Human beings resist change, even the good ones. Many are afraid of failing, and yes, we are also afraid of succeeding. What are we supposed to do if any resistance comes into the picture? We must love that fearful part of ourselves. But how do we do that?
I personally believe our natural resistance to change can fall into three –initial and temporary – expressions:
- We hide: As in we refuse to have anything to do with it (We don’t want to think, listen, talk, nor deal with it at all)
- We freeze: As in we fear all the unknown aspects and the uncertainties it presents, in addition to being just too used to our own-old ways.
- We overreact: By living and walking –even if change has not been experienced yet- scared and/or angry about the challenge because we think we might not be able to pull off this time.
I also know change is inevitable and, –as a dear friend once said- “you will not change until you reach your own ‘melting point’, that in which you will shout out to the world I have had enough.” According to him, this is the very moment we truly begin creating change, inside out.
What I have found to be the shortest road to overcome my own resistance has to do with acknowledging myself. No, I don’t mean it in a silly kind of way with pompons, hurrahs, and motivational speeches that could certainly work for some people or situations. I mean an honest and close look to my own emotions before reaching a point in which I’m finally able to see things clearly –meaning without denial, fear or anger.
First things first, be kind to your self at all times. With that in mind, let’s review what I usually do whenever I’m dealing with big changes.
- #1 – Name it: Be fully aware of your emotions being there as guardians of balance, there is always a self-preserving nature as background so you cannot be really mad at yourself for feeling scared, uncertain or even angry about anything. No matter the feeling, take a deep breath and acknowledge (name) it.
- #2 – Embrace it: Once you know what it is, you can proceed to embrace it. I’m giving you permission –in case you cannot do that to yourself- to express it. Just make sure you don’t do it at anyone’s expense, ok? –not even yourself- I assume you know the typical: write about it and burn it later, put your fist through some pillows, squeeze a towel to exhaustion, do some “Tapping”* etc. If any of that works it would be great, but if it doesn’t quite do it then ask yourself what can really help you. Bear in mind that there are no good, nor bad techniques; there are just choices. So choose wisely.
- #3 – Dig deeper: After releasing your emotion –or probably while you are doing it- you will receive a clear message. Dare to be completely and brutally honest with yourself. Go further and ask “What are my feelings telling me?” You might discover yourself thinking stuff like: I should take things slowly and avoid multitasking, I need more time to process and therefore be more patient with myself, I shall ask for help in spite of my resistance to do so, I need to say ‘no’ to some of the things I already say ‘yes’ to when I truly didn’t want to, etc.
- #4 – Document it: Pause, continue to breathe deeply (if you are into tapping, continue doing that for the next couple of days after your first outburst of real emotion) and write down all your questions, thoughts, fears, expectations, etc.
- #5 – Study: Get ready. Change is inevitable, so you better prepare for it to the best of your ability. Look for answers to all your questions and expectations. Create a countermeasure to your fears and thoughts –given they make you struggle-.
- #6- Be safe: As many other big decisions in life, moving abroad can literally pull the rug out from under your feet so pay close attention to your daily actions and any recurrent or persistent emotions. Make sure you ask for help early enough. Even if you don’t think you are struggling ‘that much’. It recently came to my attention that most of the Dutch GP’s report internationals to consider asking for help when the situation is actually pretty out of hand and after having suffered for quite a while. Remember, be kind to yourself and look for a helping hand promptly.
*(Ed: Tapping: is a set of techniques which utilize the body’s energy meridian points. You can stimulate these meridian points by tapping on them with your fingertips – literally tapping into your body’s own energy and healing power.)
Author: Rebeca GM