Change is difficult for most of us. We get comfortable with our lives just like they are, even when they are lives filled with chronic pain and fatigue. But resisting healthy changes could be preventing you from feeling better. Often, small changes (or even big changes) are just what we need. If we stop resisting, we can feel better.
I read an interesting article last week about Ending Resistance. This article discussed resisting change when it comes to your business, but when I read the 15 Feelings That Create Resistance I quickly realized that they apply to everything in life, including resisting making changes to improve our health. I took her list and modified it a to fit those dealing with health challenges.
10 Feelings That Keep Us From Making Healthy Changes
1 . Fear of losing part of your identity.
It’s hard to admit it but after a while being sick becomes part of who we are. It’s a lot easier to hang onto the knowledge of what you’ve learned to expect out of life, than to have to figure out who you are all over again.
2 . Anxiety over who you will “have to be”.
If we get better, even a little bit, what does that mean for us? Who will we be then? Will I have to go out and get a regular job again? What will be expected of me? What will I expect of myself?
3 . Guilt for believing something that runs counter to what you’ve previously “known”.
There’s a huge guilt feeling in believing that something might help, especially when it’s something we’ve sworn in the past couldn’t possibly help us.
4 . Pride in being right.
Pride is a dangerous thing. Admitting that the ideas and beliefs we’ve held might have been wrong is one of the hardest things we can possibly do.
5 . Shame about how this new information reflects on you.
Does the fact that you didn’t figure this out sooner mean you are a bad person? No. It doesn’t. It’s hard to grasp the idea that something you could have done before might work. We feel ashamed that we didn’t try it sooner.
6 . Regret over taking so long to understand.
Whether you are just coming to terms with the idea that something might work, or you’ve already jumped on board, there will be regret. It’s a fact of life and something we have to learn to let go of. Holding onto regret (of any kind) will negatively impact our emotional and physical health.
7 . Embarrassment over past actions.
We’ve shouted from the rooftops that going gluten-free won’t help, and then we find it will. How embarrassing. Gotta let it go.
8 . Fear that it won’t work (the first time).
What if you put forth all that effort and it doesn’t work? Or, doesn’t work right away? Are you willing to try it again? What if you’ve already tried it and it worked a little but you slid back to your old ways?
9 . Fear of not knowing how to make the change.
Even when you know what changes might help you feel better, knowing how to make those changes in a way that will work for you is a different story.
10. Fear that it won’t be worth the effort
There’s a fear that however much it might work it won’t be worth the effort.
I can tell you that I’ve experienced each of these emotions as I’ve chosen to make changes to feel better. I did shout from the rooftops (or at least from this blog) that there’s no way going gluten-free (or changing my diet, in general) would possibly make me feel better. Pride held me back for a long time.
Then I was finally convinced that perhaps I was wrong and I went through guilt and shame at taking so long to understand.
I was afraid the changes wouldn’t work. I was afraid of not knowing how to make the changes, and I took a risk of coming up with my way of doing things. I was greatly afraid it wouldn’t be worth the effort, while at the same time I was embarrassed to admit that it might, and that I’d probably been wrong.
The shame and guilt were great; and they still are when I think back on my past actions. However, I know that I have to let that go. That the only way to feel better is to take a risk and try something new that I, perhaps, thought would never work.
It may not be diet change that is the thing you are resisting, it may be something else. Whatever it is, take the risk. It’s probably worth it.
What changes have you been resisting due to fear, guilt, shame, or one of these other emotions? How have you broken through the resistance? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
- How I reclaimed my life from chronic illness
- Chronic Illness Letting Go of Guilt
- When Chronic Pain Causes Shame, Practice Self-Compassion
- Turning Fear into Gratitude