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Why do people fear change?

Rebecca Bennington Blog Picture
Encouragement

Why do people know they are unhappy, and yet they accept this as their fate?  I want to say that while not all situations are the same, and some are surely more challenging than others, it would be difficult to find a situation in which happiness is not a choice. 

For most people, most of the time, you can choose happy and you can get there.  So, why do people not make that choice?

One of the greatest inhibitors to happiness is the fear of change.  It sounds ironic, but being happy could be scary!  If you’ve never been happy, or it’s been so long ago that you’ve forgotten what it even feels like, then the idea that you can choose it might be frightening. Because that means that you are giving up a lot of things that unhappiness provides for you, and you are stepping up to take responsibility for your happiness, and what if you fail?

But, what if you don’t?

The fear of change is real.  It can be a change from unhappiness to happiness, or something else such as moving from one neighborhood to another, changing jobs, starting a family, or a million other decisions of change that one might make.

Here, we’ll just talk about changing from unhappiness to happiness. 

What are the benefits of being unhappy?  I’m listing a few here, but you can probably think of others, or of those that apply to your specific situation.

If you’re unhappy, you likely blame someone else for it.  Maybe it really is someone else’s fault.  I’m going to suggest that we rephrase that, and say that maybe it used to be someone else’s fault.  Could it be that someone else started you an a path to unhappiness, and you decided to stay on it.  That takes the responsibility away from you of having to change your circumstances, and maybe that has worked for you up until now.

Deciding to be unhappy might get you some attention.  If you can pour out your woes to others, maybe they will sympathize with you.  That is not to say that you do not deserve sympathy.  Maybe you do, or maybe you did, but is that still the situation?  At this point, is it possible you’ve become accustomed to receiving pity from others?

There are also some people in this world who aren’t happy unless they’re unhappy.  If you don’t know how to express positive emotions, and you only know how to complain, argue, and criticize, then if you don’t have unhappiness you have nothing to talk about.  The word “curmudgeon” or
sourpuss” might describe you.

Maybe being happy means that you need to get away from something toxic in your life and you don’t want to, but you know what it is doing to you.  This toxin could be a person, an addiction, a living situation, or other circumstance that is making you miserable but you know how to act with it and you are afraid you won’t know how to act without it.  That brings on the fear of change.  It can also bring about guilt, particularly if you feel responsible for a person even though they are a toxin to you.  You may feel guilty if you try to do something for yourself to bring about your own happiness or that your departure will cause significant harm to the person.   (We’ll talk more about that in another article).

If you want to be happy you’re going to have to rethink some things.  You may need to change the way you look at people, situations, or opportunities.  You may have to step off the least path of resistance and put in some work.  You may have to get out of your comfort zone.  Meet people, explore challenges, and start rethinking what you want out of your life. 

What is in it for you?  Happiness.  There is a feeling of satisfaction when you have tried something new, even if you failed.  There is satisfaction in knowing that you are living your life to the fullest degree possible, even if that means you are reading a book on the couch every evening.  If that is your happiness, and that satisfies what you want out of life, then go for it and make it happen.

If you want someone to talk to about your fears of change please let us know.  We would be happy to talk this through with you and help you set some goals to make your life a life where you can say you are truly living your best life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rebecca Bennington

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