A Change Has Come Today
Many years ago, I came across a saying, which I found to be useful. “People do not resist change. They resist being changed.” If ever we have found evidence of this adage, it would appear to be now. With Barack Obama’s promise of “a change we can believe in” and his meteoric ascendancy to the American presidency based on that platform, the world has witnessed a phenomenal endorsement of a desire for change, not only by the American public, but remarkably, by a much larger, global community.
While there are those who welcome change at any time, I wondered how Obama had achieved such overwhelming support. So I looked at the reasons that people generally resist change and concluded that the opposite must be true in this case. People may resist change because they may not understand the need for it or they may not believe that it will work. They may believe that the old way is better or they may not trust the motives of the individual who is initiating the change. They may fear failure if asked to change or they may find it more painful to change than to maintain the status quo no matter how painful that is.
The circumstances in this case were primed. With a failing economy, the need was obvious. While many were skeptical, there was an underlying hope that change would make things better. The change agent seemed more trustworthy than many we had seen before. And clearly the old ways were not working. But most important of all, Obama was inviting others to join him in making the change. And with his inspirational words, he persuaded others to have faith that together they could make change happen.
Many of us may be in the process of making professional or personal changes right now. Some of these may have been foisted upon us, and we may find ourselves feeling very resistant to them. If this is the case, it might be worthwhile to examine the reasons for our resistance. Once we establish what they are, we can begin to identify what we need to do. For example, talking about our fears and anxieties with others may help us confront them. Inviting others to assist us in making the change may help to make it happen. Acknowledging that we have little control over many of the changes that occur in life (other than in how we respond to them) may help us to accept them. And recognizing that “this too shall pass” can ease some of the pain.
I hope the changes you are experiencing in your life are of your own choosing. But if not, know that you are not alone. By reaching out and sharing your experience, you are likely to not only help yourself but also someone else.
Barbara Fish, M.Ed.
Personal and Career Counsellor
“Helping Your Life Work”
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