Why do we resist change?Posted by in change
Change – we want it and resist it
Everything is changing all of the time – for the better and for the worst. Change happens continuously and consistently in each and everyone’s life, at work, at home and all around us and yet, most of us resist change.
What stops us from relaxing into change and enjoying what comes next?
Most of the time it’s fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of our own potential, fear of rejection. We like to hang on to what is known and familiar. We like to stay in our comfort zone because it’s safe; it gives us security; it protects us from failure and rejection – the very things many of us fear most.
While this can be a good thing, it can also leave us feeling stuck or stagnant in life, and when we suppress our inherent need to grow as a person, we can begin to experience low mood, anxiety and even depression.
The purpose of life is to unfold our full potential, to expand our comfort zone into ever-widening circles. Developing as a person means being willing to be open and to relax into change knowing that change is an intrinsic part of life, that change is life itself.
I used to feel very fearful about change and for many years I lived with a constant undercurrent of anxiety, which was tiring and held me back from living my life fully. It impacted on my sleep and the choices I made or didn’t make.
Some years ago one of my meditation teachers, a wise woman, said to me: “What would happen if you relaxed into your experience as it is and went with the flow of change that is already happening?” All of a sudden I could truly relax and let go of resisting change. I understood – not just in my head – what it feels like in my body and heart that everything is changing all of the time, inside me and outside me.
How to feel comfortable with change
When we turn towards change, relax into it, life becomes meaningful. The meaning comes from making the effort to expand our comfort zone and feel the fear.
Here are some tips to help you to turn towards change:
- Listen to your feelings when you go through change
Pause, breathe and become aware of how you feel about the change that is happening. Are you feeling scared, frustrated, annoyed, overwhelmed? Remind yourself that it’s okay to feel like this. Just sit and acknowledge how you feel without wanting to get rid of the uncomfortable or difficult feelings or allowing yourself to become overwhelmed by them.
- Be willing to negotiate with your resistance to change
Listen to the part of you that feels resistant. This is generally the part of us that feels fearful. Ask yourself: “What am I resisting”, i.e. what do I not want to happen? Often the answer is. “I don’t want to fail; I don’t want people not to like me etc.” You can reassure yourself by asking: “How likely is it that I will fail?” Or, “How do I know that people will not like me anymore?”Listen to what you need in times of change and stretch yourself in a way that feels manageable to you. It’s okay to take small steps to explore new territory outside our comfort zone.
- Develop a support system
Have other people with whom you can share the ups and downs of change. A trusted colleague, mentor or close friend. We don’t have to do it all alone. Choose people who you know well, who have your best interest at heart, who will listen to you; perhaps someone who has gone through change themselves.
And by the way: Autumn is a great season to see the law of change in action. As William Wordsworth famously said: “Nature is our greatest teacher.”
As always, I would love to hear from you. And if you need a little help to embrace change, do get in touch to book a free initial coaching while walking conversation in Victoria Park, East London, or via phone or video call.
For those who like the idea of immersing themselves amid beautiful nature, find out about my Coaching Immersion Days.