I Hate My Career, Lack Meaning in My Life, and Don’t Know Who I Am, But Now What?
Many men and women in their 40s find themselves at a crossroads. They may have been in a unhappy marriage for years, or they may have reached a point in their career where they feel stagnant and unfulfilled. They may know that they need to make a change, but the thought of starting over can be paralyzing. However, it is important to remember that change can be a good thing. It can be an opportunity to find out who you really are and what you are passionate about. If you are feeling lost, read this article where we’ll discuss the fear of change and how to deal with it. We shall also discuss ways to find your passion or identity outside of your career.
What Is Fear of Change and How Does It Manifest Itself in Our Lives?
Fear of change is fear of that which is not known, and it is being afraid to experience new conditions that accompany changes in situations, places, relationships, etc.
Several reasons can cause fear of change. One such reason is a person’s brain structure. Some people’s brains are naturally wired to fear change. Another cause of fear of change might be our childhood environment. If you grew up in a cynical environment or one where change was not embraced or encouraged, you are likely to develop a fear of change as an adult. Traumatic experiences can also cause fear of change. If changes in the past were unpleasant or traumatic, you are likely to develop a fear of change as it is like our brains want to shield us from traumatic experiences.
The brain does not like uncertainty and prefers structure and routine. Change brings a level of uncertainty, which causes the brain to resist and develop a fear of change.
Fear of change can manifest itself in several ways in our lives. This includes:
Maintaining toxic friendships. People tend to stay in unfulfilling or draining friendships as they are afraid of facing the uncertainty of being alone or trying to make new friends. They find that they cannot detach and remove themselves from such friendships due to fear.
Staying in miserable marriages. People who have a fear of change stay in marriages where they are not happy as they cannot deal with the transition of not having a spouse.
Sticking to unfulfilling jobs/careers. These people tend to stay in careers that they no longer enjoy just because they are paralyzed by fear of what would happen if they left their fairly comfortable jobs.
Holding on to identities that no longer serve them. People with a fear of change tend to stick to identities that they have outgrown or that they do not feel connected to.
1. How Can You Tell If You’re Afraid of Change?
If you fear change, some patterns are likely to occur in your behavior. These patterns and behaviors could be very subliminal or obvious, depending on what they are.
A sure way to tell whether or not you are afraid of change is:
2. If you tend to stay in uncomfortable circumstances for extended periods.
This might be failing relationships, an unfulfilling career, or even a physical location you do not like. If you find that you cannot make the necessary changes to leave these situations, you might be experiencing fear of change.
3. Anxiety can also be an indicator of fear of change.
If you experience anxiety when about to make or experience changes, whether big or small, you might be afraid of change in your life. This anxiety can be manifested through symptoms such as shaking, sweating, stomach knots, difficulty in breathing, and an increase in heartbeat rate while thinking about these changes.
4. Procrastinating change.
If you are constantly procrastinating, taking the steps that are necessary steps for change to occur, you might be experiencing the fear of change. Most of the time, this procrastination is an attempt by the self to avoid making the required change.
5. Feelings of Inadequacy.
If, when faced with a change, you experience feelings of inadequacy, you might be afraid of change. These feelings of inadequacy include feeling as though you are not equipped enough to deal with the change. This might be feeling as though you are not strong enough or ready regardless of whether or not you had prepared for the change.
Shunning new experiences, situations, or places. This is consciously making an effort to not have new experiences, such as being single after a disastrous relationship. Or not going to new places just because they are not familiar.
How Can You Face Your Fear of Change and Find Your Passion in Life?
1. Admit Your Fear.
The first step to facing your fear of change is admitting to yourself that you do have it. Admitting it is an important step as you cannot attempt to face something that you don’t acknowledge. Most people find acceptance hard as they feel that by admitting that they are struggling with something, it means they are weak. This is letting the struggle define them, which is not true. Acceptance is a strength because it is the first step toward solving this problem.
2. Self-reflect on Your Fear
After you have accepted that you do have the fear of change, it is important to reflect on yourself and this fear. Reflection helps to identify things such as the root cause of this fear. It also helps you to identify the different ways and circumstances in which the fear of change has manifested in your life. All this information acquired through reflection is paramount in deciding how to deal with your fear of change.
