“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”H.P. Lovecraft
CHANGE AND NEW BEGINNINGS
Change and new beginnings can be terrifying, exciting, confusing, all of the above? But it’s something I crave. I can’t stand being in one place for too long. It makes me agitated, bored. I love the excitement of new places, new things and new people. On the other hand, being a little bit of a perfectionist and control freak, certain changes have the ability to scare me half to death.
I know other people on the complete opposite side of the spectrum. People who resist all forms of change. Don’t want to move apartments, change jobs, leave relationships…even if it is obviously in their best interest to do so.
Why do we resist some changes while welcoming others? Some people will fight to the death to avoid something that we all know is inevitable. And then there are people like me. So what is it that makes the difference?
DIFFERENT WAYS OF DEALING WITH CHANGE
Afsaneh Noori states in her article on LinkedIn that the top four reasons for the difference are as follows; Our perception and attitude, Impact of the change on our life, Our environment and Our personal characteristics and core values. I’m going to break those down a bit.
1. Our perception and attitude
What kind of an outlook do you have on life? Do you see the glass half full? Or half empty?
If you are the kind of person who always thinks that the worst thing possible is inevitable…chances are you aren’t going to be a fan of change. But, on the other hand, if you believe that anything is possible and look for the good in all situations, change is just another adventure for you.
2. Impact of the change on our life
How much will this effect our life in the whole? Is it something huge? Like the death of a loved one? Or something smaller? Like a new car?
If it’s a small change you most likely won’t be as fearful, if at all. The bigger the change the bigger the effect on your life, meaning the more uncertainty your brain has to deal with.
3. Our environment
Where do you live? Do you feel safe and comfortable there? Are you surrounded by people who you know and love? Or are you isolated?
When we are surrounded by loved ones and feel supported, it is easier to face almost anything. If you have just moved to a new country where you don’t know anyone.. it will most likely be a little harder.
4. Our personal characteristics and core values
Are you optimistic? Do you feel like change gets in the way of your goals or does it excite you?
Who we are as a person will always make a difference in how we deal with big life issues. Everyone is different and will deal with change in a different way. The most important thing is to find a way to make it work for you and not against you.
THE COMFORT OF CERTAINTY
Colette Carlson discussed the fact that,”Even as adults, most of us don’t choose change. We get comfortable with our routines, our lives, our friends, our cocktail of choice, even our routes to work, and any detour can be a source of frustration, fear and stress—we prefer the security of what we know. But change is unavoidable, and how we react to it determines the outcome, good or bad.”
Our fear of change can be related to many different things. But in most circumstances, it ties back to a fear of failure, or of success. A fear of rejection, or criticism. Or even just a fear of the unknown.
“Uncertainty registers (in a part of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex) as an error, gap, or tension: something that must be corrected before one can feel comfortable again. That is why people crave certainty. Not knowing what will happen next can be profoundly debilitating because it requires extra neural energy. This diminishes memory, undermines performance, and disengages people from the present.” David Rock, “The Neuroscience of Leadership”
So, once we know this, how do we deal with it? Colette Carlson points out that there are three main ways to deal with change. The first, is to remain inactive about it. Some people hate change so much that they are able to convince themselves that denial is the best option in dealing with change.
So, say my car was to start acting a little funny. And then my check engine light came on. One of these people would just ignore it and decide that if something were to go wrong…which it almost definitely will..they would deal with it when it happens.
In doing this, they make the situation ten times worse and more expensive. By putting it off, they leave all the scheduling in someone else’s hands. They may damage the car further in the process of driving it in bad shape, and then will need to pay more once it breaks down all the way. They will most likely need to purchase a rental car because they will not have planned in advance for rides to any important meetings or events they have scheduled.
The second way to deal with change is the way I most often do, and that is by being reactive. My anxiety can really get to me sometimes. And because of this I sometimes make rushed decisions without all of the necessary information. I do this in order to quickly end the stressful situation.
In doing this, I often don’t get to do as much research as I would like to and spend more money than I need to, as well as not always buying the perfect product, or making the correct decision.
BE PROACTIVE AND POSITIVE WHEN DEALING WITH CHANGE
The third and by far the most effective way to deal with change is to deal with it proactively and positively. If you just take your time. Do your research and plan things thoroughly. You will make sure to make the right decision every time. AND, you won’t feel rushed.
The more in control you feel about the change. The more positive you feel about it. Nobody likes to feel like someone else is in the drivers seat of their life. Take control of what you can and let go of the rest.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PERSPECTIVE
It is important to realize that a positive outcome of our circumstances are entirely decided by us. A good starting block is always to analyze the situation. Figure out what it is that scares or excites you about this change.
Knowing why you react a certain way to a situation is a powerful thing. If you know what causes a reaction, you can analyze it and change your pattern. That is one of the most important things I have learned in life. Your feelings are not always controllable, but your reactions to them are.
MAKING THE CHANGE/ MAKING A PLAN
But, knowing why you do something and doing something about it are two entirely different things. When I am confronted with a change to my routine or life, I start by writing a list.
I write down what the change is. How I feel about it and what would ultimately be affected in my life by it. Both negatively and positively. Then I try and change the negatives to positives.
I find having everything in front of me and on paper is really helpful. Plus, it can be fun to look back at things I was terrified by that turned out fine at a later date. 🙂
Once you have the knowledge of why you are fearful, a general understanding of what the possible outcomes of the change you are facing might be and a plan to move forward ready to go: things normally just fall into place after that.
“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.”Jim Rohn
Written by- Cat Darling – of Beauty, Brains, and Sarcasm
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