t actually like the way things are. Only when things go really wrong we realize that we are stuck in an unsatisfying job or abusive relationship, but changing the status quo requires too much effort and the result is always uncertain. Our mind sabotages our attempts to change because we dread uncertainty more than anything else. The discomfort of the unknown is unbearable and is to be avoided at all costs.
Why Do We Fear Change So Much?
Your brain is lazy. When you get used to certain things, you spend less energy on dealing with them. Changes require extra effort and pose a threat because their result is uncertain.
Fear of failure. You’ve tried many times in the past and failed. Why would you succeed now? Fear of failure it’s not so much about failure, as it is of criticism and shame. We all crave love and belonging. But will I still be worthy of love after I fail? Of course. You may not be happier, but definitely wiser.
Fear of loss. What is comfortable feels safe, and we’re afraid of losing that sense of safety. But staying where you are doesn’t prevent you from losing something or someone.
Fear of responsibility. It’s not the change itself that we fear, but rather its financial and emotional consequences. When you’re a big girl, there’s no one who would come to the rescue if you make a mistake. And some mistakes can be very costly.
You’re not sure what you want. Most people know what they don’t want, and that’s already something. But avoidance of the unpleasant may not be enough to motivate you to change it.
What do you fear exactly?
You may think that you fear failure in a new job or moving to another place, but in fact it goes deeper than that. Name your fear of change and write all its aspects on a piece of paper. Then, think how you can approach them, and write that too.
What is the worst thing that can happen? And the best possible outcome?
Stepping Outside The Comfort Zone
It’s safe to stay where we are. But it’s outside the comfort zone where growth and life begin.
Change is the only certain thing in this world, and in the end, most people regret not having tried. I still do fear changes, loneliness, failure. I fear that I won’t be happy. But even more – being unhappy and living an unfulfilling life if I stay where I am now, wasting my time on Earth.
You will never be ready for changes, and the moment always can be better. So don’t let the fear of change stop you.
PS. What is so difficult about changes for you? Drop me a comment below!
PPS. If you wonder why it is so difficult to quit sometimes, read also: