“For change to occur in us, we must be willing to enter the wilderness of the unknown and to wander in unfamiliar territory, directionless and often in the darkness….We do not need to keep every little thing under control. In fact, we find ourselves only by allowing some falling apart to happen.” – Maureen Brady
Change. The word itself might make your skin crawl, body shudder, shoulders rise up, and heart beat faster. Personally, it makes my breath shorten a little bit, and my stomach go into knots. Change, for a lot of us, is terrifying.
Why is it so terrifying? Well, because it is unfamiliar—that’s why. (I wish the answer weren’t so simple, but it kind of is). We are comfortable with what we know and what we understand- even if it’s not that great, even if it contributes to our frustration or unhappiness; WE KNOW IT WELL. Knowing it well means that, in some ways, we have control over it. We know what to expect, even if it is miserable.
This, in fact, is one of the reasons why many of us stay in unsatisfying relationships, undesirable jobs, and in unsatisfying situations. For a lot of us, it is because we are afraid that the alternative might not be any better than what we already have. This my friends, is what many people refer to as ‘playing it safe’. And if that’s you, I am calling your bluff! Playing it safe is total bogus. First of all, re-define your definition of “safe”. Does “safe” mean miserable, unhappy, and unsatisfied for you? Or does it simply mean “familiar”?
I was inspired to write this blog post about change because I am currently entering several large life changes all at once. At first, I was stopped in my tracks by the fear that can encompass us when we are leaving familiar territory. At first, all of the ‘what ifs,’ doubts, and fears made me want to run back to the thing that was familiar. My instinct was to take the decisions back, immediately! The fear made me want to go back to the comfortable, familiar life that was predictable. I have a feeling that a lot of you reading this can relate 😉
And then I realized that my fear was rooted in the fact that I was entering into unknown territory. I am leaving one job, entering a new one, and leaving one house and finding one more fit for my life. Literally, the ground that I am walking on is going to be shifting. Two huge changes that occurred in the matter of a few days! The universe was hitting me hard with a lesson of facing my fear of the unknown.
While it was terrifying at first and I wanted to run back to the familiar, I keep reminding myself that change is a natural part of life. Moreover, change can be transformative and help us discover new things about ourselves. I take comfort in the fact that my heart told me that these changes needed to happen. My heart told my brain; not the other way around.
If you are afraid of a change occurring in your life, rest assured, you are not alone in your fear. We have all been there. When the fear tries to paralyze you, breathe. Deep breaths. Listen to your heart, it knows exactly what needs to happen. It is often your brain that tries to convince you otherwise. If you can’t hear what your heart is trying to say, wait until you can. There will be an AHA! moment. We always know the answer in our hearts, we just have to be still enough to listen to it.