A friend of mine said something wise on Facebook the other day. Basically he observed how any attempt to make a change in our lives gives us a rush, and then we think maybe we don’t actually need to make the change after all because everything is pretty okay.
THIS IS SO TRUE. The resistance to change is real, and it is insidious, like the Dark Side. Way more insidious, actually, because it’s hard to believe any Dark Side practitioners aren’t somewhat aware that it’s evil. The symbology around it is simply too strong, almost as if it were expressly created to be a really stark good versus evil kind of thing. Hmm. Whereas not changing often seems perfectly innocuous.
In any case, I digress. Change is generally a pain in the butt. It tends to take a lot of effort and energy and time, plus the patience and grace to deal with the inevitable screw-ups along the way. Also it’s scary because you are moving from something you do know, however unpleasant it might (or might not) be, to something you do not know.
I have been tempted so many times to stop at the beginning of a change. Not only tempted, but also flat-out done it. I’ve stopped. I’ve thought, it’s not so bad, and simply carried on. Occasionally this line of thinking works out pretty well, usually when the change wasn’t very well thought-out to begin with. Often I regret it later, at which point I’ve really only succeeded at postponing the change and increasing my suffering in the meantime.
This is perhaps one reason why, while I can take a painfully long time to make a big decision, once I’ve made it, I usually want to implement it as quickly as possible. Yes, I hate waiting, but also I find the longer I have to wait, the more time I have to change my mind or second-guess myself, and then third-guess myself, and then fourth-guess myself….and then think, well, things are going okay, actually, so is this even really necessary?
Of course, part of the reason things are going okay might be because I’ve made the decision, but that can be hard to see when I’m right in the thick of things.
I find that making a change takes a fair amount of dedication. Sometimes that dedication comes easily. For example, I went dancing one time, and I said this is love, and I am going to go dancing every week now, and so I did. Even though taking up dancing caused me a fair amount of physical pain (I remember a morning when I was uncertain I could get out of bed) and some social discomfort (getting strangers to practice with you when you know you suck isn’t the easiest thing ever), I went every week, and that was that. Even now I have my favorite dance in red on my calendar. (Red means don’t mess with this, it is particularly important for your well-being.)
Other times that dedication can be difficult to find or maintain. This tends to be particularly true if you feel that by making the change, you are losing something. The pain of that loss mingles with the difficulty of changing, and it’s so easy to instead think, well, maybe it’s not so bad. Well, maybe I can do this later instead (while secretly hoping that later never comes). Well, maybe something will magically change without me doing anything (hahaha sigh).
Incidentally, this is one reason why it’s never a good idea to try to change other people. It’s hard enough to find this dedication if it’s something you think you want, let alone if it’s something someone else wants but you’re not entirely on board with. The desire for change generally has to come from the person changing in order for it to stick.
While the resistance to change can be a powerful force, I do think it loses some of that power once we’re aware of it. Then instead of letting the rush of change convince us to stop moving forward, we can use it to fuel our dedication and hold the course.
In other words, the Dark Side isn’t inevitable. It is merely very shiny (Force lightning!) and tempting.