Do you find yourself resisting change even though you know it is good for you? Often we see it as a threat, we suspect it will create discomfort in our lives and we try to avoid this. It scares us. Change is a bit like the butterfly emerging from the caterpillar. We all want to be the butterfly but none of us want to go through the process of dissolution in order for that to happen.
A decision to change can draw resistance from others. Have you ever made up your mind to drop a habit, something that’s not serving you, or pursue a new path only to have friends and loved ones discourage you? They quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) frown on your new found enthusiasm. Their disapproval may have even been a factor in you keeping the status quo. You see, friends want us to remain the same because that’s how they know us. So it may feel like we’ll lose those friends if we change; we could end up alone. A kind of an unspoken threat hovers.
However, as soon as you do decide to go ahead with your decision the very opposite often happens. You find that many of those once stubbornly opposed to change have now decided to fall in with you. What happened was secretly they wanted to change too, but everyone’s scared to make the first move.
The body also needs change. Your brain creates peptides, which are feel-good chemicals that get released when you do something new or challenging, or when something stimulates you. You get an immediate high from doing it. This also happens when we go for a run or do exercise, but we still resist doing those things! Overall, the human race is very good at resisting.
So why do we have so much resistance to change? Well one reason may be to do with selective memory. We remember the negative aspects of change in the past, but completely overlook the many benefits it brought.
Often resistance to change comes down to desperately wanting to achieve our dreams, but not wanting to go through the discomfort of getting there.
We continuously create familiarity patterns. This is nothing more than arranging our life into a pattern that lends us enough sameness not to feel insecure. But too much leads to stagnation. Creativity demands novelty. The natural flow of things then is to break up the old familiarity pattern, but as humans we resist this because it touches that insecurity nerve. However, once we know what’s going on, and that life will rearrange itself again into a new familiarity pattern, a better one to serve our new needs, then we are okay with going through the small discomfort of change.
Remember when you were a kid and you were afraid to jump off the
diving board. You hesitated for what seemed liked hours. And then you jumped.
And how did it feel? Great. You couldn’t wait to do it again. As soon as you made that decision everything changed. It’s like
you pushed through an invisible barrier, and when you did something in your
brain was rearranged so that it was okay with dropping into a pool of water,
even liked it.
If you’ve ever moved to a new city or country you probably felt like a fish out of water in the beginning, and thought you’d never make friends. Then in no time you had a whole new routine, and met loads of new people. Now you couldn’t imagine living your old life. What happened was you moved from one situation that was familiar, endured a little discomfort, and then created a new familiarity pattern. And your brain changed in the process. That’s the really amazing change. The brain changes and grows new neurons all the time. But we have to work with it.
Just remember when you do change, what seems new and a bit scary now will become your new norm.
Don’t be scared of change. Embrace it. Ask yourself, what one meaningful change can I make in my life today? It doesn’t have to be a big scary thing like jumping out of an aeroplane. Just something that pushes you a little beyond your comfort zone. Maybe go up to a stranger and start a conversation. Decide on one definite thing, something that scares you a little.
And then do it!
There is a voice that doesn’t use words - listen!
Reality is merely an illusion - albeit a persistent one.