Why do we fear change?
I broke a three year streak on Monday; for the first time since January 2016, I did not put a Vlog out on my YouTube channel. What’s more is that it was intentional. I almost caved Monday night, and was tempted to just put a short one up – a ‘Polly Filler’ if you will, but I stayed strong. Sometimes you have to break things, to correct them. Like a leg sometimes needs to be re-broken to set it straight, this streak needed to be broken so I could step back and look at where I am going. But where am I going? And do I really want to go there? Is change good, and if so, why do we fear t?
This is a fairly self indulgent ponder today, but hopefully others will be able to extract something from it. Basically, sometimes things change and your options are to roll with it or complain but essentially gain nothing.
Today I want to ponder why people fear change so much. Ambitious for a lunchtime, but I may expand on this post at a later date.
I used to love making videos for my YouTube channel, and then the realisation that they weren’t focused on my topic – initially my 40 x 40, and then later my Kettle List – made me actually look at my content and notice, that a lot of it was filler, that I was just gibbering on and not really talking about anything. It made me decide that I really should only make videos and update them, when I have done something towards the list; I have a blog to jabber on in! This thought struck me on Sunday.
On Wednesday I was told my job would be changing and that I would be moving departments and roles, and I was to have no choice in the matter.
I am sure I am not the only one who has felt this, but this final week of January has been just hellish, and this unwanted news was basically confirmation that there is no point ever getting comfortable as something will always come along and tip up your proverbial apple cart. A healthy mind-set would be one that embraces change and the opportunities it brings – so why do we fear change so much? I very easily stopped with videos, as the choice was mine, but what about when you have no agency, as happens in work places or in other situations where you have no say in the matter. Why are these modifications so difficult for us?
First of all – you are not going mad, if that is any reassurance. There is a word for this phenomenon. Metathesiophobia, is the fear of change. In severe cases it can actually result in suicidal thoughts as suffers feel that the constant changes that are part of everyday living mean they have no control over their own lives. They are often people of strict routine, which makes any kind of progress, be that in their work or personal lives, very difficult. The fear of change is a natural instinct; we are ingrained to crave routine and search out patterns as it helps us make sense of what is going on around us. When you know what your environment is, you feel more in control.
While my current private life would suggest the opposite, I am in fact, a fan of organisation. My love of lists is well documented throughout this blog, as is my penchant for decluttering. Bullet journaling is another of my passions, the idea of having all of the tasks I must perform laid out in front of me is very soothing – even if they do not all get done. Perhaps this links to the idea of control?
One of the most common reasons cited for this unwillingness to give up control is a fear of the unknown ; I want to know all of the details before I jump in. I can’t even watch a film unless I know who is in it, who is directing it and what it is about – I have even been known to sit on Wiki and IMDB looking films up as we watch them (not while in a cinema, of course, at home. There is a ring reserved in Hell for people who sit on phones in cinemas!) you can only truly move forward with a new project if you are confident that it will benefit you at best, or not damage you at worst. People need to know that this step forward is better than the comfort of standing still.
Basically we need to learn to overcome the impulse to push back against change, particularly if it is preventing a good change from occurring, or is keeping you in a negative space.
There is a Benjamin Franklin quote, “When you are finished changing, you are finished”
I have to finish my lunch now, so I will leave you with a Haiku – I told you I was writing a book of them didn’t I?
Moving or stand still?
Doing nothing is a choice,
Choose growth or stagnate