How to Release Your Fear of Change

Posted by on May 19, 2020 in A COVID-19 World, Ask The Therapist, Blog From The Experts | 0 comments

How to Release Your Fear of Change

Written by Kristine Davis, M.Ed., LPCC


CHANGE = The act or instance of making or becoming different

We are all dealing with change especially now as we are adjusting to life with the Coronavirus. However, change isn’t all bad. Change is constant and necessary – to keep us moving, to keep us interested, to keep us growing. When people feel stuck and frustrated it is often their fear of change that is causing the problem. When fear is too strong it is because they are under great stress and feel out of control.


There are 5 major fears of change:

1. Fear of the Unknown – We are most at ease when we are completely familiar with our surroundings and sure of what the future holds for us. Fear of the unknown can paralyze us.

2. Fear of Failure – People expect to get everything right the first time instead of being more realistic and taking their time to work things out.

3. Fear of Commitment – This fear is why people don’t set firm goals or accomplish what they set out to do. They are afraid to focus on what they really want out of life for fear of feeling trapped. It would be better to be honest with oneself and to create a few small and simple action steps toward one’s goals.

4. Fear of Disapproval – Some might call this fear of rejection. When people make positive changes, someone will likely disapprove. You might lose weight and get the cold shoulder from your spouse or friends. You stop drinking and a frustrated mate might say “I liked you better when you were drinking”. You will quickly learn who is truly on the side of your self-esteem.

5. Fear of Success – Are people going to like you if you are successful? Think you’re stuck up? We are often afraid of appearing selfish and egotistical to others. People often feel guilty for feeling good and feel selfish and egotistical for taking care of themselves.


Five Stages of Change

Frequently we feel we don’t have control over what we need or want to change and therefore we don’t change. There are 5 difficult stages we must go through before we embrace any change.

1. Crisis – You feel you have got to change or else. You’re backed into a corner. This crisis is usually very emotional – it is a wake up call.

2. Hard Work – This is the stage that many enjoy. It involves hard mental work. Maybe you take classes, read books, network with business contacts, start therapy. There is a sense of control in this stage. You are working hard to figure out the solution to the crisis.

3. Tough Decision – You reach a point where you must make a difficult decision. Maybe you quit your job, ask for a divorce, start up a business. This stage isn’t easy but it is a relief. You feel glad that you are making a commitment. You are choosing a direction and there is often a feeling of optimism.

4. Unexpected Pain – At this stage, you are doing the right thing but getting the wrong results. Many feel tempted to give up their goal and unfortunately, some do. They feel awful and focus is on failings. During this stage, people don’t recognize that they have made positive changes, so they stop changing. Thousands of times, people quit when success is right around the corner. It’s a shame that after all the hard work in the first 3 stages, the unexpected setback causes us to quit. When we give up and don’t finish the change we begin to feel resentment, depression, & rejection. Usually, if we hang in there and crawl forward a few more steps from being knocked down, we will be able to reach the next stage.

5. Joy and Integration – In this stage, the changes are truly a part of your life. You realize you are happy about the changes you have made and they begin to pay off in a big way. You are enjoying your new job or your business takes a turn for the better, or you are healthier and have more energy.


Help to Change

If you are struggling with a decision about making a change, one option is to create a circle of advisors for yourself. Ask 3 people you trust who are not afraid to give you blunt, honest, accurate, and timely feedback. Another option is to consider going to counseling for objective and supportive guidance and suggestions.

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