Fear of Change

One of the challenges I see most prominent within people, as a teacher and as a human being, is the fear of change. Some are fearful that they can change, some are fearful that they can’t change and others are fearful that they will change. Whichever camp you might fall into (and you might fall into all of them at different points in your life), the common denominator is fear. And more specifically, it’s the fear of the unknown. However, without change, we’d still be crawling around in diapers, so obviously our fear of change can only be so strong.

I read an incredible book by Jiddu Krishnamurti called On Fear some years back and I refer to it quite often because it’s a really short and well-written book. Essentially, the protagonist came to realize that he only commits himself by way of fear or love. Go ahead and take a moment to think about that because it’s a terrific exercise. One of the things that I found was that there’s a whole lot of fear governing my decision making. Krishnamurti let me know I wasn’t alone.

So I say that people should harness that fear and turn it on its head. If I’m fearful of something that could change my life for the better, I do my best to experience that change…within reason. Obviously, there are some things in life that don’t need to be experienced in order to realize that they’re bad for you. But there are many things in life that we are afraid of doing precisely because we believe we’ll be judged by others; or worse, be judged by ourselves.

One day, an overweight fellow student I trained with confessed that he was afraid of losing too much weight. In his mind, it was easier to think that people may dislike him due to his weight rather than dislike him because of his personality. Just hearing that was mind-blowing in and of itself. It made me think of what might be holding me back from achieving some of my own positive changes.

At the end of the day, we’re all going to change, but choosing what to change and how to go about that change is the best way to manage fear. So let go of your own fears and grab onto the steering wheel of self-discipline, because when you’re driving your own changes, you might find that too exhilarating to waste time being fearful.

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