Have you ever wondered why so many of us go along putting up with things we don’t like about our life, but doing nothing about it?
You see it all the time.
“I hate my job,” says a friend, “but there’s nothing else out there.”
“I don’t really like this house, but I can’t afford to move.”
“My girlfriend and I aren’t really that happy any more, but I don’t want to break up with her.”
It seems to be an accepted fact that change is bad. Scary. Not to be done. We build change up into such a big thing that we become paralysed in its wake.
We build up watertight excuses and beliefs around that change, to stop us from having to take any action. We pretend the change is a huge mountain that we couldn’t possibly climb, so we turn our back on it.
So we go on, day becoming week becoming month and then year, putting up with things that make us feel miserable, forgetting what it felt like to have our heart sing, because that might require change.
But then there comes a day when something snaps and the scales tip. We realise we have to do something. We can’t leave things as they are. And we take steps to make that change.
When working with clients, it’s easy to spot those who are ready to change – and do – and those who aren’t yet ready – so won’t. And nowadays I can finally see it in myself, too. 😉 And no one can force you to be ready to change.
Change can’t happen until the pain of changing becomes less than the pain of staying the same.
Or, as Anasis Nin beautifullly puts it:
And the day came when the risk to remain a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~ Anasis Nin
We build the fear of change into something of such great proportions that we numb out the pain of staying the same. We use all sorts of creative excuses and behaviours to pretend we don’t mind. We eat too much, drink too much, smoke, go out too much, get angry, drive too fast, exercise too much, even meditate too much – all trying to block out the pain of our reality, because we’re so scared of changing.
What Can We Do?
- The first step towards being able to change is to understand what – specifically – we are scared of.
Writing down a list can help stop our inner critic from creating even more drama.
- Then, for each item on your list, be really objective – is it “real” – or is it just the projection of a scared Ego-mind?
Usually we find that very little of it is real.
- Once you have got your fears back under control, you can start looking at the excuses you’re using to avoid having to change.
They’re usually deeply-held beliefs that we picked up years ago, that protect us from ever having to get out of our comfort zone… Wayne Dyer has a great audio CD on how to let go of excuses that have been holding us back (a recording of a 2 day workshop), if you fancy some support on that one. Have to admit I’m still listening to this set in the car and finding it inspiring.
- Then, it’s about deciding whether you really want the change. And, if you do, breaking it down into baby steps.
The Dalai Lama reminds us that if you stand really close to any problem in life, you can successfully make it look enormous. But if you step back and get things into perspective, it always looks smaller and more manageable.
Being scared of making a change is just our unconscious mind’s way of telling us the change is important to us, but outside of our comfort zone.
And yet nothing always stays the same. Change is an essential part of living and growing. Without it, we would stagnate. It’s being attached to the present and worrying about the future that makes it scary. And, deep down, we know we have a choice about both of those, don’t we?
What is there in your life, today, that you might be ready to change? And how could you take that first step? I’d love to hear your thoughts via the comments box.