As I have a new website and am a bit of a technophobe, this has given rise to all sorts of worries and discomfort. I knew how the old website worked. I had got used to it. It didn’t make me feel anxious.
This has made me think about how many of us are uncomfortable with change. I often hear clients say “I don’t do change”. I can empathise with this but in my usual way I am forcing myself to face the fear, whilst also anticipating that I may end up deleting my whole website!
Change happens all the time. It is part of our every day lives and it cannot be avoided. Fear of change can mean that we try to avoid it, leading to us remaining stuck in situations which make us unhappy. Many of us end up in jobs or relationships which make us feel unhappy and there is certainly something about familiarity which makes us feel safe. Lots of us are creatures of habit who are content to sit firmly in our comfort zones. Just the thought of stepping outside that comfort zone can be frightening.
We have probably all faced situations where unpleasant changes have been thrust upon us or happened to us, such as loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship, loss of a job etc. These are difficult situations which are emotionally painful and can often lead to us feeling that we have no control over what is happening. It is therefore understandable that many of us can develop a difficult relationship with change. I am sure if you really think about one of these difficult situations however, you will see that there was always at least one small part of the situation which you could control. If you really think about it, I am sure that you can also bring to mind many occasions where change has positive and made your life better. For me, I would say that deciding to change career several years ago and retrain as a counsellor, whilst a fear provoking time, was without doubt one of the best changes I have ever made. It would have been easier for me to stay in a familiar job, even though it made me feel unhappy and stressed.
Is it change that we are fearful of, or is it fear of the unknown? Is the unknown always scary? Could it be good? Sometimes things that we fear are not even real tangible things. Our minds are very good at filling in the gaps and creating “false evidence”.
If you think about it, you will realise that you have survived thousands of changes during your life. Some will have been difficult and some will have been easier but you have survived them all. Even the most difficult situations, which cause us the most emotional pain, provide us with useful learning. I often think that the things that we find the most painful are the things that teach us the most.
Rather than trying to avoid change, maybe you could invite or instigate some changes. It doesn’t have to be anything too drastic. Maybe change the way you go to work, make a healthier change to your diet, listen to some new music, shop somewhere new or maybe try to think differently about a situation which is currently upsetting you. The truly believe that if we can find a little bit of courage, the magic happens outside our comfort zone.
I have now faced one of my fears in writing this blog post and hopefully me (and my website) will survive. If you see this post, it would be great if you could leave me a comment so that I know that I haven’t broken the internet.