For many of us just hearing the word ‘change’ brings discomfort and a sense of unease into our lives. Is it because we get so used to the way things have always been that we refuse to believe that there are other perfectly reasonable ways to do things, maybe even better ways to get things done, but are just so conditioned to keep plugging along the same old tired way that we refuse to even acknowledge that sometimes we’re better off accepting that we need t change things up a bit?
When I used to work at an extended care facility and a big change was about to be implemented, our administration chose to hire speakers to come in and talk to all of us about the benefits of change. The admins and the speakers received an icy reception at best, we were after all caring for people, and our health authority were preparing us for some pretty large cutbacks, so that plan didn’t really work out so well. But a few things did stick with me, and while change still does give me some anxiety, I do tend to embrace it – for the most part.
Last night in a historic Canadian Federal Election, citizens did what many thought would never happen, they turned out in record numbers and voted for a huge change, one which Canada hasn’t seen in years. Some of you may be thinking, what does politics have to do with this blog? Well just the fact that a massive majority of citizens stepped up and decided that they wanted a really big change, one that even a month ago people thought wasn’t even close to possible, is mind-blowing. A change on this scale effects so many people and there are mixed feelings throughout this great Country, but the fact that it was even accomplished in such a massive way is staggering.
I think that sometimes we commit so strongly to a plan or a course of action, whether it be in a job, a political party, a personal belief about a certain social situation, that we hold tight to those beliefs; which is a great thing, until we leave no room for:
- Admitting that we may be wrong.
- Refusing to hear anyone else’s opinion.
- Allowing other people to choose their own beliefs and go their own way.
It’s hard to admit that we’ve been wrong about something for so long, which is why many people refuse to accept change. If we accept change without putting up a fight, we’ve admitted that what we have held dear has not ben working, and that’s not necessarily true. We are continually evolving, and it would just make sense that certain ideas and thoughts would do the same. When we choose the behaviour we choose the consequence and I don’t understand why people continually place themselves in a situation that doesn’t work over and over again in order to avoid change, but I have a few ideas why.
Why is Change So Scary?
- Change requires us to modify our lives somehow. Even if you are the most fly by the seat of your pants kind of person, you have an idea of how your life looks; change has a way of fiddling with this.
- Change causes stress, whether we perceive it to be a good change or a bad change, it’s still stressful to interrupt our routines.
- Even if you’re excited about whatever change it may be in your life, it may be hard to get other people in your on board with you, which can cause some friction in relationships.
- It’s really difficult to break up an old routine and get out of our comfort zone, even if that comfort zone no longer works for us.
- It’s especially difficult to break up an old routine and get out of our comfort zone, if that comfort zone WAS working for us and this change came completely out of our control.
How To Embrace Change
- It’s totally okay to take a pause and let things sink in for a little bit. Remember, your routine did just go for a spin and it’s quite a shocker when you think about it. It’s not a bad thing it’s just different. Take a moment.
- Once you’ve taken your little bit of a pause, stretch your legs out a bit and be open to some new possibilities. Stretch your mind.
- Be open to learning new ways, “Old ways won’t open new doors.” I don’t know who said that, but I dig it.
- Understand that you don’t have to abandon your beliefs and values to evolve in an ever changing world, but realize that when someone calls for change, it’s not always a bad thing.
- When you’re ready take a look at what is and isn’t working in your life and decide what you want to change and what you don’t.
There are going to be times in our lives when we are completely blindsided by something. These events are usually overwhelming enough to throw our entire balance off and completely turn us upside down; this isn’t the best time to make sudden and rash decisions. In events such as divorce, death of family or friends, loss of employment, diagnosis of illness and other devastating news, this kind of change is a time to lean on others and look for support for yourself and those around you. This is not the type of change that I am talking about today, and if you are facing this right now, please lean on those closest to you and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Step back for a bit, take some time to get some bearings about you and then look at the situation again with what I hope is a bit of a clearer vision, and support.
Change will probably always cause a mixture of anxiety, excitement and fear, but if we switch our perceptions just a little bit, we could make it a lot easier on ourselves, and everyone else.