Why We Resist Change
Fear. Fear is why we resist change.fear of the unknown, fear of loss and fear of the uncomfortable. Every time a relationship ends, we lose or change a job or move to a new location, we are challenged to let go of what we know and what is established and comfortable to us for the benefit of moving forward in our lives. And this scares the hell out of us. We tend to see the fear rather than the benefits in these situations. But, why does change scare us so much? The answer lies in the way we have been taught to think about change.
We have been taught to think in a way that is itself unstable. The unrelenting thoughts that fill our heads are usually made up and negative. With this as our basis for how we perceive life, it is understandable that we are desperate to keep things status quo in order to feel steady, secure and in control. But, these are all illusions in a thought system that is unstable. Change is what is real, constant and dependable. That may sound like a contradiction, but look around you. What truly stays the same? Kids grow up, leaves on trees come and go, food spoils (well, natural food spoils), cities rise and fall, the sun rises and sets and even parts of your body regenerate completely over time.
So, change is natural for us. Change is something we can depend on.
Even so, some say that it is natural or normal to feel upset at or resist change in life and we have certainly been conditioned to believe this. But, fear about daily life events isn’t normal .¨ it’s taught to us. In fact, our reactions are only learned behaviors as we have been shown how to handle various life experiences by those around us as we grew up.
We can see this play out as some people react wildly to change and others hardly react at all. Being on either side of this coin comes down to conditioning. Of course, there is a certain amount of letting go that needs to occur in any situation where some sort of loss or change occurs. But, we tend to resist most changes, no matter how large or small they may be.
Here are some signs of resistance to change:
Aggression towards self and others
Emotional flare-ups that don’t match the size of the event
Insensitivity to others
Victim portrayal or attitude
So, what can we do? We can change the way we approach, perceive and respond to change. To do this, we must unlearn the false information we have been taught about change and learn the truth about it. It is time to see change as something that is natural, that works in our favor, that helps us learn and that moves us along in our life journey. When we do, we can embrace change and use it to assist us in our lives rather than to hold us back or tear us down. We deserve that!
Accept that Change is Inevitable
When we see a butterfly, we see a being that has changed drastically in a short period of time. We call that change metamorphosis. We are fascinated by the transformation from a caterpillar to the chrysalis to a beautiful butterfly, but we rarely apply this enthusiasm and amazement to our own lives when it comes to change. Apparently, we accept change for others, but not for us. If we look around, though, we will see the truth about change is that it is inevitable. Change is everywhere and it is going on every nanosecond of every day. Nothing stays the same. Change is, in fact, constant. And we are like the beautiful butterfly.
It is also inevitable that we will see some changes as more beneficial to us than others. There will be times when we understand the meaning of the change and times when we don’t understand why a particular changed happened. But, a key to helping you manage all of the changes that occur in your life is accepting that changes happen no matter what. Know that some changes will be easy and others will prove more challenging. Some changes will be planned and others will be completely unexpected. When you accept that change is inevitable, you can focus more on the benefits rather than the fear.
Not only are changes inevitable, they are experiences that add to your life journey. These experiences seem uncomfortable and difficult in the beginning, but in time they become easy and feel natural to us. Remember when we were all learning how to drive? It felt as though there was a lot to manage. There were all those rules of the road and keeping the car in between the lines, not to mention watching the traffic in front of you, beside you and behind you. It was uncomfortable, fearful and exhausting to drive in the beginning. But, we adjusted quickly and driving became second nature in no time at all. Now, we drive and barely remember getting home from work. Learning to drive was an experience.
We could find hundreds of examples where we experienced change and felt scared or unprepared in the beginning, but the changed happened anyway. We made it through somehow and what was new became familiar. What was difficult became easy. Open your mind and practice accepting change as a constant companion in your life. It may feel counter-intuitive to do this, but don’t give up. All beliefs can be changed. Your brain is going to help you with that. Then you can embrace change to see all of the gifts that are also inevitable.
The Precious Gifts of Change
Personal Growth. The number one benefit of change is personal growth, although I was reminded by my neighbor this evening as we were talking about the power of change that “change is inevitable and growth is optional” .¨ a quote by John C. Maxwell, pastor and author. What he meant when he said this was that change will happen whether we like it or not. There is always something in it for us that assists us in some way and helps us grow. There is always something there for us to learn. But, because of our mind training we often don’t see these gifts and therefore we forego the growth portion of the change. It’s time to change that.
More Flexible. When we stop resisting change and embrace it instead, we automatically become more flexible and adaptable to new life situations. This makes life easier for us and it certainly keeps that nasty stress level down, which pays off in the form of improved health and lots more happiness.
Makes Us Stronger. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” — Friedrich Nietzsche Enough said.
A Richer Life. Deep down, most of us want to change some things in our lives and make them better.
That may be a job, education, personal peace or a new car. Of course, doing the same thing doesn’t get different results. We must change in order to grow, thereby providing a richer life for ourselves.
More Opportunities. Fear clouds our vision. When we are afraid, we don’t see all that is available to us. Being open to change and even embracing it allows you to see new opportunities available to you. There are loads of things just waiting for you to discover and experience.
The Snowball Effect.
Small changes lead to more changes and that leads you down the path on your journey of collecting life experiences and moving forward. Start somewhere. Start anywhere. Make a small change for yourself and then make another small one. Now you are on a roll. Let your adventure unfold!
More Compassion. Change can make you bitter or change can make you sweet and if it makes you sweet, you will feel more compassionate, another benefit of change. When we go through drastic, life-changing events, we have a greater understanding of the pain and suffering others endure from similar circumstances. This allows compassion to arise within us. And with compassion comes patience and kindness.
Change happens to all of us. On a greater level, it is something we share with everything on the planet and in the universe. Not only can we use this information to help us accept change, but this perspective allows us to see each other as more alike than different .¨ more connected than separate.
This week, when you look at another person, see them with the fresh eyes of compassion knowing they are challenged with change just like you. Reach out to them with understanding and kindness as some changes will be modest and others severe. Doing this will help you manage your changes as well since when we do this for others, we are reminded to treat ourselves the same way.
With awareness of these precious gifts, we can shift our perception about change and see another side to it different from what we have been taught. We can see the advantages of change and choose to focus on these. By accepting and embracing change we can move through it more gracefully, keeping our health intact and giving us the chance for maximum personal growth. We can finally feel more stability and dependability in life. We can feel more in control since our response toward change is something we can choose. And most of all, we can finally let go of fear.