Embracing change does not come easily for most of us.
Why do we resist change?
Change is stressful. Frequently it is uncomfortable!
We don’t like someone else being in control. To feel comfortable and secure we need a sense of personal control. For this reason we resist most fiercely when change is imposed on us. Accordingly many companies consult change management specialists.
Being pushed into change often provokes anger and anxiety.
This is particularly so when relationships are ended or you lose your job for example.
We are hard wired to avoid pain and discomfort. For the most part, this avoidance lies at the heart of our resistance to change.
Change Feeds Fears.
Fear plays a major role in resistance to embracing change. More specifically, we fear what change may involve. For instance we fear the pain of rejection. Similarly fears about how others may judge us hold great power. Especially we fear regrets or making mistakes. Also, fears related to self doubt and confidence arise.
In particular we fear the unknown. We need to feel safe. Hence we seek a certain level of predictability and order. Rather than confronting the unknown, we tend to prefer ‘the devil you know.’ Accordingly we endure dissatisfying, upsetting or unhealthy situations. This includes work, relationships and life situations.
More specifically we avoid taking risks with the unknown. What if I can’t get a better job if I leave this one? Will I be alone forever if I leave this relationship? People might reject me or treat me differently if I change. If I stop drinking will I be able to cope with the feelings that have been numbed over?
Ironically, resistance often produces more pain and problems. In contrast, when we have an attitude of embracing change new possibilities open up. Finally, many people come to be grateful for the change. You’ve no doubt heard people say ‘I wish I’d made this change sooner.’
It is noteworthy that flow is much easier than resistance!
Strategies For Embracing Change
Developing self awareness and understanding is a good place to start. Begin with reflecting on what change means to you. What do you tell yourself about change? How do other people talk about change?
Are you unhappy with some relationship or situation? Do you yearn for something to be different? For instance in your job or relationship or some other life situation? In this case, reflect on the following prompts.
It is most helpful to write your thoughts and answers in a private journal.
- What keeps me in this situation?
- The changes I would love to make/experience are……..
- I’m stopped from making these changes because…….
- I tell myself …………….about making changes in this situation
- My fears in this situation are……
- I would feel more confident making changes if………………
You may also like to finish these sentences:
- I could make this change/these changes if I believed…….
- If I felt……….then I could do this
- Change would be okay if I had………..
- First I would have to stop ………………
- Embracing change would be easier if I started to…………….
Stop focusing on the fears. There are effective techniques to deal with fears!
Instead, focus on the potential positive outcomes of making desired changes. Imagine how you will feel. Similarly take note of what you could gain by embracing change.
In counselling, we can address any of your anxieties and fears about change. We look at what it would take to effectively make the changes you desire. Lastly we facilitate that tailor made process, working at your own pace.
This process often includes topics like self esteem and confidence, habits, dealing with emotions and developing skills.
Many people say they wished they had made changes earlier. Either in themselves or in a life area. An added bonus is being more empowered about embracing change in the future.
Call or email me if you would like to find out more about how I may help.