Sunday, January 24, 2016

Change and Resistance


I do not typically like changes. I prefer routine and order. But there are times when I embrace change, when it is something that I look forward to. For example, this weekend my wife and I went to the zoo. That was something I enjoy, but it was not routine. I was relaxed and ready for adventure.

It has often been said that there is nothing permanent in life except change.  I suppose that is true. But are there times when change is not the right course? Does change always need to occur? Sometimes I want to scream, “No”, in the face of change. Other times I want to hide in my room, where I am safe and free.

I especially hate it when change seems to come out of the blue, such as when Facebook changed its format or when my favorite television shows changed from one night to another. These make no sense, but, since they are items that I am interested in, I feel trapped. I have to adjust.  But because the changes that have occurred seem capricious and stupid, I often become frustrated.

Yet there are other times when I am accepting of change—when it is not a surprise and when I can prepare for it. I knew that moving to Florida and attending graduate school would be a big change, but it was something that I wanted and planned for. Plus now that I am married, I have a partner to help in my anxiety (and I in hers).  Even though this was a positive change, I still resisted. I postponed my enrollment at the university for one year. Why?

Perhaps it is because change is unpredictable. It makes sense to resist it, since I know what is going on now, but I have no idea what will occur in the future. Apparently I am not alone. Many people are stuck in bad jobs or marriages because they are resistant to change. The present with all of its problems at least has certainty.

Change and resistance appear to work in tandem. As has been said, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. Resisting then, is our way to maintain control.  It makes us feel, for the time at least, that things are alright—that there is no need for change.

Long ago I heard a prayer, “God give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can. . . .” But, I do not want “to accept”. I want to pout. I want to argue. I want to resist, for as said sometimes change is not necessary.

Nonetheless I know that I need to ultimately accept change. It happens, everyday. I may dig my heals in, but in the end little usually improves. There is power in resisting, of sticking it to “the system”.

Somewhere there is a balance between accepting and resisting change. Too far one way and we become as leaves blowing in the wind—having no center and always changing to meet the current situation. Too far the other way  and we become stubborn, cynical and negative---the type of person that no one wants to be around.

Life is hard. There is always something changing. Sometimes it is welcoming and positive. Other times, it is not.

Resistance is important too. It is one of our coping mechanisms. Resist well. Use it sparingly, realizing when it will work and when it does not.

Change and resistance are two sides of the same coin. Remember that every part of life is connected, and at its center is love.