Change: the act or instance of making or becoming different.

Charlotte Evans, LPC 

Mental Health and Relationship Counselor

Feel Better, Live Better

Change: the act or instance of making or becoming different.

Do you ever wonder is there something more, something better, something more challenging or fulfilling out there?

One day this past February, I was having a very unsettled day. My husband and I had divorced almost a year ago, my children were not doing as well as they could be, and my Mother just moved to a nursing home. I had been alone in my private counseling practice for multiple years. I decided to look on a job listing website. Just to look and see what was out there. I really wasn’t looking for a job or a change, just looking.  I came across a dream opportunity in Northwest Arkansas. I thought why not, just apply, I knew I would never get called. It was nice to see what was out there. I felt so stuck and just needed to see if anyone might be interested in me. The next morning… Hello… I was called. What? Me? I was elated than scared. All I could think was OH NO!  I can’t talk to these people, I can’t move, I can’t change my life, I don’t have what it takes, I feel so alone.

What was I afraid of? Fear of Success or Fear of Failure?

I had never packed up and moved somewhere new.  I had been in Jonesboro all my life.  I had dreamt of the day I could make a fresh start.  I was getting that option.  I looked for every possible reason to not make this move. I even in my own fear tried to create problems. So, during my time of making the decision I went from extreme YES, I CAN DO THIS, to a very tearful NO I CAN’T!  Each step along the way during that time was painful. I think I was, at times, trying to sabotage it from the beginning. I procrastinated on calling them back because I was fearful of change. I chose to accept the job opportunity and the move to Rogers. In a short time, I had disrupted my life, my children’s life, my family’s life, and my friend’s life. What have I done? What if I fail? What if I succeed? Many of us go through changes in our lives. Some changes are welcomed and some are not.  Life is about change. 

Why are we so scared of Change? Even though we want to be in control of our own destiny we are intimidated by change.  We somehow let fear control us.  What are we scared of? Years of working with clients I have come up with several reasons why we are so afraid to take that next step. 

Fear of the Unknown: We fear the unknown and it paralysis’ us to the point that we feel safer not doing anything to change. We stay, we settle, we ignore change so we don’t have to feel. We allow our imagination to think of all the negative reasons to not change. We allow fear to keep us stuck because something terrible may happen.

Doubting ourselves: Somewhere in our brain we have this little voice that keeps us doubting ourselves.  It tells us we aren’t good enough, we can’t do something, we won’t be able to handle it or we just don’t deserve it.  For the most part we can control those thoughts but, when we are faced with a change we tend to lean in to these negative thoughts.

Feeling Alone and Worry ourselves: We get so worried about the what if’s that we don’t make any decisions.  We settle for whatever happens. We have regrets when the choice of change slips us by.  We tell ourselves it wasn’t meant to be.  We feel like we are alone in our own decision making. 

No other Option: We look at our situation and not see any way out or any other options.  We stay in a marriage, or a job because change will affect how we live, our family and friends, and financial security. Realistically, will you lose your home, will your family survive, will you be unemployed forever or will you be alone forever?  We allow ourselves to dramatically think of all the reasons we shouldn’t change and we realize we have to stay the same, because we have no other option to move forward, or change. 

The feelings of change: Anxious, Depressed, Grateful, Guilty, Happy, Abandoned, Accomplished, Afraid, Distracted, Resentful, Rejected, Pushed, Uncomfortable, Vulnerable, Nervous, Overwhelmed, Regretful, Fearful, Daring, Cautious and so many more.  Sometimes these feelings are flooded in all at once or in stages and we become overwhelmed. Seeking professional help in understanding and processing these emotions can be very helpful in making a well-informed change that will help you discover the true costs and benefits of the decisions that need to be made.

Have you ever experienced change? Change is a big deal! It helps to talk about it. Knowing what I know I still had to verbalize my feelings and get validation from someone I trusted.  It is overwhelming sometimes to dream big. It can change your life and feeling the change can be a positive decision that creates a new and better normal. 

“Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.”

King Whitney Jr.