Why is making necessary changes in life so scary?

Change is normal - Don't be afraid of it

Change is the process by which life continues its eternal flow. It is the continual reinvention of our existence the carrot dangled in front us to keep us doing what we do. Change is necessary and inevitable. It happens in every nanosecond of our lives from darkness to light, good to bad and ultimately in our creation and eventual expiry. Life and death are its extremes and when change is looked at in this context, everything in between is minor in comparison.

There are two broad types of change, firstly that which effects us and secondly that which we effect ourselves. Climate change, Global recession, illness, redundancy are examples of the more dramatic events that we have no control over. Ironically, while the impact of these changes can have an all consuming effect on our lifestyle they are probably easier to absorb as we simply have no choice but to get on with it. Personal change however, while insignificant in comparison can feel wholly more traumatic and difficult to implement. Our perception of this type of change is the fundamental alteration to our personal established norms. Furthermore, change is relative. For example, someone who lives a "wherever I lay my hat" nomadic existence would suffer the same anxiety if suddenly faced with the prospect of having to conform to a settled 9-5 lifestyle as a person who is forced out into the big bad world for the first time. In either case, the understanding they have accumulated, the rules, expectations and familiarity of their current existences have been gathered over a relatively long period of time and provides the comfort of integral knowledge and established routine.

Probably the greatest factor behind the anxiety of making personal change is that of society. If we really think about it, the anxiety of personal change is often about what others might think. The views of our peers and our perception of what society expects from us can appear to be a formidable challenge that makes the most insignificant alteration feel like a huge life changing decision. We work so hard to build our consistent behaviours for the greater cause and any change can feel radical and scary. We have already proved our worth and then we are suddenly faced with proving it all over again. Yet in reality, If you dyed your hair red tomorrow would it make any real difference to your life other than how your peers might perceive you. If you went for another job, your main thought might be what others think, what if you do not perform as well as you have in your current role? Whose concern should that really be other than your own.

The reality is that personal change is a perception. It is the concept of altering our lifestyle for the better. If an alteration makes us feel better psychologically and does not actually impact other people or other things then it is a harmless action that should be pursued with relish. It might be ones ambition to throw off their clothes and run around naked. This would probably be a liberating experience without the burden of other people's opinions. Obviously, in our prudish modern existence, this is taboo and would be seen as inappropriate behaviour. However, there is nothing to stop you from moving to a location where you can do exactly that without the prying eyes of others.

Personal change should always be a beautiful adventure rather than a daunting challenge. It is within our powers to maintain the clarity of mind and genuine purpose for altering our direction in life. It is what keeps our lives interesting and us motivated.  As long as it does not cause violent waves in the flow of life's energy, it can only make us feel happy and fulfilled.

Comments 6 comments

Joel Voges 3 years ago

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fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

lonestar77 said it all so very well! I couldn't say more or better......so I won't. I enjoyed reading this Jeffsaid. Your talent is amazing. Voted up..etc.


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Jefsaid 5 years ago from London, UK Author

Great comment lone77star


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lone77star 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Very nice, Jefsaid. Perception is so important. In business and relationships, perception might well be everything. This is how misunderstandings can occur--when the perception does not match the relative "truth" of reality. When a customer is mistreated or only thinks they are mistreated, perception is what rules the effect on the company's bottom line. That's why customer service errs by apologizing always! The customer is not always right, but then again they are.

The anxiety of which you discuss only comes from ourselves. We create our emotions based on events (both external and internal) and our judgments about them ("good," "bad" or "ugly"). And all too frequently, our emotions are affected by our attachments. With those attachments, there is a certain "inertia" to overcome. Losing a job might include losing a home, an automobile, or even a significant other. Inertia of attachments drags us toward a deprived future, while reality veers off on a dangerous tangent.

Beyond such attachments, we have the vulnerability of ego. Ego is a mechanism for coping with change. In many respects, it obeys the same laws of action-reaction which every other physical object obeys. It may even be the source of karma (the "live by the sword, die by the sword" phenomenon).

From my own research and experiences, I have found a different "self" which is not so vulnerable. In fact, it is decidedly invulnerable. I remember my father reading to my brothers and I a story, when we were young, of a monk in India who was mistaken for a wanted murderer. The policeman who spotted him commanded him to halt. When he did not, the policeman pulled out his machete and hacked at the man's shoulder, nearly severing his arm. The monk turned to the astonished policeman, noticed the inconvenience of a nearly-severed arm, used his other hand to pull the arm back into place, and said calmly, "I am not the man you seek." Then the monk turned away and continued on his sacred journey.

Did the monk feel pain? Probably, but likely he did not "judge" that pain the same way we normally do. I have found this state on rare occasion. The fearless lack of vulnerability is quite refreshing, but I've yet to get it to last. With this new viewpoint, change would never be scary, whether it be alien invasion, supernova nearby, or merely a mass murderer at my local grocery store.


PaperNotes profile image

PaperNotes 5 years ago

The only constant thing in this world is change. Everything changes, that's how we all know it. Yet when we feel comfort able with what we have right now, we ultimately fear the changes that fate will bring. It gives us insecurities that are sometimes too difficult to deal with.


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Pixienot 5 years ago from Clarksville, Indiana

To homosapiens perception is reality. In other words it is everything. If we can all train ourselves to be slow in judging ourselves we might just have a better perception of others as well as ourselves.

Good job!!

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