Why Are You Afraid of Change?

Fear of change is natural. However, why does it happen? Are there other fears behind it? In this article, we talk about six possible reasons for being afraid of change.
Why Are You Afraid of Change?

Last update: 15 July, 2021

You’ll make many decisions throughout your life. They lead you down different paths. Behind these decisions, which aren’t always easy to make, lies change. Then, fear appears. However, why are you afraid of change? What happens inside you that scares and paralyzes you? In this article, we talk about six possible causes.

Why do you fear change?

Behind your fear of change, there may be deeper fears. Fear of not being able to face your new circumstances perhaps, or of not having the resources to be happy again. You might also feel other emotions. For example, sadness over the sense of loss or uncertainty.

If you want to understand what the cause of your fears might be, here are six possible explanations.

A woman looking fearful, perhaps having a fear of change.

You don’t know how to handle new or different situations

Not knowing how to manage a new situation is one of the possible reasons for being afraid of change. This is because what you don’t understand tends to scare you.

Change comes with a new reality. If you feel you aren’t adequately equipped to deal with it, you might feel afraid. In fact, this is often due to a lack of confidence in your own capabilities.

Change means loss

Loss is often behind change. Your new reality arrives because the old one didn’t work or wasn’t what you wanted.

This means facing a loss. It might be of a loved one, a partner, a job, or a home, among others. With this loss, you start to grieve. This process allows you to accept the loss and integrate it into your new reality.

Fear of being wrong

Fear of being wrong is another reason why you might be afraid of change. Change means a new stage, a reorganization of your circumstances, or an adaptation of them.

Therefore, you might fear that the decisions you’re going to have to make may not be the “right” ones. On the other hand, change often happens due to decisions you’ve made. In this case, your fear may concern the worry that these decisions weren’t ideal.

Resistance to letting go

Making a decision to change your life often involves letting go of other routes you could’ve taken. Naturally, this isn’t always easy.

A resistance to let go or the feeling that you could’ve done things a different way can explain why you fear change. It’s only natural. Furthermore, perhaps you’re one of the less flexible types of people who struggle with change.

“If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.”

-Giuseppi Tomasi di Lampedusa-

Fear of criticism or rejection

You might be afraid of being criticized for the decision you’ve made. On the other hand, you may fear that you’ll face rejection on the new path you’ve chosen to take and your loved ones won’t support you.

Fear of rejection is often hidden behind fear of change. However, you need to choose what you want in life from your own decisions, as they lead somewhere. Fear leads to nowhere.

Not being in control

With change, you often experience a loss of control. Indeed, a new unknown reality arrives, and you might feel you’ve lost control of the situation.

Generally, people like to feel in charge of their own destiny, even though this is delusional in itself. Anyway, you probably like to feel you’re in control. For this reason, the feeling that certain things no longer rely on you might upset you.

A man looking stressed.

How to manage the fear of change

There’s no magic formula for this. In addition, everyone’s situation is unique. However, some ideas might help you when you’re facing change and you feel fearful:

  • Mentally prepare yourself for the new situation. Take some time to visualize it.
  • Ask yourself what you need, both emotionally and materially.
  • Trust your personal resources and coping strategies.
  • If you lost something, allow yourself to grieve.
  • Feel the fear. Don’t be afraid of it. Talk to it and try to find meaning in it.
  • Focus on your new present.

There’ll always be changes in your life. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of the fear you might feel and give it space. In fact, it’s perfectly normal to be afraid of change. Indeed, sometimes, it can really shake you up. However, you should always try to find meaning in the new reality you’re facing.

“The changes we dread most may contain our salvation.”

-Barbara Kingsolver-

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Kübler-Ross, E., & Kessler, D. (2016). Sobre el duelo y el dolor. Luciérnaga.
  • Öhman, A. (2000). “El miedo y la ansiedad: evolutiva, cognitiva y perspectivas clínicas”. En Lewis, Michael; Haviland-Jones, Jeannette M. Manual de emociones . Nueva York: The Guilford Press. pp. 573-93.

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