Change is difficult. When we transition in life, we face leaving the comfort of the familiar for uncertainty. Even positive changes may cause anxiety and doubt. But life is full of transitions. If we fight every change, we risk chronic anxiety or stagnation as we avoid ever changing at all. I’m not going to tell you that I easily weather transitions in life. I get anxious, worry about what could go wrong, and I have even avoided some changes to spare myself discomfort.
One of the biggest changes I made was in my psychiatry practice last year. I was certainly comfortable with the way things were, but I really felt I had more to offer my patients. I went from doing brief medication visits to longer appointments that allowed me to offer therapy and the wonderful benefits of yoga and meditation. It took a leap of faith to go to yoga teacher training, and another to bring my ideas to the managing partners at work. Since no one was doing this kind of work, I assumed they would say no. I worried that my patients wouldn’t want to try my new approach, or would even be angry at me for changing. Not everyone was enthusiastic about it, but many were, and new people are seeking me out. Overall, challenges have come up, but I have been able to offer what I believe in, without compromising myself. To think I could have missed out on all this because of my own insecurity and self-doubt.
Change requires faith, because we can’t predict what will happen next. That can lead to the anxiety of “I don’t know what’s happening!” or the thrill of “I have no idea what will happen next!” The words are almost the same, but they reflect different choices in the face of uncertainty. One is fear-based and may keep us from moving forward. The other is filled with anticipation and the thrill of adventure. Think about it, the felt sense of anxiety and excitement are very similar. The difference is the story we tell ourselves about it.
The next time you face change, try thinking of it as an adventure. There will be some unexpected challenges, and there may be some surprises, but that will keep things interesting. Look for the thrill instead of the fear, and you may begin to embrace the twists and turns of life. They’re going to keep coming whether we want them to or not, so we might as well try to enjoy the ride!