Change can be scary but it doesn’t have to be. Change is one thing that’s certain when it comes to this game we call life. Things never stay the same, even for those who try so hard to make it the case. Whether it’s a positive change like a new relationship or a difficult one such as job loss, transitions can be frightening.
Pushing past the fear is something you can do, though, once you understand the reasons for it, how it can actually benefit you, and ways to overcome it.
Reasons for the Fear
The biggest universal reason to be afraid of change is fear of the unknown. We feel safer in what we already understand and are familiar with. The unknown causes anxiety for lots of reasons, one of which is that this anxiousness is a protective measure. Our brains tell us that we can remain safe if we avoid what we can’t see, understand, know, or process.
Another cause of this specific kind of fear is the false belief that there is only one correct way, when in fact many options lie ahead of you. It won’t be disastrous if you make the “wrong choice” because there are actually a number of ways you could go that could be completely right for you. Don’t get hung up on perfectionism or absolutes. Self-doubt is another common reason to avoid change. You may think you’re not enough to navigate whatever life is currently throwing at you. That’s usually not the case. In fact, you’ve probably made lots of adjustments in your life before now.
Benefits of Change
There are actually more benefits to change than detriments. Truly. For one, the personal growth potential times of transition offer can be limitless. You’ll learn so much about yourself and your capabilities during this time, along with gaining new skills. The change also gives you the chance to examine your life and your core values. It can be enlightening to make self-discoveries that lead to becoming a more authentic person. The change also leads to progress. You can move forward and do better without things getting shaken up a little. You’ll gain opportunities through a transformation that you never would have had if you’d stayed the same. Finally, you’ll develop new personality traits like strength, resiliency, and flexibility when you embrace variation.
Overcoming the Anxiety
Let’s look at ways to overcome the anxiety that comes with the fear of change. You want to try to reframe the negative stories you’re telling yourself. Focus on the positive things that could happen, instead of the bad. Also, take time to process your feelings about the change you’re facing and try to determine the causes. This type of honest assessment provides insights that make it easier to get a handle on your anxiety because you can name its source. Another great strategy that works is to look back on accomplishments you’ve made during times of transition or instances in which you’ve gotten through tough adjustments. Knowing you’ve done it before can give you the confidence and motivation to do it again.
These suggestions are definitely not a comprehensive list, but they can get you started on the road to facing that change can be scary but worthy. Once you begin to do that, you’ll find your world will open up immensely.