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Why Are We So Afraid of Change?

Change can be exhilarating, but it can be absolutely terrifying, as well.

Currently, I’m going through some changes in my life…Again. I feel like change has been part of my yearly routine for the past decade, so I guess I’m getting used to it. What’s odd is that I secretly love being “safe” and “secure”. What often motivates me to get past the point of safety is the desire to be more than just “fine”.

So many people hate their jobs, are discontent with their unhealthy lifestyle, and want to make a difference serving those in need. However, the deception of comfort and safety inhibits many people from living beyond “fine” and moving into the realm of “awesome”.

In addition to intentional change, life often brings us change, whether we like it or not. A relationship ends, a job is lost, a dreams goes unrealized, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…

Some people thrive when their routines are all screwed up, which, I must admit, has been somewhat thrilling in my own crazy journey. It can be adventurous traveling into the unknown, especially when the unknown is most likely better than the present. Yet, when life forces change on me, that is when I cling to my safety zone. How dare life be unpredictable and erratic!

Change scares us, change challenges us, and change rearranges how we see our world.

The old saying goes, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results.” That’s often my mistake. It’s easier to do the same thing that I’ve done before, rather than venture into the unknown.

I was talking with a friend tonight who said, “I just don’t know who I am right now…Ya know? I feel like everything is changing…” I could sense the confusion and fear within those words, swirling around like a tornado. Life was bringing uninvited change.

We have believed the lie that comfort and safety are more important than growth and change. Instead of doing the same thing that makes us feel “safe”, what if we allowed the change to show us a better way? Change can be a good thing when we make better choices for the next chapter of our stories.

As an on-again-off-again actor the past decade, I have worked a million jobs to support myself, which has required me to learn a million new work environments and a million new faces. After graduating college, the experience of working and dreaming of the next chapter was thrilling! A decade later, I’m exhausted.

Change requires more from us than comfort. Change demands us to adapt and to sacrifice our luxuries for what comes next. 

Whatever changes may be taking place in your life, there’s something we must remember: we can still change how we respond to the circumstances that come our way.

Did life change without your consent? You still have the choice to move into a future with unlimited possibilities. Sure, you may have no idea what those possibilities are ahead, but you certainly won’t find out if you settle into a place of hiding.

Have your dreams been unrealized by your current approach? If you keep doing the same thing over and over expecting different results, you might just drive yourself insane.

“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” – John Wooden

No, not all change is brought about by failure, but this quote is directed towards those who are striving towards a goal, yet are unwilling to change their approach after they fail.

My favorite basketball player is Jeremy Lin of my hometown Charlotte Hornets. I’ve always thought that “Linsanity” had a soft shooting touch, but this past year I learned that he was changing his form with a shooting coach. My initial thought was “Why? What’s wrong with his current form?” To a fan like myself, there was no obvious need for improvement. To Jeremy, becoming an even better shooter required accepting change.

When change comes knocking (whatever the reason may be), are we willing to to venture into the unknown? Are we open to change?

What are you going through right now that has brought change into your life, whether good or bad?

How are you responding to the changes taking place? Are you retreating to familiar territory, or are you making choices to create a better future, regardless of that which is out of your control?

Do you keep trying to reach a dream by the same methods, yet never achieving the goal? What could you change about your approach? Are you willing to set a new vision for your life?

Life will change without our consent, but our ability to change how we respond is completely up to us.

How will you change?