Anxious About Changes In Your Life? This Is For You
In last week’s blog I discussed how I don’t believe we talk enough about the normalcy of feeling anxious about big changes in our lives, such as getting married, starting a new job, having kids, making a move, buying a home, etc. This idea seemed to touch a nerve for a lot of people, in a good way, which made me realize we should dive a little deeper to the topic. Throughout my own experiences I have learned that not only is it OK, but also totally normal, to feel both happy and fearful about how big decisions will change your life.
So let me start with a few things: You are allowed to be both excited and scared shitless. You are allowed to wonder how a big change will affect your overall evolution. You are allowed to know that something is good but also feel sad about what is being left behind. You are allowed to cry from anxiety over a big change and wonder what it means for you. You are allowed to question and reflect without it implying that you are doing something wrong or that something is wrong with you.
Here is why it is important to know all of that, because when people have mixed emotions about big decisions and changes we tend to encourage them not to say anything or brush these feelings aside. And by doing this we can make the person we say this to feel like there must be something wrong with them. When people respond to our mixed emotions by just shutting them down it can make us feel untrusting of our own thoughts. But the truth is not enough people come out and admit that they have had these feelings too. We are told not to worry or to not think about it anymore or to just be happy, when what we really need to hear is how perfectly normal these feelings are and to be encouraged to explore why we feel the way we do.
Why we deal with this spectrum of emotions during big changes can be for a number of reasons, but I think a lot of it will stem from the following three:
Fear of the Unknown
The first reason is the most obvious, change means heading away from comfortability, even when the change is everything we want the unknown will always cause a lot of fear and doubt. Good change can still be daunting. These fears can also be intrinsically tied to a fear of failure, when we don’t know the outcome we get caught up in the worry of ‘what if it doesn’t work out?’ We have to be careful not to let that fear hold us back from moving forward in our life. Yes, those fears may come your way, and yes many people have experienced these as well, but learn how to face them boldly and deal with them so you can move on in to the path that is meant for you. The fear of the unknown and the fear of failure have stopped many people from growing in to who they are meant to be, don’t let it stop you.
Not Feeling Prepared
Another reason we get scared? Because a lot of what we do we won't feel prepared for and when we don’t feel prepared we worry and we doubt. We have to remember just because we don't feel ready it doesn't mean that we aren't. We all feel like we have to be at a certain point in our life or that we need to have our shit together but the truth is no one really feels like they have it all together. The reason I was scared about getting engaged (see last blog) wasn't because of who I was marrying but my fear was about how it would affect me and a future I couldn’t fully envision. I didn't have my life planned out (I mean who really does?!?) and I worried about what happens when you get married and still don't completely know yourself. I didn’t feel prepared, I felt like I had to have a detailed life plan or I wouldn’t be able to accomplish what I wanted to, as if marriage would put an end to all that, but it wouldn’t, only I could do that. At the end of the day there will be plenty of times we just have to move forward with a trust in ourselves that gives us the courage to fail, to jump in even if we can't always see the bottom, and to believe in our ability to do something, whether we feel prepared for it or not.
Not Feeling Worthy
Unfortunately too many people are already walking around this world feeling unworthy and when big changes come that rattles us even more. So if we are already feeling like we aren’t enough this can intensify those feelings and internal questions. We feel like we are undeserving of good things and when we aren’t careful we will let that feeling invade every area of our life. We will let one failure or misstep make us believe that everything that goes wrong means something is wrong with us. We lose faith in our ability to make the right decisions. We will question our every move because we don’t trust that we are worthy of what good things could be next for us even if we do get it right. First, we have to remember our worthiness because there will always be things that knock us down. Second, we have to be able to rise back up knowing we are deserving of what is next, even with past failures or mistakes in the rearview. If we can’t see our own worthiness we will run from big change, even the good ones, and if we do that we will always be running from our full potential.
No matter what might be causing you to question the next move or big change taking place in your life I need you to know two things: 1) don’t be so hard on yourself, it is completely normal for you to feel this way 2) when these moments occur DO THE WORK! Don’t push it down and hope it goes away and don’t ignore your inner voice. Work on yourself, and work to understand why you are feeling what you feel, and you will get a clearer picture of the changes and decisions that are meant for you and which ones are not. The worst thing you can ever do is silence the questions with 'well this should make me happy', because then you aren't exploring your very real feelings you aren't figuring out your why, you are just assuming you should feel a certain way. When we don't face the doubts then they never go away, they will linger in our life. Fear can stop us from a lot, not ever feeling prepared or worthy can as well, but if you are ready to face those issues in your life and do the work you can start to push the worry aside and move in to the next chapters of your life. So be happy and be scared shitless and for the love of God do not worry when you feel both of these things, big changes are daunting, but you got this!