Better the Devil You Don't Know

Better the Devil You Don't Know
Gema Sánchez Cuevas

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Gema Sánchez Cuevas.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

I stopped agreeing with the saying “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t” when my math teacher got sick and another substituted her…We were used to the same teacher that had been with us for a couple of years, and we weren’t very happy with the change. In fact, I remember how some mothers and teachers joked around about this saying…

When this new teacher arrived, and she didn’t reprimand you for making a mistake in a subject which sometimes generates a lot of anguish, and had the patience and sweetness that our old teacher was lacking, I understood that that fear we had felt had been completely absurd. Since then, I decided to completely banish that saying from my life forever…

Let’s leave behind this old proverb

The saying goes: “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” But, do you really think it’s true? Although it’s true that almost all of us agree with most popular proverbs, in this case, it’s a resounding no…

woman staring at sea

Why? Don’t you think that this saying applauds fear? It suggests it’s better to stay in your comfort zone instead of leaving it and getting to know a new world that may be wonderful for you.

Imagine that you’re tied down in a love affair that isn’t going well and a new love appears and knocks on your door… Imagine that you’ve spent years at a job you don’t like, but in which you are comfortable and safe, and a new opportunity appears in your life…

Do you really think the saying is true? Think about it for a second and stop being afraid of fear itself. The fear of getting on stage lasts only a few minutes, but… what about the sheer exhilaration you feel when you hear the applause? Is it worth it or not?

How to change this old proverb

In order to stop being afraid of change or of what life may bring, up next are some tips that will help you take the first step towards a true change in your life:

  • Little by little. Humans are like that, change scares us. But if you’re afraid of facing a big change, why don’t you start with little changes as a trial run? People are scared of changes, yes, but we also have a much bigger ability to adapt than we imagine.
  • Lead with your head. Weigh both situations. Is it really worthwhile betting on the new and leaving behind the old? So, leave behind those old worn shoes and try on some new ones.
  • Change your negative phrases and thoughts for positive ones. It all starts in your head. Instead of thinking “This is going to be a disaster”, why don’t you change it for “This is going to be an experience that is going to help me grow as a person, and surely simply due to this it’s already worth living.”

happy woman in meadow

  • Don’t critique yourself too much. Don’t be so demanding with yourself. Many times we don’t want to change anything because if we make a mistake, we’ll punish or blame ourselves. Why don’t you let yourself make mistakes? What’s so wrong with it? Work on your self-esteem.
  • Think about everything you might be missing out on. Marvelous things might be waiting for you, and you’re letting it all pass you by due to fear. Think for a moment of all of those people who made a change in their lives…changed their partner, their job, their residence… and their lives changed 100%.
  • Stop being such an alarmist. Why do you always imagine the worst? Why can’t you imagine the best scenario? When we think positively, the bad things that happen to us don’t seem so bad, simply because we haven’t exaggerated them.

Leave behind that old saying. Don’t stay anchored to fear. Get to know new experiences, new people, a new life. Bet on change.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.