Hanging On: Why Change Is So Hard
Sometimes we find ourselves in very uncomfortable and difficult circumstances; we are challenged and highly stressed by aspects of our life. It can feel like it's almost impossible to keep going on and doing what we are doing. However, even while recognising how hard things are, it can be even harder to resolve to do something about it. Why is it that change is so hard?
‘Persistence' is attractive…
There is no doubt that it can be inspirational and amazing to see people's resilience and their ability to cope with circumstances which, to an outsider, would seem almost impossible. They hang in there and persist even when things are at their most difficult and their resources are at their lowest. At such times we are drawn to praise people for their perseverance and to admire them for their ability to commit and to see things out, regardless of the personal cost.
… but his twin brother ‘Compulsiveness' isn't.
However, sometimes there can be an element of compulsiveness to this. In some circumstances we stick at things long after we should've let them go. We continue to try to breathe life into something long expired, hoping for the best and unwilling to confront the dawning reality of the worst. There is something very attractive to us about stability; the things that we are familiar with have a powerful hold over us. As the saying goes, the devil you know is better than the devil you don't.
There is certainly an element of personality about this as well. Some people tend towards taking on burden after burden, the bigger the better and they never resist a challenge. To them, sacrifice can feel like a way of life. Others are different, and can only take a little before they need to withdraw from stressful situations and seek out something more manageable and more familiar. For them, avoidance can be a way of managing situations which would otherwise be overwhelming. In the end, either position is unsustainable.
The courage needed to change things is sometimes greater than the courage it takes to keep enduring. However if we are able to make these changes and let go of the familiar, new possibilities can open up to us.
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