Even Change for the Good Is not always Painless

Fear and resistance to change will always be present. Remember that it is not easy to leave your comfort zone.
Even Change for the Good Is not always Painless
Gema Sánchez Cuevas

Written and verified by the psychologist Gema Sánchez Cuevas.

Last update: 08 February, 2024

A change is a challenge. Most of the time, it is an adventure that we begin without completely knowing our final destination.

Whether it is a change for the good or for the bad, change forces us to face the uncertainty of the future. At the same time, it forces us to abandon the safety mechanisms we get used to.

Choosing the rarely traveled path, one that doesn’t show our old footprints, is an exercise in bravery. Many times, it is also one of intelligence.

It’s challenging to walk through inhospitable terrain, even when we believe the change for the good is much better than the old way, regardless of the reason.

We might undertake this in order to get a position with more responsibility at work, incorporate an exercise plan into our daily routine, or begin a new relationship.

Change takes time

Even though the change might be for the better, it is a process. As such, we must go through a series of stages, which come with their respective emotional states and consequences.

Aside from this, we have to remember that our brains prefer the continuity, stability, and feeling of security the familiar provides. That is why, once in a while, they will play tricks on us, creating doubt and using nostalgia to keep us in place.

See Also: Brain Plasticity

Accordingly, there are changes that, even if they do lead us to that which we desire so much, may also cause us pain. In one way or another, change means to say goodbye to things which, up until now, had been a part of our lives. These may be habits, people, or situations. So, what can we do to manage the feeling of loss?

When the winds of change blow, some build walls. Others, windmills
– Chinese Proverb –

Painful Change for the Good

Saying goodbye, one of the hardest steps

Beginning a new stage in life means leaving behind another. In order for everything to go well, the best thing is to make sure the first stage is finished. That is, we should not leave any matters on cliffhangers nor wait for our reply.

To accomplish this, it is necessary to say goodbye. But it is not always easy. It requires bravery. It also needs a clear understanding of what we want for ourselves. Even so, it can still be complicated.

Saying goodbye to what we have been doing or feeling until now requires taking on and managing our feelings. For example, if we have decided to get a divorce because we think we’ll be better off, we need to manage the sadness we feel at breaking up with our partner. Despite it being a change for the better, the break causes us pain.

Take control of your feelings

If we do not manage our feelings appropriately, they can stop our transformation process. They can stop the change by delaying the end of the current stage.

It might be out of fear, indecision, or perhaps fear of what others may think. When we don’t manage our emotional state well, we become trapped. It is important to understand the pain, sadness, and even annoyance associated with change for the better.

See Also: Emotional Control

In order to help us move forward, we can ask what is it that is keeping us in place. We should also ask what awaits us if we take a step ahead and what is it that we don’t want to lose.

The answers to these questions will clear up the path and the emotional confusion we feel. They will remind us of the reason for our decision to change.

Once we have cleared away the doubts, what’s left is to accept pain. That is, push through the discomfort to leave our caterpillar stage and become butterflies.

Let us not forget that a change is always an exchange of gains and losses. Between our past “I” and future “I,” through the path of the “I” of today. It is important to identify what we are leaving. Also, the opportunities that may come.

Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.
– Soren Kierkegaard –

Morning Butterfly Change for the Good

Confronting the new change for the good responsibly

Saying goodbye to that which made up a part of our life isn’t the last part of the change process. It’s not even the last section of the chapter. Once the previous stage has been completed, we have to open up to the new reality.

This reality comes from our new attitude and ways of behaving. It is a reality full of uncertainty that will demand, beyond the planned changes, a process of adaption to the consequences.

The change for the good will push us toward a universe full of possibilities. In this universe, our attitude functions as a compass.

From there, the attitude with which we face it will depend on us. Managing our emotional world is also necessary in this new stage. It is very important to keep calm. To remember those moments when we were lost but finally found ourselves.

There will be some aspects of the new situation which will be pleasant for us. Others will be new experiences. Yet some we will not like so much. But in the end, the will to stay and the responsibility to do so is ours. The secret lies in not losing ourselves on this new journey.

As we can see, a change for the good can be painful because they implies saying goodbye to a part of our history. Relinquishing it is the price to pay when we want and need to start a new stage.

I learned that we can’t go backwards, that the essence of life is to go forwards. The truth is that life is a one-way street.
– Agatha Christie –

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