ObjectivesFuture probability; Future forms review; Subject ** verb inversion
on the verge of making some exciting positive change in your life, when
suddenly you feel it: the cold, iron grip of the status quo. Even though part
of you is excited about the possibility of change — a new job, a new home, a
new relationship — there’s another part that’s attached to your present
reality, comfortable with your inertia. And that part is making it very
difficult for you to move forward.
of feeling a sense of happy anticipation about the prospect of change, you
might feel immobilized by a flurry of fears. There are so many questions: Am
I really doing the right thing? How will my family and friends react to my
new situation? Will I miss my old life? Or will I be overwhelmed by my new
situation and decide that I’m just not up to its challenges? What if I fail?
What if I succeed?
Burgo, Ph.D., has a few suggestions for moving beyond the anxieties that are
holding you back, and for building a sense of calm confidence along the way.
Barriers to Overcome
about the unknown. Change is always a little scary, notes Burgo. Even if we
are sick and tired of our current situation, or have outgrown it, at least
it’s familiar. We can operate within it and negotiate familiar obstacles with
relative ease. With any new situation comes the new potential for discomfort
and loss. Our worst-case scenarios and worrisome “what ifs” can keep us from
feeling our way into a better reality.
of failure. The fear we feel when faced with a major life change is closely
connected with shame, asserts Burgo. The sense that there is something
basically flawed inside that might cause us to fail (and to be seen by others
as a failure) can immobilize us before we begin. “Many people organize their
lives around never having to feel that, and one of the best ways to avoid [the
shameful feeling of failure] is to avoid the risk of a new enterprise,” says
of success. You may worry about how success in your new endeavor will change
your life, your friendships, and your feelings about yourself — especially
if, as a child, you picked up the idea that it’s dangerous to stand out or be
special in any way. If you succeed in becoming the “new person” you want to
be, will old friends abandon, judge or envy you? “If you are prone to a
certain amount of envy or resentment of those who are more successful than
you are, you may be particularly unsettled by the prospect of becoming a
target of envy or resentment yourself,” says Burgo.
of death. Though it’s mostly an unconscious reaction, we may hesitate before
big changes because, in Burgo’s words, “they tend to make us aware of the
passage of time in ways that are kind of unpleasant — they bring up ideas
about finality and death. When we’re stuck in a familiar routine, we lose
track of the passage of time, but the big markers in our lives really bring
into consciousness the fact that our lives are moving toward their end.
Hesitation before any big change — even a positive one — is normal, but if
you don’t realize this, you might interpret your fear as weakness or a lack
of courage. “You may tell yourself, ‘This is supposed to be great. What’s
wrong with me that I can’t just go for it?’” says Burgo.
over others’ expectations. If you’re making an unconventional change
(downshifting jobs to claim more free time or moving to a smaller house, for
example), you may worry that others will see you as an oddball or slacker, or
in some other way judge you as being “wrong.”
Strategies for Success
self-compassion. “Fear of change is natural, normal, and universal,” says
Burgo. Discussing your situation with a coach or trusted friend can help you
realize that you’re not weak or flawed just because change makes you nervous.
Make sure the person you confide in is someone who will acknowledge how you
feel without judging you or projecting his or her own anxieties. “Look for
somebody who will really listen and understand your fear of change,” advises
Burgo. The last thing you need is someone lecturing you or trying to
problem-solve right away.
what you’re giving up. Your former life served you well enough (and had
enough good stuff going for it) that you held onto it for a long time. It got
you where you are now. Taking stock of that, and expressing gratitude for
what has been, is an important part of letting it go with grace. “Every
change is a bittersweet experience,” says Burgo. So don’t expect to entirely
avoid feelings of emptiness, regret, sadness and confusion. Just remember
that, as with any transition, your feelings of sadness will lessen over time
— particularly when the rewards of your post-change life become apparent.
your focus on the future. “We fear change because it makes us feel out of
control and that our experience is unpredictable,” says Burgo. Seeking out more
information can help us get more comfortable with our future reality. You
might seek insight from others who have made similar changes, or dive into
books, blogs and other resources to gather additional facts and insights
about the change you’re anticipating. “You can’t control the future and know
everything about it, of course, but having as clear an idea as possible about
what your post-change life will involve can help you feel a little less
expect perfection. If you’re operating on the notion that your new life
situation will magically solve all your problems, you may be discouraged and
derailed too easily when obstacles and disappointment arise. If you catch
yourself engaging in idealized, magical thinking about your new future,
remind yourself that every good change brings some new challenges with it.
Here again, talking with others who have been through a similar life
transition can help.
past your fear of judgment. It’s natural to have some concern for the way
people view you and your decisions, says Burgo. But if you are deeply worried
or fearful that others will judge you harshly for making a change, “it might
be that you are projecting your own self-criticism onto them. You could also
be avoiding some ambivalent feelings about your choice and attributing them
to others.” By taking some time for introspection, and by identifying and
exploring those ambivalent feelings, you help quell them.
with old favorites. When you embrace a change, you’ll inevitably experience a
lot of newness, says Burgo, so it can be very helpful to comfort yourself
with old and familiar things. Maintain your well-loved activities, rituals
and routines. Enjoy visits to familiar places (or types of places). Make
familiar dishes. Replay favorite films. “When I’m in transition,” says Burgo,
“there are certain movies I always watch again because I know exactly how I’m
going to feel seeing them, and that gives me emotional comfort.”
faith in your relationships. Close, authentic bonds tend to endure even
dramatic life changes. And the people who love you most will want you to
pursue what is best for you. It is true that big life changes — from
cross-country moves and new marriages to shifts in lifestyle — can change
both family and social dynamics. But strong connections are flexible
connections. They are born out of who you are as a person, not what you do,
where you are, whom you love, or how much you earn.
in mind that one of the best things you can give others is the gift of your
authentic self — something that the big change you are contemplating will
help you explore and reveal.
and adapted from https://experiencelife.com/article/fear-of-moving-forward/ August,