There are many reasons why change is sometimes so difficult that you avoid it:-
Avoiding the Unfamiliar:
As Anusha says:-“ Change is inconvenient”. Change brings with it a lot of doubts, questions and the unfamiliar, which is scary. Even if you are in a messy space in the present, the known still feels better than the unknown. The anxiety and inconvenience that change brings with it can be overwhelming, to an extent where you put off or postpone the change.
The Pull of Your Comfort Zone:
In your day to day life, you tend to follow a mental routine, you build a comfort zone. When change knocks, this comfort zone gets a rude shock.
A departure from the comfort zone can even bring about positive changes but you fail to enjoy that. Any movement feels uncomfortable, even if it is healthier for you. Then starts this whole game of trying to dodge the discomfort, provide justification to yourself and to others and defend your reasons for avoiding the change. This gets you even more stuck.
Loss of Control:
When there is a sense of change, there is a loss of control. You feel like you no longer have control over the situation, or that the situation isn’t in your hands anymore. This in turn makes you hostile towards the change.
Nandita shares an example:-
“If a woman gets pregnant suddenly, without being ready for it, she might feel that she has no control or choice over the matter. This feeling can lead to her blaming her husband or her child and can hinder her adaptation to the new situation.” – Nandita
Fear of Failure:
With the unknown comes the fear of failure – ‘what if this was a wrong step?’, ‘what if it doesn’t turn out as I imagined it?’ ‘what if it makes things worse?’. This can be so scary that you would rather not try than know what would happen – Anusha
Change might trigger feelings of incompetence. You might wonder whether you will be able to adapt to or match up to the new situation. Not many people admit to themselves that this fear is what is holding them back. What happens then is, the root issue remains unresolved and you continue to feel stuck.
Underplaying the Need for Change:
Do people around you keep telling you that you need to make a change? And you just don’t feel as convinced? Sometimes you don’t understand the change, or the need for it. Then, it naturally becomes difficult to initiate and accept the change.
Indirect Gains of Old Habits:
Often, your present situation, even if unhealthy, has some gains for you, which sustain the old patterns and prevent change. For example, even if you know that you need to cut down on socializing and devote more time to yourself, you may find it difficult to do so. Being the ‘life of the party’ makes you seem like fun and makes you popular. This impression is rewarding and so, you slip back into socializing even when you are fatigued, physically and emotionally.
Beliefs about Old Habits:
Imagine you want to break a habit – it could be smoking, going back to an unhealthy relationship, sleeping late, eating unhealthy. Now think of times when you have slipped right back into smoking that cigarette, or staying up all night. Something happens in that moment of ‘urge’, something powerful, that ‘takes over’ and overpowers the logical mind.
What’s really happening is – through past experiences and past conditioning, a belief has gotten formed in your mind. You believe that if you give in to the craving, you’ll get your “fix” and feel a certain way which is more favourable than how you feel in the present. This is it. This is the crux: the need to feel a certain way – this compulsive desire to be contented at all times is the root cause of resistance to change, and of slipping back into old patterns – Kunjal
Once an experience has paid off with a fruitful or happy result, you start living in an “automode”. You tend to get into a habit, trying to recreate that experience, and seek the same joy again. It becomes a problem when you continue getting these “fixes” at the cost of your growth, and health.
These reasons are all genuine and are difficult to work through. However, avoiding change because of these reasons is far from healthy. Change is inevitable, and we need to adapt to it when it knocks. How can we go about this? The following section covers some ground about adapting to change.