Fear of change: why?

Who I am
Robert Maurer


Fear of change: why?

The fear of change: as natural as it is human. But why does this happen, what other fears are behind it, what are the possible reasons?

Last update: Augusts 03, 2021

Over the course of our life, we make many decisions that take us down many different paths. These decisions, which are not always easy to make, are followed by changes. And here comes the fear of change.

Why are we afraid of change? What happens inside us for which a new reality scares us and paralyzes us? In this article we talk about 6 possible causes that cause this fear.

Why am I afraid of change?

Behind the fear of change there may be other even deeper fears: the fear of not being able to face the new reality or the fear of not having the resources to be happy again. There are also other emotions such as sadness over loss or uncertainty.

If you want to understand what is happening to you and what could be the cause of your fear, here are 6 possible explanations. Each reality is different, even if behind the fears there are often other concerns of a different nature.

Not knowing how to handle new or different situations

One of the possible causes of the fear of change is the fear of not knowing how to handle the new situation. In general, what we don't know or understand scares us.

The change is accompanied by a new reality. If we feel we don't have enough resources to deal with it properly, we can feel fear. Very often it is actually a lack of confidence in our abilities.

It involves some loss

At the base of a change there is often also a situation of loss. A new reality comes because the old one was no longer good or was not what we really wanted.

This implies facing a loss, whether of a loved one, a city, a partner due to a breakup, a job, a home ... With the loss comes the beginning of mourning, a process that allows us to assimilate it, integrate it and adapt to the new reality.

Fear of making a mistake

Another possible answer to the question of why people are afraid of change is the fear of making mistakes. A change, a new stage, it implies a reorganization of one's own reality or an adaptation to it.

This implies decisions that we do not know if they will be the "right" ones. On the other hand, changes often occur because we have made a certain decision; here too, there is the fear that it is not the ideal one.

Resistance to abandon another path

Making life-changing decisions often involves letting go of other avenues. This, of course, is not always easy.

Resistance to letting go of those paths, those "could have been otherwise" or those expectations of another reality, may explain why I am afraid of change. It's natural. Also, some people are less flexible and find the change more difficult.

"If we want everything to remain as it is, everything must change."

- The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa-

Fear of criticism or rejection

We can also be afraid of being criticized for making a decision. Another fear may be that of feeling rejected in this new path we have taken and that our loved ones do not accept our decision.

The fear of rejection is also often hidden behind the fear of change. But it is important to choose what we want in our life starting from our decision (leading somewhere), and not by fear, which leads nowhere.

Feeling that you are not in control

Finally, another possible explanation of why we are afraid of change is the feeling of loss of control that often comes with it. A new unknown reality arrives that scares us and we have the feeling that we are no longer in control of the situation.

In general, we like to feel that “we are masters of our own destiny” (even if it is a false illusion). Or at least we have some control. The feeling that things are not up to us makes us anxious.

How to manage the fear of change?

There is no magic formula for this and it is clear that each reality is unique. But there are some ideas that can help you deal with this new situation and fear:

  • Prepare mentally to the new situation and take some time to visualize it.
  • Make it easy: Ask yourself what you need, materially and emotionally.
  • Trust your personal resources and coping strategies.
  • Begin mourning the loss, if there is.
  • Allow yourself to be afraid; do not fear it, dialogue with it and try to make sense of it.
  • Focus on the new present.

Conclusions on the fear of change

And you, have you ever been afraid of change and how did you manage it? Change will always come into our life in different ways.

It is therefore important to be aware of the fear we may feel and give it its space. It is normal for change to scare us, because it sometimes disrupts our reality, but try to make sense of this new reality and this new path.

“Why should we be afraid of change? All life is change, why should we be afraid of it?

-George Herbert-

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