Why is it so difficult to change? Or why when we have the opportunity to do so, we resist?
Changes are complex. Even when they are for our well-being and growth, it is difficult to face the unknown. Changes can make us feel like we are out of control and out of our comfort zone. Therefore, it is normal for us to resist making or maintaining change. This resistance is often unconscious. Sometimes we want to change for the better: be less jealous, apply for that scholarship, make that change of look, meet new people … All good things! But sometimes, it is challenging for us to start, and we even can recur to self-sabotage.
These are some of the reasons why we might struggle with change, even if when it’s good for us:
- We feel like we don’t deserve good things.
- We feel like we are going to fail, so why even bother?
- We pressure ourselves into thinking that we have to do things perfectly; otherwise, it is not worth it.
- We are afraid of what other people will say if we change or do not achieve our goals.
- We think we don’t have enough support to change.
These patterns take time, compassion, and support to shift, yet you don’t wait until you have “the time” to heal to get started. In this blog entry, I share some strategies to help you make those changes that you want and deserve.
So how do we work on this dynamic?
- Reflect on what you fear losing. When we change, even for the better, we leave behind our old patterns and what has been safe and known to us. Usually, it isn’t easy to let go. Take some time to recognize what you are deciding to leave behind. Then ask yourself what it costs you to maintain this pattern. We often sacrifice relationships, who we want to be, our rest, and even our health to keep old habits. When you identify it, then allow yourself to pick the first small step you can take to help you think differently.
An example of this may be merely learning to receive a compliment. A way you can start shifting this pattern can be the following: Someone says to you, “I loved the presentation you did!”, And you immediately respond with a “Thank you, but I spoke super fast and could have been clearer with my answers when they asked me this question,” or you start to list of all your mistakes. The first step is to allow yourself to say “Thank you!” without adding anything else, even when it feels uncomfortable. This is an example of a small change that helps to shift that idea that we do not deserve good things or recognition.
- Start small. It sounds straightforward, but sometimes we want to do many things and set very high expectations for ourselves. If we fail, then we use it as a justification for leaving things halfway. Therefore, you can always try to do your best, but in small doses.
You don’t have to do it perfectly, focus on being consistent.
- Find people who help you and are there for you. And explain how they can support you. Not everyone is supportive in the way we want or need, and it can turn out to be overwhelming. Explain to your support system how they can help you and how you can have healthy communication. Some examples of how to ask for support are:
- The support I need is for you right now is to listen to me vent; at this moment, I am not looking for advice.
- Could you check in with me and see if I met the goals I set for myself this week?
- Can I work next to you? I find it challenging to work on my own.
- Could you join me for a coffee? I need to stop thinking about work for a moment.
- Always keep an eye on why this change is important to you. Often, we want to change for other people, and sometimes the feedback from our environment is essential. But if our reason for change comes from abroad, it is difficult for the transition to be sustainable. So take some time to realize why you want this change and the positive impact you want it to have on you. Some questions to help you identify your motive:
- How is not making this change in your life negatively impacting me?
- What opportunities would this change make possible for you?
- What people or resources do you have if things get tough at some point?
- How would your life change for the better if you make this change?
I hope this post has been helpful! Therapy can be a space to help you create and maintain healthy changes in your life and receive the support you need to allow you to live the life you want. If you would like to know more about me and how I can help you through my services, you can reach out to me through email.