In life, there are times and seasons. There are variations in weather conditions and nature changes with it. There are variations in when some plants produce their fruits. These have been designed by nature and cannot be changed. Change is a constant thing that is bound to happen. Failing to change makes everything look difficult. The fear of change is often referred to as METATHESIOPHOBIA. This is the fear of change or the fear of changes happening around a person. Charles Darwin said “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most adaptable to change.” In life, there are no sure things, i.e., there are no guarantees or certainties. The only constant thing is CHANGE.
When we have fear of change, moving forward becomes difficult. The person is on the verge of being left behind, because that person will be living in the past. Change in life is sometimes scary because the outcome is unknown. So, we tend to avoid change until life itself forces us to change. This is not our fault because it’s the way the brain has been wired. The brain tends to favor a known and negative or averagely good outcome over an uncertain future. In most cases, where to start from is the question most people ask themselves. Although we reject uncertainties as outcomes, the truth is that we have the skill and ability to effect this change. When the fear of change grips our hearts, it takes away all the strength that we have, the ambitions, the goals, our visions, and then we lose purpose.
Fear exists but it is not real. Fear is an imaginary scenario created in our minds based on the stories we have read or heard, millions of thoughts flowing through our minds, and negative advice that was given to us. It makes us feel like our life and world is out of control. Change might be less painful if it’s prepared for. This means that once we are prepared for a change in our life, it will be easy to proceed differently and adapt, but when life forces us to make changes, it leaves us with the feeling that we lost something. Human nature likes routine and resists change. There are so many factors that could cause a man’s inability to accept change, and they include past experiences, traumatic events, lack of sustainable resources, etc.
Reasons why we have fear of change.
Fear of failure:
The fear of failure is one of the key reasons we reject the change. Failure is normal and it is part of life. In making changes, the outcome is unknown, and this can bring up the thought of what if this thing fails. The reason why some people don’t take a risk or do anything that is outside their routine is the fear of failure. I have heard people say they can’t go into relationships because the lover could cheat on them and they do not know how they would handle such disappointment. Also, for some people, the fear of leaving their current lover or job to start all over again is keeping them in their current bad situation.
Fear of new things the change might come with:
This is also one of the reasons why we fear change. The change will come with new things, and we cannot turn away or back down from the change. For instance, if the change is to travel from one country to another, there are new things that will come with this. In the new country, you are not known (i.e., no or few relatives except your immediate family members), new cultural beliefs, a new way of life, new food, new weather, new government policies, and so on. You must be willing to adapt to these changes.
Lack of sustainable resources: This affects the people who live from hand to mouth. Not having sustainable resources can bring fear of change in their hearts which can make them feel they would lose the little they have if they bend to changes. Also, the lack of resources might affect planning. It is possible that the changes we are making are risk-taking changes, and we might want to plan for the worst, or at least have a backup plan if the change falls through.
HOW TO OVERCOME THE FEAR OF CHANGE
Be bold and take chances: One of the things that fear does is that it holds us back from taking chances. To overcome this, you must be bold enough to face the fears and take the chances you have. Once you are bold enough to face your fears and you are ready to take bold steps, fear begins to fade away. The questions that some people keep asking themselves in moments of change (example: How can I start all over again? Where do I start from?) all become answered once they take a bold step. Visions become clearer once we refuse to be held back by fear of the unknown.
Get rid of anxiety and negative thoughts:
Anxiety and negative thoughts are the roots of fear. If you discover that you need medical help, do not hesitate to visit the appropriate resources. Get rid of things that might be associated with negative thoughts around you.
Celebrate and accept who you are: Celebrating yourself releases a new flow of hope in you. It helps you to see beyond the present and be focused on the future. Fear of change is not a mental illness or a sign of weakness. It has to do with us accepting change as part of what life brings. Learn to celebrate victories and success no matter how small they are. It encourages you to want to do more. Always remember that nobody is perfect and that you are not the only one passing through such challenges. Someone close to me always makes an analogy in which we all are brought to a round.
- table meeting and we are allowed to discuss what problems and situations we are passing through; we would be stunned and leave happy after the meeting. This is because no matter how hard your situation might be, when you hear about others, you will be shocked.
- Be ready for the worst: This is sometimes hard to do to for the worst to come. But what will you do when the worst comes? Will you allow it to overcome you or you will come out strong? Life is not a bed of roses; it comes with challenges and the unexpected can happen. There is a popular saying that states “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail”. You must be ready for the worst-case scenario in any situation. We are in a world filled with disappointment and the best way to deal with that is to prepare for it.
- Don’t try to please others: Us trying to please others or trying to attain a level of acceptance from people can increase our chances of failing, which when this happens consistently, will lead to breakdown and failure to advance. Don’t fake happiness, because those you are trying to please are living their own life and they are enjoying it. Don’t be forced to crying in silence when you can still say no. Avoid living to please others.
- Be Positive: I was, at a point, guilty of this, I always thought what if my dreams don’t come through? What if things don’t fall in place? What if my greatest fear becomes reality? I later realized that life isn’t fair to any man. Thomas Edison, the renowned great scientist who discovered the electric bulb, tried 1000 times without success. Someone asked him to give up, but he answered “I have not failed; I have only discovered one thousand ways of how not to do it”. There are several areas of life where people get knocked down. Some in their marital life, some in business, and some get knocked down by friends and relatives they trust. Failures can come but your role is to plan to minimize the effect of failure.
- Be a winner: Do you know that winners are potential losers who didn’t give up while failures are a potential winner who stopped along the way. Some made mistakes once and then refused to try again. That is the beginning of failure because, in the real sense, there is no failure in trying. Trying is better than not making any progress at all. Winners are always resolute. No matter how wounded and beaten a wrestler is in the ring, once he is still able to stand on his feet, the fight continues.
ARE YOU SUFFERING FROM THE FEAR OF CHANGE?
- Deep breaths often, caused by anxiety
- Incessantly lost in thoughts while doing something
- Inability to think straight
- Not seeing positive outcomes in issues
- Sweating and trembling
- Thoughts of failure and suicide
To become successful in life, you must be ready for change. Keep rising each time you fail.