Introduction

The Destructive Fear of Change

When our identity gets hit by change, we generally go scurrying around desperately trying to resuscitate the defunct aura of what was.

It could be our taut bodies from youth morph into ones with surplus skin; jobs change or end; homes change; we gain or lose friends and family members ….

Change happens all the time from the miniscule that slips under the radar of awareness to the major that rips the rug out from under our feet.  Whether expected or unexpected, change is an inescapable and essential feature of life.

Even when a new chapter in life is eagerly awaited, excitement can easily curdle into squirming anxiety.

Loosening our grip on the familiar in the face of the unknown can be daunting, if not downright scary – something I unwittingly demonstrated with unrestrained flair many years ago, on my first day at school. The familiar was represented by my father’s hand and the unknown, a formal classroom holding a few uniformed, tearful children. As he tried to leave me and the no-nonsense teacher attempted to coerce the separation, my grip increasingly tightened around one of his fingers. The tug of war ensued but of course with time, the prostrate, wailing, five year old me eventually lost the battle as my life line finger slipped away leaving me to face Mrs. No-Nonsense and the unfolding journey of education.

How many times, as children, did we block every possibility of enjoyment out of the beginning of a new venture, by the belief that we or our identity would not survive it intact? Through the lens of adulthood, through the lens of retrospection, we easily grasp how unfounded our fear-generating beliefs were and how much we lost out on the momentum that curiosity and excitement can give us.

But as adults, are we any different? We may not flail and wail, but the inner twists of apprehension can ramify into sleepless nights, upset stomachs and more, as our merciless thoughts conjure up fantastical details of our pending demise. Even though we survive each change (well we are alive aren’t we?), somehow our mind still insists on moulding some new ventures into chambers of horror.

The long term effect of this habitual angst takes its toll on our health, our bodies, our relationships, OUR LIFE!

This fear of change prompted me to launch the WTF now? platform. Why that name? Because it perfectly sums up the expression and demeanour that I have witnessed in friends and clients as they face transitions from the old to the new and asked, “Where to from now?”

The mission of the WTF now? platform is to facilitate the transformations from one identity to another, where the structure, habits and routine of one come to an end in the face of the total unfamiliarity of the next phase. This is where fears get aired, where I help you to discover how to turn anxiety into curiosity, and accept vulnerability and uncertainty.

Spearheading this launch is the category of retirement and ‘old age’, a phase which many bemusedly regard as an affliction and as such dread it. Not only is the act of dreading a waste of energy, but it’s also unfortunate, as the ‘60s-and-beyond’ era offers so much to appreciate and cherish – it’s a time buoyed by the wisdom of hindsight and rich with opportunities for fulfilment if the life line finger of familiarity is not strangled!

Did you think it a coincidence that ‘olden’ rhymes with ‘golden’?

Look out for blogs to come that will cover this and other life-changing features that hit us along the way in our life’s journey.

Please feel free to share your thoughts either publicly on this forum by clicking on ‘Leave a Comment’ at the top of this page, or privately with me, Gill Midgley Life Coach; email: gill@gillmidgley.co.za

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