3. Create a Plan to Help You Conquer This Fear.
Preferably this plan should be action-based with steps on how to make the necessary changes. For example, to find a part-time job in a career you love. The plan should have as much detail as possible to ensure you are not uncertain about everything, and it should also have small achievable goals.
What Are Some Methods for Dealing with Change?
Some of the strategies that you can apply when dealing with the fear of change include:
Writing down your thoughts and emotions can be a great tool in helping you process your emotions and deal with issues such as the fear of change. Your journal should be a judgment-free zone where you are allowed to express anything and everything. When dealing with the fear of change, you can address issues such as how you think you developed it, how it is affecting your life, and how it makes you feel. You can also address the reasons why you are afraid to face it and how it makes you feel.
2. Make Small Steps.
The fear of change is not an easy fear to overcome. It can be exhausting, scary, and overwhelming. Trying to overcome it can also cause anxiety as that in itself is making change. In order to not get overwhelmed when dealing with the fear of change, it must be broken down into small tasks. This can be done by setting small, achievable, time-bound goals that are aimed toward the desired change. This gives you a sense of control and pride while motivating you to achieve more goals. These build up to making bigger changes and decisions such as leaving jobs that do not fulfill us or rediscovering who we are as people again. 3. Share Your Feelings with Those Who’ve Been There.
Find someone who has been through this change. It can be helpful to talk to someone who has gone through a major life change and come out the other side successfully. They can offer advice and support as you navigate this new chapter in your life.
Additionally, sharing your feelings with people you can trust is crucial.
This support systems help us to have a sense of security and build confidence as we know that we have people backing us. Sharing with loved ones also helps you discover that you are not the only one who struggles with the fear of change. By sharing you can get tips on how to overcome your fear and useful suggestions to handle it.
1. Take Some Time for Yourself.
If you have been putting your own needs on the back burner for too long, now is the time to focus on YOU. Make sure to schedule some regular “me time” into your week, whether it’s going for a run, taking a yoga class, or just taking a long bath.
If you are unable to deal with the fear of change alone, you must seek professional help. A professional will not only be able to identify the pattern of the fear of change in your life but will also identify the root cause and help you to process and deal with this fear. Therapists use very effective techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy to help you overcome fear and the assistance is customized to your needs. They are also likely to help you deal with the anxiety that accompanies fear of change. Since therapists have had professional training, they will address, dissect, and treat your fear without bias, unlike a relative will because of your relationship. Therapy is a good strategy to deal with the fear of change.
3. Use Positive Affirmations.
Positive words of affirmation can be useful when dealing with the fear of change. You can practice these positive words of affirmation by writing them down or saying them to yourself in front of a mirror. Words of affirmation convince our brains of positive outcomes.
Meditation can be a practice when dealing with the fear of change. Meditation can be useful as it can be used to self-reflect when observing your thoughts. This helps to understand your fear of change more and it’s helpful for calming the mind and reduces the anxiety and overthinking that accompanies fear of change.
5. Identifying the pain points that are holding you back.
Once you know what your pain points are, you can start to look for solutions that will help you address them. For example, if you're unhappy in your marriage, you might consider counseling or therapy. If you hate your career, you might look into going back to school or changing fields. And if you feel like you don't know who you are outside of your job, you might consider exploring new hobbies or spending more time with friends and family.
6. Avoid Procrastination.
Procrastinating only serves to increase your anxiety when it comes to the fear of change. You should avoid procrastinating change and try to take immediate or timely action whenever you need to make changes.
What Happens Once We Have Faced Our Fears and Embraced Change?
Once you have faced your fears and embraced change, these are the two expected outcomes:
1. You Become Self Confident in Your Abilities
This is because you can identify when situations, relationships, careers, and places are not serving you and are not afraid to make the necessary changes.
2. You Learn to Love Yourself More
By honoring your true needs and making the necessary changes, you will learn to love and embrace all you are as a person. This will include your beliefs, morals, dislikes, and even boundaries that you have set for yourself and others.
Final Take Away
If you are feeling stuck and unsure of what to do next, know that you are not alone. Change can be scary, but it can also be exciting and full of possibilities. I want to reassure you that there is light at the end of the tunnel and I am here to help you through this difficult time. Contact me and together we can work on finding a new path for your life. I look forward to helping you find what lies ahead for you.
Thanks for reading!