For many of us, change is something we yearn for, but at the same time fear.
This paradox arises from the twin desires of wanting change and fearing the unknowns that can come with it.
Thus, a fear of change can be broken down into specific, separate elements. Fear of the unknown, a fear of failing, and a fear that we can’t go back.
Learning to be OK with change means addressing those specifics. It is only when we master those three elements that we can truly embrace change in our lives.
How often do you say you’re going to make a change that starts well but fizzles out quickly?
Change is a commitment and commitments can only be made when we are 100% fully on board with them.
Therefore, if you are looking to make changes in your life, first make sure that you are confident with the following three elements of change, that hold most people back.
A Fear of the Unknown
This in itself is a contradiction. Fear always consists of the unknown. Fear is a feeling of unease or anxiety about things that haven’t happened.
A fear of failing
A fear of looking stupid
A fear of being hurt
All fear lives in the future. You might be afraid of spiders. However, it’s not the actual spider that you’re afraid of, it’s the actions you think it will take.
Fear can be so powerful that it paralyses people. If you’re scared of how your life might end up as a result of the change, you’ll resist it.
It is essential to remember that many things are out of our control. Whether we make changes or have changes forced upon us, we are rarely in control of the events that happen afterwards.
Remember, the results don’t have to be bad things.
In fact, being proactive and making positive changes in your life, often begets positive results. There is a vast difference between being the one to make the choice and having the choice thrust upon you.
Think about it. You can be the one that makes the choice to adopt a healthier lifestyle, getting exercise and eating clean.
Or you can be on the receiving end of a doctor telling you that you need to change your lifestyle or face serious consequences.
Which scenario would you prefer?
A Fear of Failing
Fear of trying and failing is a huge factor for people sabotaging their own efforts to fail.
In psychological terms, shame is a highly toxic emotion, as it doesn’t only make us feel bad about our efforts, it makes us feel bad about who we are. It can completely destroy a person’s self-esteem.
To combat the extensive damage of failure, people who have a heightened sense of fear will often self-sabotage their efforts in an unconscious manner, in order to lessen the implications back on themselves.
For example, if someone has a driving test they may spend time getting their car cleaned rather than putting in a final lesson. In this way, if failure happens, they can use the excuse “I didn’t get enough practice.”
You need to recognise these patterns of self-sabotage. They often sound like excuses and are used to justify your own actions to yourself, rather than others.
At the end of the day, the people that love you will support you no matter what. Failure is a part of life, but that’s not a bad thing. Failing allows us to learn and grow. It gives us a far better chance of succeeding the next time.
If you can change your outlook on failure from negative to positive, change becomes far easier.
A Fear of Not Being Able to Go Back
Otherwise known as a fear of letting go. This is usually present when we’re trying to make changes that have a high emotional attachment to them. Such as moving on after a relationship has come to an end, deciding to end a relationship, or move on from a place of employment.
Ultimately, if you are unhappy in a certain situation then it’s time to analyse the feelings associated with that and decide to make the change.
If you have thought about ending a relationship but are worried that you’ll regret the choice, then you need to look at the reasons why you thought about this in the first place.
Is it because you’re unhappy? Not sure you’re in Love? Don’t think they’re your soulmate? These are pretty good reasons to not want to be in a relationship. However, if the only reason that you’re not making the change is that you’re worried you won’t be able to go back, this is unfair to both you and the other person in the relationship.
This is true when the roles are switched. If you are the person who has been broken up with but isn’t moving on in case the other person changes their mind, you’re only hurting yourself more. That person has made their decision and the only way you will truly be able to heal is if you make the decision to move on and make changes.