by Kathi Szabo
How do you experience change?
Does it bring feelings of excitement and joy?
Or is there anxiety and overwhelm?
Perhaps, if you’re like me, most of the time it’s a little bit of both.
Tony Robbins has a theory that there are six human needs. Two of those are Certainty and Uncertainty. Uncertainty is our need for change. Certainty is our need for comfort in what we already know.
Change is inevitable. It is necessary. But when our need for certainty is high, change begins to bring on feelings of dread and overwhelm. This can cause us to stay put, to resist change, even though in some ways we want the change.
I’ve been through many changes in my life. Some by choice and some were just hurled upon me. Today, I am once again experiencing massive change. This time it is my choice. But even when it’s our choice, feelings of overwhelm and questioning ourselves can still interrupt our thoughts.
So how do we embrace change with more joy and excitement and less overwhelm and anxiety?
First Get Clarity
A year ago I approached Mark that I needed to move closer to family. There was not a lot holding me to New Jersey, just him and his family. But my family was not here. In all honesty, I was also needing some uncertainty. I’ll admit it. I had never lived in the same place for 20 years. Looking back on my life, I lived in at least 10 different places in my first 38 years. That’s an average of fewer than 4 years in any one place. Yet here I was clinging to my need for certainty by staying in the same place for 20 years.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my home. Mark and I created it. It brings me joy that the buyers “loved the energy.” But I was denying my need for uncertainty. To meet new friends and experience new places. And I did want to get closer to my mom.
However, I didn’t quite have clarity. I believe that is why we spent many months looking at places that were never going to work. Spending time considering areas that were not really a reason for my desire.
This was necessary because it helped gain that clarity I needed. By looking at homes and considering all the possibilities, I finally had a better understanding of what I really wanted. But that came just a month ago.
Once I had clarity, things happened quickly. A search on Zillow. A home that seemed to check all the boxes. A quick overnight to see it in person. Offer made. Offer accepted!
Clarity was key. Until I got crystal clear as to why I wanted change, and what exactly those changes looked like, I was in a constant struggle.
Second, Let Go of Attachment
When I first mentioned moving to Mark, he thought I was crazy. He did not want to talk about it. It became the elephant in the room. If I brought it up, the agitation in the room could be cut with a knife.
But finally, on a mindset retreat, he was able to let go of the attachment he had to New Jersey.
The attachment to knowing the certainty of the town he not only grew up in but that we had made a home for the past 20 years.
Attachment is the need for certainty in overdrive. We can become attached to places and things because it’s that desire for certainty. Certainty in knowing exactly what the traffic will be like because we’ve done this commute so many times. Certainty of where everything is stored in our house. We become attached to the sun rising each morning and shining in through the bedroom window. Being attached to the bar we shoot pool at every Thursday night.
These are the attachments when deciding to make a big change, we must let go. They are stopping us from experiencing new places, new things, and growing into the person we want to become.
We may find that traffic is far less frustrating in a new area or new place to live. Or we may find that a new home may have better options for our lifestyle or provide us with things we only dreamed of having.
Letting go of attachment actually gives us the freedom to experience more, become more, and understand more! If we refuse to let go of these meaningless attachments, we will find ourselves stuck. It’s comfortable, but it may not be good for us.
If we can take these two steps, and then have compassion for ourselves as we move through changes, the anxiety of uncertainty can actually become excitement and joy.
Balancing our need for certainty and our desire for change and uncertainty can be challenging. But it is a challenge that allows us to grow, to discover more about our emotions and values.
What changes are in store for Mark and me?
We are moving to Michigan. If you want to hear the background, check out my Eclectic Thoughts from March, “It’s Ok to Change Your Mind” where I went from being sure on Michigan to not. I now have changed my mind again, but I took some time to get the clarity I needed.
For me, it’s major move #7. For Mark, it’s major move #2. And his first move was from his childhood home to our home, just a few miles away.
There’s a lot of uncertainty ahead. I love Michigan, but I’ve never lived there. We love the outdoors, but cultivating 10 acres of woods and farmland may be more than we anticipate.
But clarity came and was reinforced just this weekend. I want to be closer to family. Closer to my mom. Mark and I both want to have a small farm and grow herbs. I want to take people for walks in my woods. We both want to sit on our deck and not hear the sound of the Turnpike.
Clarity for me was key. Letting go of attachment was key for Mark. Together we will manage through this change together with compassion for each other.
If you are wondering what this means for Eclectic Well-Being, well our in-person events will no longer be in the New Jersey area. But that doesn’t mean you can’t join us for our digital workshops, coaching programs, or retreats! We will still be accessible for virtual talks and collaborations! And if you are looking to visit the shores of Lake Michigan, you can stay at our Eclectic Sanctuary!
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new” -Socrates