“Change is never painful, only the resistance to change is painful.” — Buddha
Are you averse to growth? I realize the question may seem insensitive, but consider whether you resist change by staying in your comfort zone. It is my experience; most people experience resistance when change occurs. Over the coming paragraphs, I will outline how we can embrace change as a foundation for personal growth. Moreover, I will show you how growth is essential to your happiness to achieve greater fulfilment in your life.
Change is the only constant in this life. It is evident in the seasons and all living things. Therefore, to resist change means to resist the personal growth accompanying it. Growth is essential to human existence, otherwise we remain stagnant and unfulfilled. As an example, intimate relationships dissolve because one party outgrows the other, who is unwilling to change. They don’t want to leave their comfort zone and do the hard work to heal and transform their emotional wounds.
To put it another way: We can learn to reframe our thoughts about change, instead of seeing it as a negative experience. We can look for the opportunities within the change and become curious about what is taking place. Most people resist change because of the disruption and chaos that takes place. They perceive it as chaotic and experience anxiety, fear, and anger. However, the initial part is often laying the groundwork for what is coming later. It is not the finished process and we should allow it to unfold naturally.
Get Curious About Change
“Curiosity is the fuel for discovery, inquiry, and learning.” — Anonymous
Is this something you’re willing to do? Could you distance yourself from the uncomfortable emotions and allow change to take place? I realize it is difficult because we feel threatened when something unknown enters our life. Nevertheless, I’m inviting you to become curious about the change instead of resisting it. Through our resistance, we create beliefs grounded in struggle and anguish because we don’t like what is unfolding. This may be due to expectations, and when they are not met, we suffer.
Here’s another way to look at it: If we can accept the changes taking place and trust life is unfolding according to how it should, we can let go of our resistance. Typically, everything works out better than we imagine and it is our thoughts that impede the change. Is this something you’ve experienced? Can you think of a time when you resisted change, yet everything fell into place better than you imagined? I’ve witnessed this on a personal level, to the degree I am now familiar with when change takes place.
Knowing this, I invite you to step back from getting caught up in the drama and allow the change to enter your life. Yes, judging a situation as scary and unpredictable is human nature. Becoming resentful and angry, especially when change is unexpected, is a primitive human response. I’m asking you to notice your response and avoid criticizing yourself when a situation doesn’t work out as planned. Even though change may not originate from us, it does not mean it is detrimental. In fact, my best experiences occurred because of unexpected change. I experienced deep awakenings, intuitive insights and gained wisdom through unexpected challenges. I now appreciate when change occurs outside of my control; the universe is leading me towards unexpected blessings. It is why I become curious instead of anxious and you can, too.
Being Comfortable With Discomfort
“Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.” — Anne Lamott
So, here’s what I’d like you to try: Instead of resisting change in the future, see if you can observe your thoughts and feelings about it. By noticing our reactions, we can better deal with change instead of letting it overwhelm us. I’ve been advocating that we become curious about change throughout the article for a reason. Therefore, when we experience negative reactions to change, we can become curious about it through self-enquiry. So, you might ask yourself: “Why am I resisting this change?” “What am I afraid of that I can’t handle?” “What could be the hidden opportunity contained within this change?” If we can redirect attention to ourselves instead of the change, we can learn more about what is unfolding. So, next time, we will be better prepared without experiencing the difficult emotions.
In other words, it requires observing our thoughts and emotions and distancing ourselves from them. By distancing, I mean observing what is taking place within us and creating a space around it. It requires detaching ourselves from the problem instead of becoming invested in it. To observe change from a different perspective, allow your difficult emotions to be present without ignoring them. People find it difficult to sit with their painful emotions because they want to get rid of them. I’m suggesting you can learn to be comfortable with discomfort by gradually exposing yourself to it. In doing so, your mind realizes the change is not a threat and your nervous system won’t experience a fight-or-flight response. You become comfortable with uncertainty and gain the resiliency and growth to accompany it.
With this in mind, your exercise over the coming days is to choose one or two changes taking place right now. Perhaps it tied to the pandemic, where you lost your job or had to relocate. I invite you to work through the questions I asked you earlier and become inquisitive about your response. What could be taking place regarding these unexpected changes? You may or may not know the answers right now, and that’s okay. Even though your situation may appear chaotic and displaced right now, could you see your situation improving in the coming months or year? See whether you are open to the smallest light of hope making itself known. After all, if we want to experience growth and the benefits of it, such as increased self-esteem and confidence, we must experience constant change and learn to be comfortable with uncertainty.