05 February 2014
Creating Change Can Be Scary
I have been working hard on goals this past month and I have some biggies. One of the things that has come to mind in a powerful way is how change affects us. Change always has two sides to it, the benefit side where we gain new things and the loss side where we have to let go or say goodbye to things we are moving on from that will stay in the past.
It can be exciting to look at all we have to gain from our efforts or participation in change. Sometimes that means literally moving, saying goodbye to people, places or phases of our lives, like college. I think it can far more difficult to say goodbye to parts of ourselves, to our former decisions or choices -- to the way we comfortably liked things in the past. When we choose to change we often focus on the gain but it isn't until we are in the progress of gain that we start to feel a nagging unhappiness with what we've had to say goodbye to.
I think this is the point where the real challenges come in. It's hard to let go of the way we like things that can be holding us back. Those are comfortable habits and places. I have often thought of the metaphor of our lives as sculptors and our job is to carve off all our own rough spots and become smoother, gentler, kinder people. That is not easy to do when we are fond of our own material make-up, comfortable with it. When we carve off rough spots we fear we'll be more vulnerable or perhaps we won't like how things look once the change is made.
I have been rolling this all around in my head lately. I have two major frustrations with my goals right now. First that despite a great amount of work, my progress is not that noticeable. It's discouraging to put in several hours of work and see no great amount of visual progress. I am learning to look for progress less and instead feel the progress and sense of accomplishment inside myself. I can feel the change and I am proud of the change, so the visible progress does not need to be so important. That helps me keep from getting frustrated when dealing with all my goals.
My second frustration or balancing act that I need to work on is in regards to Now Is My Time. I've opened a bit of a Pandora's box with this one, although I imagine it's just going to take some work and training for me to understand how to work my new muscles. Focusing on myself has opened up some feelings that probably needed to come out a long time ago in my life. But now I have to manage them and I'm not so good at that quite yet. It's like having a blow torch that just turns on out of the blue and suddenly you're battling a fire.
That fire is a good thing if I can use it as a friend, for instance to cook a beautiful dinner. But when it feels more forest fire than campfire, I have to say I've felt a little worried. Thinking about it, I realize this is all new to me in a lot of ways and that I will learn how to manage the flame and use it for good. I started feeling like I was getting a little crazy and then calmed myself down and realized that I was just in new territory. That realization is much more comforting than the fears the situation produced.
It's good to remember that we have been growing and changing our entire lives and we always figure it out in the end. So creating change, even when it feels massive is just a new experience that we're learning. Rather like learning to read. At first the letters and words don't mean anything and feel like a forest of unknowns. But once the basics are understood and we take baby steps forward each day, we soon learn to master the world of books. Change is not to be feared, even though it can bring up scary feelings. I'm trying to focus on the good outcomes I am already enjoying, appreciating support from others, and reminding myself that I will be happier saying goodbye to some ways of being, doing and thinking. We can change. We're actually pros at it, we just forget sometimes.
image via msc