We all say we want to always be growing, evolving into our authentic self, living our best life. Making that happen, of course can be another matter altogether. I think at the core of all our reasons is fear, keeping us from taking small and large risks that changing ourselves can and will bring. Differentiating ourselves from others, trying new things and acting and believing differently can really shake things up. Below are some specific fears that are very common, and understandable.
Fear You Won’t Do It Right. Sounds silly saying that aloud, but it can be true for so many of us, especially if we struggle with perfectionism. We either already have all the information and answers, and we pull this off perfectly (and overnight too!) or we simply don’t try. The bigger the change, the bigger the stakes and possible losses if it doesn’t go well. Change is risky, vulnerable and sometimes scary since we cannot control the outcome.
Fear You Will Be Disappointed. What if you make the changes and you don’t feel transformed? Maybe Others won’t like it? Fear of disappointment usually goes way back to when you were genuinely disappointed and let down by caregivers and other important people, or truly bad things happened and so you know what it feels like, and you don’t want to feel that way again. Your subconscious is guarding you from being hurt and possibly emotionally abandoned again.
Fear Everything Else Will Change. This is a more realistic one, because over time, other things will certainly change. When we grow, we outgrow behaviors and environments that no longer can support us. This includes close relationships, and perhaps the hardest part of the work, because it means loss. If those folks are not also growing at a similar pace, you won’t be able to relate to them the same way. They may act out if they feel hurt and abandoned. You may do so as well if you become frustrated that they don’t see the value in personal growth right now. We all usually want our cake and eat to too, and it doesn’t often work out that way. What we can know is that we can forge new, healthier bonds with folks who feel more like-minded. We don’t stop loving our family or college friends. We simply have a more limited relationship.
Something Else Must Become More Important Than the Fear. Here’s the thing. You can either let these fears hold you back from making a move into transformational change, or you decide that something else feels more important right now. Perhaps the emotional pain has become to great and you can’t ignore it anymore. Or maybe your body says it’s time, with the increasing panic attacks and other health issues that are often stress induced. The “stress” can be your internal conflict. Your body can only go so long before it speaks up. Or maybe big changes have been imposed upon you such as job loss, divorce or other changes that force you to do things differently. This is more painful but often a gift in the end, because without these upheavals you may not have gotten moving.
So embrace your fears, work through them, and then set them aside as you move through some wonderful changes!