Life Changes and What Prevents Us from Making Them?

Anyone can give you an answer to this question.

Because we are afraid of the unknown, failure, uncertainty… we don’t want to leave our safe base, our comfort zone.

And sometimes we lack the will, courage, or self-awareness to realize how necessary a change is for us.

Life changes and why I didn’t make them

I am the type of person who always waited until the last moment to make significant life changes. I unconsciously wanted others to decide or intervene for me, or for things to magically resolve themselves. Of course, you can understand that it never happened. People on the outside might have thought that I boldly and fearlessly made decisions like working in Slovenia for a year, living in a commune in Thailand, marrying a foreigner in the midst of the COVID pandemic… but honestly, none of it was like that.

I am an adventurer, so I always loved to try something new and do things differently from the “usual” normal path that most people choose. On the other hand, if I truly had the courage to make life changes so easily, decisions related to my life would have been made long ago.

I believe that the reason why I, and it seems many others, didn’t venture into life changes so easily is that we didn’t really know what exactly we wanted to change.

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For many years, I didn’t even know what I wanted and what I needed. I deeply believe that was one of the reasons why I blocked myself from making any changes. When you don’t know who you are, what you are, what you need, and where you want to go – how can you even change anything?

I wanted change, I just didn’t know exactly what kind.

I felt stuck in the roles I lived in, but I didn’t know what other roles were meant for me.

I wanted to be someone else, I just didn’t have a clue what that “different version of me” should be.

Changes came to me on their own, and I was forced to find answers to all these questions, as you can imagine, the process was painful… and it could have been easier if I had taken the initiative earlier to search for some of the answers.

It took me about 3-4 years to finally start with all these life changes, and now that I’m making those changes and living them, I’m writing to you in the rest of the text about what helped me the most, and I believe it will help you too.

Safety, Challenge, and Overwhelm

When I embarked on the path of change through the self-compassion program, what particularly appealed to me were the phases of tolerating or explaining what we go through in the program, always keeping in mind these three phases and how we feel in the process. I think this can absolutely be applied to the changes we go through in life.

These zones or phases of tolerance are: the feeling of safety, challenge, or overwhelm. In my experience, the path of change was a dance with these three phases.

When I decided step by step, for example, to write honestly, vulnerably, and stripped down in my work, I constantly found myself in these three phases (even to this day!). For someone, this example may seem trivial, but to tell you the truth, the way I write, teach, and present myself in public now is completely different from three years ago. Why? Because I’m someone who tries to please others, afraid of judgment, wanting everyone to be satisfied and happy, and for me to be in control. Now, almost every day, I find myself being misunderstood, upsetting someone, people feeling entitled to give me advice and thinking that the way I write like this means they can overstep my personal boundaries, and so on.

What helps me is that when I feel overwhelmed by all of this, I look for ways to create that feeling of safety for myself – I don’t change my decision to return to who I used to be, but rather empower myself and give myself the support to feel safe in the change. I take more time for myself, seek support, take better care of my inner world, my body – that helps me feel secure. Think about what gives you that feeling of safety.

When I notice that I’m getting complacent, I challenge myself – I see how far I can go in this change, so I might write an extremely honest piece or record a video about my personal experience. Think about how you know when you’re stagnating, when you need to “challenge yourself” to push forward, to have the courage to persevere in your intention to make a change…?

When it becomes too much for me, when I feel overwhelmed by emotions, thoughts, and fears, I go back to my zone of safety… then I need a little tenderness, support, and that yin self-compassion to acknowledge that at certain moments I need that security, and so on in a cycle.

Follow Yourself

If you’re currently in a phase of life where you need a change but you don’t know exactly what kind, give yourself time to get to know yourself and who you are. In the way that suits you best. Be patient with yourself to find answers to the questions you ask yourself. Again, don’t wait for others to give you those answers, nor expect them to come through daily sitting and meditating (been there done that – it can only help calm the mind, but at the end of the day, you have to get up and do something).

If you’re in a big change right now, take care of yourself, feel safe in your own skin, but not too much, so you don’t go back to the old. Challenge yourself, and if you ever feel overwhelmed by all those emotions and thoughts, start over with the feeling of safety and support you give yourself.

Read my article where you can find out how to support yourself if you’re an empathic person: How to Support Yourself if You Are an Empath?

Good luck!

Photo by Juli Kosolapova on Unsplash

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