Why we resist change. {And what my hair has to do with it}

hairI have something embarrassing to admit: I was completely nervous about getting my haircut this past weekend.

I am a total high maintenance hair person; I have been going to the same stylist for 15 years.  She is amazingly talented and can cut a mean head of hair, but something just started feeling stale about our relationship.  I continually asked for one cut and would walk out with something different (is that a common complaint about stylists or is it just me?)  Instead of banging my half-coiffed head against the wall, I figured it just might be time for a change.  Just the thought of it made me anxious.

After asking around for recommendations, I discovered a lovely, talented woman that gave me an awesome cut.  She even said the words “Let’s take this slow the first time and build some trust.  Next haircut we’ll really dig in!”  It was magic to my ears.

But before we arrived at that sweet conclusion, I was sitting in the chair breaking out in a silent, sweating panic.  I kept telling myself in case it turned out to be a disaster, “It’s just hair!  It will grow back!” but I barely managed to calm my nerves enough to make idle chit chat.  When it was done, and my locks were expertly tamed, I breathed a sigh of relief and thought to myself: what was I so nervous about?

And then it occurred to me: this situation was no different than any change we implement in our lives.  Yes, hair cuts are stretching it a little, but  we’re all entitled to our idiosyncrasies.

afraid of change

Change can be downright hard.  No doubt about it; it can make the strongest of people go weak in the knees.  But we’re foolish to think we can dodge it.  The only thing that happens when we avoid change is that we get left behind.  Life keeps moving forward and we’re stuck in the muck of resistance.

Here are some of the reasons we resist change, do any of them sound familiar?

  • There’s the illusion of control: when we follow a certain path, we think we lower the surprises that could pop up, thinking we’re eliminating pain and suffering.
  • We are afraid: the fear of change comes from the prospect of making our situation worse rather than better.  It’s a catch 22 because if we don’t embrace change, we’ll never have the chance to grow on our own terms.
  • We’re lazy: we don’t want to have to learn something new and deal with that whole learning curve again.  It’s exhausting.  As a result, that laziness tends to cause boredom.
  • We don’t know what we really want.  Not knowing what we want can be a far more debilitating prospect than knowing what we do want and just not going for it.  Camping out in the land of indecision can keep us paralyzed for a looooong time.
  • We’re not ready for it.  There is a time and a place for everything,  We may not always be ready for the change life brings, but exploring why we resist can prepare us better for when the next transition shows up.

The key to overcoming resistance is to do it in slow increments and at a pace you’re comfortable with.  It can’t happen all at once!  And it shouldn’t–lasting change takes time to happen so be gentle with yourself.  There’s always going to be a part of your life in flux; going with the flow of adjusting things along the way can help move you in the direction you want to go.

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