How Can Accepting Change Make Life Better?

Why is accepting change often tricky for us? Is it intentional? Are we more comfortable with the familiar? Do we fear some imagined pain? Or do we not know where to begin? There can be many reasons. Still, we must find a way to adjust and overcome the difficulties or discomfort to move forward. Otherwise, it will create unnecessary suffering.

What Prevents Us From Accepting Change?

How many of us stay in the same career or relationship even when it causes unhappiness? Is it because it’s familiar, secure, or we just don’t want to? Well, it can be for many reasons. For instance, one might stay in a hated profession due to job security. Another person might remain in an unhealthy relationship because they have children together, depend on them financially, or are afraid to be alone. At the same time, others may refuse to accept changes because they like it just the way it has been. 

In addition, we all want to see the best in every situation. Still, sometimes telling ourselves things aren’t that bad doesn’t always apply. For example, some people stay in abusive relationships because they hope those few good moments they had together will return. Or, they hold on to a friend who takes advantage of them because they enjoy the laughs they’ve had together. However, these insecure attachments can cause more social, emotional, and psychological damage and have lasting effects.

What other reasons prevent us from accepting change?

Fear – The unknown can be scary for many. We might worry about what will happen to us, whether the situation will worsen, or if we’ll be accepted or liked. For example, we might worry about making friends at our university or our new boss being more demanding.

Losing control – Many people hold on to control for fear of something terrible happening. But letting go of some of that can release strain. For instance, a brand new mom might not want their mother-in-law to care for their infant because they feel they won’t do as good of a job as them. Yet, had they taken that chance, that could have given them time to rest and refresh.

Thoughts, values, and belief systems – Our thoughts, values, and beliefs are primarily ingrained in childhood. Therefore, accepting a change that shifts from our norm can be challenging. Culture also plays a significant role in our value system.

Discomfort – Many of us don’t sit well with discomfort and will do whatever it takes to avoid feeling that way. Therefore, even if the discomfort is short-term, they may still be unwilling to take that risk.

It’s difficult – Not only can personal change be difficult, but adapting to external changes can be overwhelming for some. For example, advances in technology and sciences can be a lot for some people to take in.  

Set in our ways – Some people are very set in their ways and refuse to change or accept change. For example, an older adult might refuse to accept society’s modern ways. Or a partner refuses to apologise and take accountability for their behaviour.

Why Is It Important to Accept Change?

Change can be exciting for some people, while it can be frightening for others. Though, as much as some of us want nothing to do with it, change is inevitable. Still, it doesn’t mean that we can’t eventually adjust. So, let’s look at some of the benefits of change.

Accepting change:

1. Allows us the power to grow and learn. In contrast, we might lose out on opportunities that could benefit us if we reject change. For example, suppose your company hires a new manager, but you don’t attempt to get to know them. Yet, they could have offered you the skills to advance your career or get you out of the current role you dislike.

2. Offers us an opportunity to meet new people and become better versions of ourselves. In other words, we all have different backgrounds and life experiences. Therefore, we might gain much from others. For instance, you form a friendship with someone who inspires you to get a master’s degree at an older age or empowers you to leave an abusive relationship. They might enlighten you in ways you never thought possible about yourself.

3. To fear the unknown is part of being human. However, taking that chance can also reduce stress and anxiety by helping you manage your emotions and make the necessary changes. For example, you may become upset or frustrated if a friend bails out on plans you made or you’re stuck in traffic. However, we can’t control everything that happens to us. Therefore, it’s not the source of stress that creates problems but the emotional attachment to it.

Let’s get into ways we can accept change.

How Do We Accept Change?

Struggling with change for whatever reason doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. Most of us prefer comfort over the unknown, regardless of unpleasantness. Still, denying or resisting change will only cause us pain and suffering. In comparison, those willing to take the chance may feel more at ease and less confined. So, what are some things we can do that might help?

1. Practice Radical Acceptance.

Although we might not want to budge with changes, accepting our reality is a more helpful way of thinking. One method is called radical acceptance.

Radical acceptance is acknowledging or accepting our thoughts and feelings without judgement or trying to control them. Although, practicing acceptance doesn’t mean it’s easy or that we approve of certain situations. Still, it allows us to break free from the thoughts or feelings dictating our reality.

Here’s an example. Suppose you wake up daily feeling anxious. Your first instinct might be to avoid these feelings out of fear. But you want to momentarily sit with these feelings rather than fight or judge them. So, acknowledge these feelings are unpleasant. And then, allow yourself to get on with your day.

You can use radical acceptance for almost any personal or external situation. But remember that we can only control how we react and not what happens to us on the outside.

2. Don’t Do Anything.

As contradictory as this might sound, sometimes, the best thing we can do is nothing when change occurs. It doesn’t mean escaping it or not dealing with the situation but instead giving ourselves time to distract or reflect. In other words, we may initially react negatively to change, so allowing ourselves time to step back from the situation is okay. Therefore, try walking or sleeping on it to clear your mind.

3. You don’t need to know everything.

Expecting that you should know everything or have all the answers will put too much pressure on yourself. Nobody has all the answers, which is okay. So, why not reach out to a friend, family member, or mentor who can help you?

Asking for help doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you. Sometimes it just makes more sense to have someone who is not directly involved and can shed more light on your situation. 

4. Go easy on yourself.

It’s okay to be upset, afraid, angry, or to want to escape when change happens. You’re human and will react, whether it’s a positive or negative situation. And even if it’s a positive change, it can still be scary. For example, someone graduating high school or getting married might be worried about changes in their future. So, go easy on yourself, and do something that will make you feel better, whether a mini-trip or pampering yourself at home.

5. Find Support.

Seeking support from others who can empathise and help us not feel alone can make all the difference. One such place for support is Barty’s Adventures. They hold special events and adventures to help men feel better about themselves by keeping active, thus improving mental health. Barty – We Are A Mental Health Initiative

6. Seek Therapy.

Change can be frightening, whether it’s a new job, divorce, or becoming sober. And, sometimes, no matter how hard we may try to adapt, we can’t always do it alone. Therefore, therapy can be beneficial.

A therapist can work with you on adjusting to change one step at a time, teach you the necessary skills, and help you maintain your goals.

Therapy through can be more affordable than traditional therapy and allows many options to communicate with your therapist from the comfort of your home.

To receive 25% off your first month, head to

Feel free to drop by if you’d like to chat and just say, ‘Hey Barty,‘ in strict confidence, and you can be anonymous if you wish. Or do not hesitate to leave a question in the comments section below at any time.

Change Is Doable

Life is ever-changing and can be challenging. Therefore, it makes sense that we’d want to avoid it altogether. However, we can only escape for so long without it affecting us somehow. So, try to remind yourself there is nothing wrong with being afraid and that accepting change takes time. Although you might be surprised how taking that leap of faith helps you grow in more ways than one. 


Sandy Glover

Sandy is the resident mental health professional at Barty. She previously worked as a therapist, earning a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in counselling. Sandy has transitioned to becoming a peer presenter at several mental health settings through NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). Her passion for mental health is evident in her writing as a subject matter expert who draws from personal experience, professional expertise, and education to help eliminate stigma.

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