Our tendency to avoid facing our fear of making changes

Half of 2024 is on the way passing, are you feeling stuck for not making the changes you want?  Do you feel fearful at the risk or uncomfortable feelings associated with changes?  A client of mine was informed by her boss that the company would downsize in few months, and she was facing the threat of losing her job.  However, she was procrastinating in finding a new job and was not motivated to plan for her future.  When I asked her why she was delaying job search because it was urgent for her, she told me that she worried about her skills being obsolete and the possibility of facing failure in the process.

When we anticipated changes, we might have unhelpful thinking about ourselves.  For instance, we might think, “I am going to fail” or “It’s too hard for me to make a change”.  If we fused with these thoughts, we might believe that these thoughts were true.  This already discouraged us from trying to make a change.  In fact, it is helpful for us to be aware of our unhelpful thoughts when we need to make a change.  Being aware of these unhelpful thoughts helps us to see them as thoughts only.  They are not facts.  As a result, we can let them come and go and bring our focus back to planning for what we need to do to make a change.

Our tendency to avoid making changes is also related to our fear of the discomfort associated with such move.  It is inevitable that we will experience discomfort during the change.  We need to encounter challenges and make adjustments.  In fact, fear is common in facing new situations and environment.  However, if we avoid facing the fear, we may reduce our anxiety temporarily.  In the long run, our fear will exacerbate if we did not face the change.  It is important that we embrace and accept our fear and discomfort during the change.  At the same time, we focus on taking the necessary action to make the change.  In fact, we need to expand our thinking that making change will also bring positive outcome.  We will also experience excitement, pleasure and sense of achievement.

For the client above, it is also helpful for her to clarify her values when she was facing the need to make a change.  If she forgot her values, she might feel reluctant to embrace the discomfort and fear.  In the therapy, she told me that she had a value of helping others in her career as she was a lawyer.  She felt fruitful for being able to help her clients and having a meaningful relationship with them.  As a result, she understood that if she delayed finding a new job, she would be unable to live her life according to her values.  As she was helped to clarify her values, she felt the motivation to take the necessary action and face her fear increase.  She agreed to start doing job search.

As an old saying, “If we try, we may succeed.  If we don’t try, we will definitely fail”.

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