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Are You Feeling Guilty about Changes in Your Life?

Life is a journey and along the way changes happen.  We aren’t always happy about those changes and they happen anyway. There is a famous song by the Byrds based on a biblical reference.  It is called Turn, Turn, Turn. The reference is Ecclesiastes. 3.1: “To everything, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.”

So, change happens.  Why do we feel so uncomfortable, even guilty, with it? Why is change difficult to embrace for most of us? Fear. Fear underlies the guilt.

Fear of the Unknown and Change

We become comfortable with the known, the everyday, the mundane that happens.  We can rely on the predictability of certain events. When sudden change happens, even change for the good, we become a little off kilter. We might feel like we have lost our bearings.

Stepping out into the unknown is scary because we want to have control of our lives. Control is an illusion.  We can plan and prepare and still, things happen. We don’t plan to lose a job, to have a loved one die, to break a limb, to have the fireplace glass explode! (Yes, this one did happen to me…what a mess to clean up!)

Guilt can happen easily here because we blame ourselves for the event. Even though it is admirable to take responsibility (and indeed, that is a way to empowerment), responsibility is not blame. Blaming is similar to shaming. When we blame ourselves, we are criticizing ourselves. We shame ourselves in the hope that this will never happen again.

It doesn’t work. A caterpillar may be afraid to change because he doesn't know he is going to be a butterfly.

Fear of Failure and Change

Another factor in feeling guilty about change, is the fear of failure.  Do you know someone who wants a guarantee, written in stone before they attempt even the smallest feat? Perhaps that is you, perhaps it is not…

The fear of failure when we are faced with big and small life changes is immense. No one wants to fail. Because no one wants to fail, it is easy to never start. If you never start, you can’t fail, can you? Actually, in a way, failing to start is still failing. If you tell yourself that you will get to it tomorrow…and you don’t ever get to tomorrow, it is a failure.

As children, we have been conditioned to avoid failure or the appearance of failure, at all costs. Imagine a small child, taken to task by his teacher for failing to hand in an assignment. He will stand there, squirming, making up excuses about why the homework didn’t get done. "The dog ate my homework."  "I dropped it in a puddle on the way to school and it was ruined." 

Then, by trying to avoid failure and using excuses (or lies), guilt sets in. 

Accepting Change Without Guilt

Realize that the world is full of change and that in order to steer your way through life, change is inevitable. Guilt has value in certain instances and it can hold you a prisoner in others.  It is essential to forgive yourself, to let go of the guilt and move on….

Accept the change that has happened in your life. You can’t go back and change that, can you? It has happened. If there is a valuable learning, keep that and move on. When you don’t fight inevitable change, you free yourself to make the change flow smoothly into your life. What you fight, persists.

When you look upon change as a part of life, that life does not remain static…guilt is hard to hold on to. Embrace change, see it as an adventure….like the seasons, change comes and change goes…the seasons lead seamlessly into each other and change can too, if we let it…be the butterfly…

"Drive your own life…you deserve to, don't you?"  Sherie Venner
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I am a Relationship Coach who helps others create happy, healthy, loving relationships…including the relationship they have with themselves…by breaking through those blocks and barriers to success. I use various techniques gathered through training as a Master Practitioner of NLP, timeline, hypnosis and common sense gathered through life experience.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Susan Preston March 17, 2012, 3:47 pm

    Thank you, my Amazing friend for great words of wisdom. I use to fear change, but have learned over the years to embrace it. When we can do so, we grow and go to those next Extraordinary levels in our journey that are waiting for us. I love how you write from your beautiful and giving heart 😉

    • Sherie March 17, 2012, 4:22 pm

      Susan, thank you so much for such a beautiful comment! You are amazing and I love your insights!!

  • Norma Doiron @Living Healthy, Wealthy & Wise March 16, 2012, 8:39 pm

    I now actually get excited to see whats will happen next. Wasn’t always this way but my stinking thinking has been replaced with right thinking. There is nothing to fear but fear itself.. x0x
    The LEARNED Preneur @ NormaDoiron.net

    • Sherie March 16, 2012, 8:59 pm

      Love it, Norma, and you are one of the happiest people that I know! I so appreciate you reading the post and commenting!

  • Rhonda Uretzky March 16, 2012, 6:21 am

    Your blog title and photo of the butterfly says it all! Change is for the better, even if growth feels difficult; the journey is always about expansion.

