Very few people (yes, my hand is raised) like change. Change is unfamiliar, outside your comfort zone, and therefore scary. Familiar equals safe, or at least that’s what most of us tell ourselves, even if what’s familiar is making you unhappy. But there really is no guarantee of comfort or safety in nature. Refusing to change may make you feel safe, but it won’t guarantee that you will be safe.
Change can be as hard or as easy as you make it, depending on the story you tell yourself about it. Change is a jerk that wants everything to be different equals hard. Change is a friend that wants what’s best for you equals easy.
1. Change makes you face yourself.
Sometimes you can get in a rut, trying to stay safe (or so you tell yourself) deep within your comfort zone, where you hang out unchallenged and often restless (because you want and know you could be more), confined by your fear of change. When change happens, because it will (that’s not a matter of if but of when), you’ll have no choice but to own up to who you are deep down. Your character will be revealed by how you handle change. Do you run and hide? Do you rally and fight against it? Do you embrace it and learn from it? Change will force you to answer one of the most important questions you’ll ever get asked: Who is it you really want to be?
2. Change makes you face your life.
One of the best things you can ever do for yourself is to figure out what it is you really want for your life. If you feel rudderless and adrift, circling your comfort zone and going nowhere, change can and will shock you out of that. Life often happens without asking your permission first. Change will force you to answer another of the most important questions you’ll ever get asked: What is it you really want to have/do/say?
3. Change forces you out of your comfort zone.
Your comfort zone really can be one of the most dangerous places in your life (read why here). While it’s true that all of us need a comfort zone to relax and rejuvenate, many of us (yes, me included) have spent far too long there. If you use your comfort zone not as a way to refresh yourself but as a way to avoid what you want/need/feel called to do, that’s when it becomes a hazard to your well-being. At that point your comfort zone goes from being a place of nurturing to a place of imprisonment. Change tends to throw you clean out of your comfort zone whether you like it or not. That’s a good thing. Why? Because what you most want for your life and who you most want to be in the world are likely to be found beyond the walls of that zone.
4. Change forces you to grow.
I’m of the belief that you’ve got two choices in this life: 1. grow and thrive, or 2. wither and die. When plants thrive, it’s a glorious thing. Wild, full of life, blooming. And when they struggle and start to wither, it turns tragic: browned, curled into themselves, turning to dust. The same happens to you. If you’re not growing and becoming who you most want and are meant to be, then you’re withering and settling for less, and that leads to dying (even if it’s feeling like you’re dead inside). With either scenario, grow or wither, the gist is this: it’s your choice. Change forces you to choose, and what you choose is always up to you.
5. Change helps you become who you want and are meant to be.
All of us, I’d argue, want something for our lives. All of us, I’d also argue, want to reach our fullest potential. Thing is: you have to grow to get there, and you can’t grow without change. You can’t experience new people, places, and/or things without change. You can’t learn what you most want and what you don’t without change. You can’t learn who you are and who you are not without change. You’ll never become the person you envision yourself to be without change ushering you along through the journey. Whether you are grateful for the help or resentful of the intrusion is: 1. a matter of how you look at change, and 2. entirely up to you.
Change is easier if you:
- expect it instead of dread it.
- embrace it instead of fight it.
- look at it as a friend trying to guide you instead of an enemy out to get you.
So will you do yourself a kindness and look at change as your friend?