Merriam-Webster defines “Change” as follows: Verb. change, alter, vary, modify mean to make or become different. Change implies making either an essential difference often amounting to a loss of original identity or a substitution of one thing for another.
So many of us resist change at all costs and I used to get so angry over that until I really read this definition. The last line, “change implies making either an essential difference often amounting to a loss of original identity” is when the lightbulb went off for me. People inherently equate change with loss, and we fear loss, so naturally we resist change. It’s unknown and subconsciously (or overtly) symbolizes loss so we never seek it out, even when it’s necessary.
When we resist change, we stifle growth, and along with it, the opportunities that come with it. I’m a clinger. I had simultaneously a privileged and traumatic childhood. Like, I had everything I needed, but we were emotionally wonky, and I faced a lot of loss and trust issues with the people closest to me. I developed a lot of control issues because I saw so early on that people changed, left, did what they wanted to do, fulfilled their own interests even if it disappointed you. Along with that, I realized early on that, even those closest to you, may not feel the same way about you because people can be in different stages of their lives. For me that was especially true with my siblings because they were significantly older than me.
Now that I’m nearing 40, that age difference doesn’t matter nearly as much, but the trauma of those repeated losses of those I was meant to rely on and learn from still exists. Rather than learning to break out on my own, I learned to create a world around me that was safe from change. I mentioned the other day that I struggle to see the point of not getting to the destination, and that is because I don’t know what can happen off that path. I too, resist change.
I try a bit every day to understand that change does not automatically mean loss. More importantly, that loss isn’t always a bad thing—sometimes losing things greatly improves our lives. We can lose self-doubt, we can lose negative thought patterns, we can lose toxic relationships. And from loss we can learn a whole lot. We can learn self-reliance, we can learn what our abilities really entail, we can learn how to be a more understanding person. But the only way we can learn these things is to undergo what it takes to change.
I’m also learning that wasting time fearing change (and fighting it) is far more effort than simply allowing it to happen. For goal/task oriented people like me, if my point is getting to the destination, then it serves more to simply allow than it does to resist. I still have moments of not liking it, but, I can logically start to wrap my head around it. Change isn’t a bad thing—it is a natural thing. It is necessary. Change will always eventually bring about your purpose—the same purpose that the universe is asking you to claim. I’m learning to go with it. I guess you learn that, as you get older, you have less time to screw around making things be a certain way and that life is more enjoyable if you just lean in. At a minimum, that is what accepting change is about.