    • Sherie March 16, 2012, 10:14 am

      Thank you so much, Rhonda!! Yes, you are right, change is for the better even if it feels difficult in the moment….thank you for your comment!

  • Ronae Jull March 16, 2012, 12:09 am

    I learned long ago not to promise myself things would get better. Instead, I promise myself that things will get different. Change is constant, so long as I’m alive. The exciting thing is that once I let go of fear, those changes seem to be in the upward direction more often than not, and I have room in my heart to enthusiastically embrace change as it happens!

    • Sherie March 16, 2012, 12:23 am

      Ronae, you are so right that change is constant. Wonderful comment, thank you so much!

  • Gretchen Pritts March 15, 2012, 7:51 am

    Sherie what a wonderful post! Fear of failure, success, change, all of the above is a constant struggle. I’m in a good place now that I can hear them in my head, but can push through and move forward. Not so long ago though, they controlled my every move – no more like kept me frozen in an ugly place! Thanks for the reminder.

    • Sherie March 15, 2012, 9:38 am

      Gretchen, so glad to hear that you are in a good place now! Fear can keep a person frozen…you’re welcome and thank you so much for commenting!

  • Suzanne Jones March 14, 2012, 7:09 pm

    A part of me thinks I am afraid of failure and the other part says ‘no’ it’s fear of success. If I am a success than I am held accountable to many. Not that it bothers me but I sway between ‘can’t live without responsibility and sick of being responsible.’
    What I know for sure is, a lot of negative emotions stir while I sit here and contemplate.

    • Sherie March 14, 2012, 7:23 pm

      Suzanne, so what I would ask you is this, what is the intention of that part of you? What does the part that is afraid of failure want for you and what does the part that has fear of success want for you? Quite often, they both want the same thing and it is a positive intention. When you find that out and can resolve that conflict, amazing things can happen…

  • Mandy Edwards March 14, 2012, 6:33 pm

    Great post. I struggle with a fear of failure. I think every business owner suffers from that. This had some great information. Thank you!

    • Sherie March 14, 2012, 6:59 pm

      I think you are right, Mandy, every business owner struggles with a fear of failure at one point in time or another. You’re very welcome and thank you for commenting!

  • Anita March 14, 2012, 5:18 pm

    I used to fear change….after many years of hard work and practice I now embrace it..I actually get excited to see whats coming next! I love this “Accept the change that has happened in your life”..I will be sharing this on Twitter and once again, thanks for sharing your wisdom!

    • Sherie March 14, 2012, 5:36 pm

      I really appreciate you sharing this on Twitter, Anita! : D I love that you get excited to see whats coming next, that is awesome!! Thank you so much for your very gracious comment!

  • Alexandra McAllister March 14, 2012, 2:40 pm

    Sherie, this is an excellent article! I can so relate with what you wrote: “The fear of failure when we are faced with big and small life changes is immense. ” I used to be that child whose dog ate my homework! Oh my! This brings back so many memories! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • denny hagel March 14, 2012, 9:18 am

    Amazing article! My favorite quote is “Feel the fear and do it anyway!” …when I work with children who are fearful I don’t tell them to ignore it or push it aside, I tell them to really think about it and feel it and then I say “Now let’s just muster up all we’ve got and push through that fear to the amazing feelings on the other side!” I love when their eyes light up as if we are entering a foot race determined to win! Thanks!

    • Sherie March 14, 2012, 9:21 am

      Thank you, Denny! You do such amazing work with children and that is exactly the right thing to tell them. : D What we acknowledge, we can change!

  • Eva Blaskovic March 12, 2012, 8:58 pm

    Sherie, this is so well defined and so well worded, it puts everything into perspective. Good advice, indeed!

    • Sherie March 12, 2012, 9:50 pm

      Thank you, Eva, I appreciate your kind comment so much!!

  • Rob Hodgins March 12, 2012, 10:12 am

    Excellent topic!

    Fear is the basis of many things. One of those things is an inability to change or to adapt to the changes going on around us.

    “When you don’t fight inevitable change, you free yourself to make the change flow smoothly into your life.” This is so true. People fight change assuming that there is something to win. Very often, all that has happened is that they have wasted their time…and life goes on without them.

    • Sherie March 12, 2012, 7:26 pm

      Fear is at the root of many things. Fighting change is futile, it comes whether we want it to or not….thank you so much for your insightful comment, Rob!