"Walking naked in the land of uncertainty" - Robert Quinn
Having watched myself and so many others intimately dealing with change I understand what a daunting process it can be.
Any change positive or negative is hard for us to embrace. I think it's because most of us build our identity around knowledge and competence. We tenaciously hold on to these abilities as though our life depends on them, and change would mean a shift away from who we are. So even making a small change feels awkward, disorienting and makes us feel glaringly exposed.
We have our old self that we know, consciously, must go and there is the new emerging self that part of us wishes to walk towards. It is this reconciliation that is tough. Inertia is also a powerful force.... it's easier to keep doing what you've always done. It might drive us crazy but it's a known crazy, like when we're comfortable in our discomfort.
We ask ourselves, "what will happen if I change? I might find out something about myself I can't face. It's going to make me give up what I can't bear to lose like a person, or a feeling or a belief. I might also fail trying to do it!"
Why is it difficult to change?
It is fear of some kind.... fear of failure and fear of success rank in the top reasons we avoid change. Then there is the fear of looking bad, foolish, stupid or incompetent which doesn't allow us to try anything new.
The truth is that no matter who we are or what the circumstances, we all feel fear...it's the courageous amongst us that take the leap inspite of fear!
Having the courage to begin the process of changing is much like jumping in cold water. You know it will be a shock at first, but after you're in it for a while your body adjusts and you adapt to the cold. It's more approachable...what was unknown is now familiar. Change means the willingness to look in the mirror and acknowledge parts of yourself that you may not know about or may not like.
The courage to change is a very real courage. It is the willingness to leave behind the known, safe and liveable for the unknown and less safe. In doing so you are shifting the balance, the control and source of power. It is the courage to own your life... to not blame others, to ask for what you want, to be aware and alive to your own life, to be responsive and trust that you have what it takes to weather the storms life throws at you.
It takes courage to be completely honest with ourselves about what's keeping us stuck. We need to recognise that the pain of staying the same is greater than the risk of making a change and it's worth facing the fear of uncertainty.
I have learned that as unique as our stories may be, we all struggle with the same fundamental fear and at times we all lose our faith in ourselves.
So, what more can I say?
Be gentle with yourself. Know that the courage to change is often long-lasting courage. It embraces the courage to make mistakes and to have life unfold in ways you didn't expect. While some changes happen quickly, some take months and years to manifest. We still need courage to keep going and keep building our lives day after day.
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