Trusted friend: “I think you just have a massive fear of change”
This sentence sent me on a spiral.
I genuinely thought of myself as a happy go-lucky kind of person. It turns out… not so much. Any changes that I make myself are well researched, reasoned and thought-through for massive amounts of time. Often so much so, that by the time I’ve made a decision the opportunity has gone.
This is because, I hate change. No, I hated change.
I hated change because I like understanding the world around me. I spend a lot of time figuring stuff out, figuring people out, figuring out situations. It fascinates me. So when I have something figured out I stick with it. Take my 14 year old car for instance. Sure I saved up and had the money to buy a new car, but the me who hates change just kept saying no my cars fine, sure when it rains the floor gets wet but I know that’s going to happen. What was the guarantee that any new car wouldn’t have some weird quirks too? No surprises with my 14 year old car. So I kept it.
I pretended it was because I was happy with things as they were, but when I took some time to really think about it, it wasn’t that at all. I liked things staying the same so I could feel like I was in control. Which we all know is rarely the case.
And so I set about to learn about change.
It has not been easy.
But below are three exercises that really helped me see change in a new light.
Embrace a small change as quickly as possible.
Drive or walk to work a different route.
It sounds so simple, but it will just force your brain to think of something new (good for your grey matter) and you will see that you still get to work the same.
Try and embrace one change a week. It might be changing where you meet your pal for work, don’t keep going to the same coffee place go somewhere new, cook new recipe, try a new piece of gym equipment. Whatever it is, start small and build.
If you get really good, try one change a day.
The only constant in life is change. But some changes are more pressing than others.
List out all the changes that are facing you in your life right now.
Big and small, indirect and totally personal.
Now take a different colour pen and put a positive sign or negative sign against each one.
Take your time. Really think about which changes are positive and negative?
Are any of them both positive and negative?
A little example of mine would be the seasons. I live in a place that enjoys all four seasons in a pronounced way.
Winter into Spring is a positive change for me. I reawaken with that change in season. But autumn into winter is hard for me. That is a negative change.
Whenever a change is coming, there will be positives and negatives. Think about both. When I had to move house recently, I was so focused on the negative change of having to pack up all my stuff, I actually forgot that I was moving in to a much bigger nice space.
You cant change change but you can change your attitude to change.
But this will only happen if you give your conscious brain some time to process those changes you keep pushing away. Which leads me to…
Digging a little deeper
Take one of your big changes coming up that you are resisting.
Give your self some space and time, get a notebook out, set a timer and for 10 minutes write down every reason you have to resist this change.
Take a second 10 minutes, and write down all the positive possibilities this change might induce.
Have a look at both pages. Which one feels more authentic to your best you?
These things really helped me get some distance from my inner sceptical critic to see the truth about what was really going on.
Change happens. So make friends with it.