Fear of Change
26th August, 2009
“It’s been a long time coming but I know that change is gonna come”
A Change is Gonna Come, Sam Cooke – recently released by Seal
Why do we fear change? Is it the actual event, the possibility of something going wrong, entering into the unknown or simply having to push ourselves?
FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real
When you think about it there are lots of things that we fear, some of them are life-preserving thoughts, some are just sensible, but maybe we could learn to call these events something else. I would naturally fear walking through an unknown area in the dark or alone – well, that’s just common sense and a life preserving level of awareness.
Would it be sensible to use the same word (fear) when you are due to present a speech, going for a job interview, meeting someone new or facing exams? Perhaps not, lets look at the evidence behind one of these events.
Take for example the fear some people experience when they are due to make a presentation – the thoughts may go something like this: What if I forget my speech, I will dry up, sound stupid, people will laugh at me, who do I think I am standing up there, why did I say I would do this, I should never have gone for that promotion.
I have yet to witness a speech when the speaker completely dries up; there is always someone in the audience who will ask a question, or some cues to prompt the speaker and I can assure you that people will only laugh if you tell a joke, most of them will be sitting there thinking “Wow, I never knew that”, “I wish I had the guts to do that”, “I must get some time to talk to him/her after the speech”. Consider also that once you get through this event you will be saying to yourself, “It wasn’t that bad, I don’t know why I was frightened”
These thoughts and beliefs appear real at the time; your hands sweat, your heart rate increases, your mind races, you reach a state of heightened awareness as the adrenaline pumps round your system – some people would recognise these signs as excitement (think about going on a date for the first time, or getting married, aren’t these physical signs the same?). Maybe you are just experiencing nerves or anticipation.
Some people go through their lives looking at change in such a negative way that they practically talk themselves out of change before they have a chance to see what the reality is.
Think about change as a positive thing, if our lives never changed in any way we would become bored, listless, stay in bad relationships, allow others to take advantage of us and feel resentful when you can do something about it but don’t; situations change – the fact is that things can’t stay the same, we evolve, we learn, we change – as the song says: A Change is Gonna Come - whether we like it or not – so be prepared and be open – you might even enjoy it.
Related articles from our experts
Renee Norris MBACP Counsellor & PsychotherapistJuly 8th, 2018
Nic HighamJune 30th, 2018
Jo Hughes BACP Accredited CounsellorJuly 17th, 2018
Keeley Townsend BA (Hons), Ad.Dip.CP with Distinction, MNCS (Acc)December 14th, 2009
Imi Lo: Specialist Psychotherapist, Art Therapist (MMH,FRSA,UKCP,HCPC)March 29th, 2015
Andrea Harrn CBT Counsellor and Creator of The Mood CardsMay 13th, 2011
Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.