Let me qualify the title of this post. People don’t like to change unless they can know that its going to be a good change and takes almost no effort on their part. Most people would be glad to win the lottery and become a millionaire. However that’s not the kind of change I’m talking about here. I’m talking about conscious change to do something different in your life to make it better. Or even just make it different. People are very resistant to this for two main reasons: fear and loss.
So let’s deal with loss. In any change something that was or could have been is gone. You get a haircut and the hair you had and the style you had before the haircut is gone, and a new style appears. It will grow back, but there has been a temporary loss. You move to a new location and all your local haunts and all your neighbors are lost. Even if you can get back to them your relationship to them is lost. You are no longer part of the neighborhood, you’re a visitor who is, hopefully, enjoyed and appreciated. People don’t want to lose things especially if it is something about themselves. The only thing we think we can control in this ever-changing world is ourselves. So choosing to change is inside ourselves is something the majority of people resist on a core level.
As for fear, fear of the unknown is a biological imperative with us. We’re primates which means while we dominate our environment we are not actually top of the food chain and so we have retained our healthy fear of things that might hurt us or hunt us. Fear of the unknown keeps us safe from harm. However it can also keep us from healthy change that would improve our lives and help us be our best selves.
So if you contemplate making a change in your life but you feel anxiety around the situation or it makes you sad, first, you’re not alone, you’re supremely human. Second, neither of these feelings are actually relevant to the situation, they are just reactions to change. Allow those feels to move through and you will come to other feelings that are relevant to the situation, happiness, hope, exhilaration, terror, gut wrenching aversion, and anything in between. And perhaps this is the first change you can make to having a new and wonderful life: finding out you have emotions under the anxiety and sadness…..