Kristen L Baker
We hear the word change all the time. I should change my clothes, I have to change my address. I have to change my thinking, change my underwear, climate change…Change, Change, Change. When you think about it, change is happening in one’s life minute, by minute. But why is it we often resist change? Why do we fear change? Why do we avoid change? It’s ironic that fear of change is somewhat universal, but we are in constant change mode.
Of course, the many changes that take place in a day, are not monumental and really have no fear base, i.e., changing our clothes, but the resistance to change when it involves personal change is extremely high. The resistance comes from the fear of the unknown; the anxieties of not being able to visualize what that change will look like. The fear of failure or making the wrong decision are common resistances.
My name is Kristen and I am a Certified Master Life Coach, Spiritual Coach, Stress Reduction Coach, Anxiety Coach and Certified Holistic Life Coach. I have coached people around the world for ten years. Working with people toward change has been daunting at times, but mostly rewarding. Helping people to make changes to better their lives is what I strive for in my practice.
Change really comes down to choice. There are phases to change; these are important to recognize, allowing an assessment or evaluation of what is holding you back.
· Pre-Contemplation- (Not Ready) No Intention of Changing
· Contemplation- (Getting Ready) looking at the pros and cons of taking action to change
· Preparation- (Ready) Ready to take action in the near future and begin taking steps
· Action- This is a verb, doing something to create the change
This model is a barometer of where you are and how close or far from taking action that you are
It’s important to remember that not all change is by choice or voluntary in nature. The loss of a loved one is an extreme change and one that you have no control over, there is no choice but to change to the new reality. In this case, (if a sudden loss), the fear will come after, and there is no other choice but to adapt to the loss.
Loss of a job is another change that is not always of one’s own choice, and again, the fear develops after the loss. With these two examples, there is no pre-contemplation, it skips to contemplation, preparation and action.
Let’s look at relationships; marriage. Marriage is a union of two people who vowed to love till death do us part. What happens when the love has changed into more of a duty or even a chore or that you are no longer happy or don’t have much in common? Do you stay married because change is too unknown or scary? Too many people do stay in a loveless and unsatisfied marriage to avoid change. Is this the healthy thing to do? Is it selfless or selfish? Does the fear of the unknown or fear of hurting someone outweigh the right to be happy and fulfilled in life? Or is the potential financial change worth living in emptiness?
We are ever changing creatures, not just in physicality, but in emotions, feelings, wants and needs. In a world with so much anxiety, fear, stress and uncertainty, staying in a marriage out of fear of the unknown, fear of hurting kids, family, husband or wife, in a strange way, it is selfish and selfless at the same time. Selfish in a way that if two people are not happy together and are not displaying love and affection to each other, that is not a role model if there are kids involved. It may seem easier to stay in the marriage for the kids, but what is that teaching them when they see distance and unhappiness? It is teaching them that love is not the greatest thing and that this is how it supposed to be. This is wrong. Love is the greatest thing of all. Without love, there is loneliness, emptiness, lack of purpose and so on.
Staying in a marriage that is no longer fulfilling, connected, passionate and loving for the sake of kids can also be selfless; putting others needs or happiness or minimizing change for the family unit before your own, but this is where selflessness can turn into unhealthiness in mind and body. The stress of falsely mimicking a healthy marriage, yet feeling so unhappy is a confliction that can wreak havoc on your entire self. Avoiding termination of a relationship that has changed over time due to fear of the unknown or protecting others, will undoubtedly not produce happiness for all parties involved.
The selfishness can be that one partner has changed feelings toward their spouse, but they stay because they don’t want to lose money, move or other reasons. It becomes more selfish, because there is an absence of setting the spouse free to find happiness. Also, that change may seem harder than being happy is worth to them.
Not all change is good, but if you are participating in unhealthy habits, like drinking, overeating, drugs or smoking, these changes are incredible and will afford a life full of opportunities, love, happiness and self-worth. If someone changes to “fit in,” this is not a good change.
In the grand scheme of things in life, what is most important is love, happiness, honesty, respect and being true to oneself. Change is inevitable and it is present in every day of our lives. Now, more than ever with the world we live in, with so much violence, stress, disease and hate, change is even more important if you are living a life without happiness, love and inner peace.
Change can be challenging, disruptive, uncertain, but it can also be amazing, exhilarating, healthy, both in mind and body and it could very well be the best thing one has ever done in their life.
If you follow the stages of change, pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparing and action, the change may not be so fearful. As a coach, I am a huge advocate for writing things out. Making lists of pros and cons when in contemplation stage, and a list of what you want to achieve, what the positives will be by the change will help alleviate the fear of change.
If you are not happy, change is in order. A change may be just what you need.