Sunday, November 10, 2013

Change Is Scary

I wonder how much of our lives we go through, just dealing with the same old crap, or unhappy situation, or same routine that never ever varies, just because we're so afraid of Change? It's so much EASIER to take the same rut you've worn into that road. You know where it goes. You know where it's been. There's no risk, no danger that you'll get hurt, or embarrass yourself, or a million other things that could happen. Instead you just go about doing the same things you've always done, living the same life you've had, and it's Safe. It's insular, nothing can get to you. But by the same token, nothing ever happens. You don't get to experience new things. You don't get to meet new people, maybe make new friends. You can't grow, as a person, and stretch your boundaries to find out that which you are capable of doing. Making changes is SCARY. It's dark, murky waters, filled with pitfalls and alligators and you never know what may happen. You can't predict. All you can do is prepare, and learn to be flexible enough to adjust to new stuff.

Change can also be Wonderful. It allows you to expand your horizons. It lets you feel new things like hope and joy. It can sometimes add more responsibility, but there's a pride you get when you shoulder that and carry on. Change can affect who the people are in your life. That can be scary too, but sometimes that's what Change is about. It's about reaching deep into yourself and finding the strength and courage to step away from the familiar and embrace an uncertain future.

Sometimes, Change doesn't have to be anything major. Changing one daily routine, or adding one thing you normally wouldn't do. It's uncomfortable, and awkward, and it's just such a bother when it's so much easier just to do that which you've done before. But I find when I do this, when I decide to make one small change, it has a ripple effect on my life. Maybe it's something as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Perhaps it's volunteering somewhere. Maybe it's creating a new speech loop reaction so when someone says, "I can't do that" instead of saying, "You're not even trying!" you say, "What can you do instead?"

When my son was little, he'd do the things that all kids do; drop things, knock things over, get into things, and a myriad of other stuff when you turn your back for an instant. For awhile, I would always say, "What did you do??!" He would immediately get defensive and feel like he was in trouble and it made for unhappy times. I realized how I was coming across, and the message I was conveying, and I made a change. I started saying, "What happened?? Are you okay??"  His reactions changed. Instead of trying to hide what he'd done, he'd 'fess up and show me whatever boo-boo needed a band-aid and a kiss. Changing how we interact with people can sometimes really make a difference.

So whether it's changing what we do or how we think or what we say, we should never be so afraid that it keeps us from trying.