Change–Loving & Hating It

Last October, Ashley of Nourishing the Soul kicked off an empowering blog series – Self Discovery Word by Word. The series was created to encourage the blogging community to focus on one word a month in an effort to engage in self-discovery and self-reflection. This month, Mara of Medical Marzipan is hosting the Word by Word series, and she has chosen the word “CHANGE” as the focus of April’s posts. I have not participated in Word by Word before, but I already had a post kicking around in my head on change. So, I took the notification that change was the world of the month as a sign that this week was the time to make it happen. Enjoy!

Thinking About Change

I feel like I have been inundated with change recently. On the one hand, I’m thrilled with the natural changes as spring kicks off here in the mid-west (think daffodils, tulips, lilacs, flowering trees–the works). And on the other hand, I’m noticing some strong resistance to interpersonal change (one of my office mates is moving on, which sets off a domino effect of new things). I’m fascinated by how different my reactions are. The transition from winter to spring creates a visceral reaction for me–I can almost feel the excitement fizzing through my veins as I breathe in the smell of growing things. But the idea of change in the office has a visceral effect as well–I can definitely feel my stomach tightening as I think about interviewing new office mates, re-negotiating leases, etc.

I’m pretty sure that I am not alone in my ambivalent reaction to change. In fact, in the past week, while I have heard people rejoicing about warmer weather and the wash of spring color, I have also heard at least three people say directly, “I hate change.”

As I think about my own response to the office changes, as well as the statements about “hating change,” I recognize that many of us experience discomfort when we’re faced with change. I know that I do. I also know that change is part of growth, and even if it is frightening or challenging, I know that I would rather grow than remain stagnant.

I believe that, for most of us, the initial resistance that we have to change is a reflection of our own fear about the unknown. We don’t have any certain way of knowing what the result of a change will be, so we convince ourselves that we would rather stay as we are (even if that is in a state of pain) than risk the unknown realities of change.

One of the things that I appreciate so much about the process of therapy is that, instead of resisting change, I get to invite change, and embrace it. In fact, whether my clients would describe it this way or not, therapy is an effort to seek out change in a healthy way–to have the same joyful reaction to change in our personal lives as we do to that first crocus poking its colorful head out after a cold winter.

So, what changes have you been avoiding that might open you up to new growth? If you like, please share your favorite “change survival strategy” in the comments.

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