Big changes in our lives often means taking big risks. It might be that you are asking for a divorce and have kids, a home, and other assets at risk. Or perhaps you want to make a big career change and give up a job that has meant security for you for something brand new. Or maybe you have a close friend and you feel the relationship isn’t a healthy one and you need to go your separate ways. Whatever the change, there is always some risk, or at least perceived risk.
This is often what scares people away from making changes. It’s the big unknown. How will things turn out? Will you be okay? What if it’s the wrong decision? What if it takes things in a worse direction? I’ll tell you one thing I do know for sure though…if your gut is telling you that it’s a needed change – if you are feeling uncomfortable, unhappy, or anxious about something in your life – it likely needs to change. You are following your instincts, and you can’t go wrong with that.
The Messy Middle
Mind you, things might be REALLY messy or uncomfortable for a while. You might struggle a bit. You might be sad, lonely, scared. That middle area once you initiate a change can be really overwhelming. But I guarantee that any change that was needed, no matter how messy it is in the middle, will get better and put you on your path toward a happier, healthier life.
When I asked for a divorce from my ex almost 10 years ago now, it was really scary. I had tried to do it many times before over the years, but never had the courage. And the longer I waited, the more there was at risk. Financial assets, mutual friends, our dogs, property, among other things.
Not to mention that your lives just become so intertwined that it’s overwhelming just to tell people you are getting divorced. It feels great when you finally do it, but it was really scary too. And even my ex got scary at times through the process. But was it worth the risk? Totally!! I wish I’d done it years before that actually, but in hindsight it’s amazing I got the courage to do it at all, so I’m proud of myself for that.
Worth the Loss
Am I better off after that divorce? What did I risk, and what did I gain/lose? If you have considered a divorce, or are going through it now, I will be honest here. Financially, it was a huge loss for me. That’s not true for everyone, but for me, I had sacrificed every penny for the marriage already – to include huge loans against my 401K for a property we later had to foreclose on just to get rid of it after the divorce. I left the marriage and had a financial mess. It was a hard lesson learned in terms of finances, but it was still worth it.
It was also an emotional roller coaster with us owning that property and trying to sell it for 2 years post-divorce. I somehow agreed to be my ex’s financial manager (which is laughable because I was the worst at managing money). And he continued to manipulate me and torture me verbally in whatever ways he could during that time. I got stronger over time, but it was incredibly stressful post-divorce dealing with him.
But let me tell you, when I was finally free of our mutual financial commitments and completely free of him, I felt amazing! Mind you I didn’t live the life I had before, but I loved my modest little apartment and having control over my own life. It felt amazing! There was no one in my face dictating my every move. I went for runs, spent time with friends, meditated every night. I was a relaxed, happy, confident new person! So if you asked me then, or of course now, if it was worth the risks and the loses – I’d say a very confident YES! I can easily say that I’d be absolutely miserable and not myself today if I’d stayed in that marriage. It was worth it in every way!
The Risks of Changes
What are some of the risks of making changes that you need to consider?
- Financial risks – Will you be able to support yourself? Will you take a loss? Can you pick up and start over if needed? Look at how you will manage these things, plan for the future and protect your assets if you can. Some changes may put you in a more challenging place financially. One option would be to consult a trustworthy accountant first and get a comfort level with how you will move forward, or at least some sort of long-term plan in place. Regardless though, you may need to sacrifice some financial security for your own happiness, health and even safety.
- Relationship risks – Will you lose friends or family support? Who will be your supporters who believe in you? Will some people abandon you for your decisions? What about loneliness if you leave your partner or friend? Will your family disown you if you come out as your true authentic self? Look at the fact that the people who really know and love you will be there for you. Often major changes will bring out our true support network.
- Emotional risks – Sometimes big changes can feel isolating. Especially if others don’t understand what you are doing and why. It can be really scary, anxiety provoking, sad, frustrating…you name it. It can be an emotional roller coaster for sure. Do what you need to in order to keep yourself strong as you work through all of it. Utilize what helps you – books, friends for support, mediation, therapists, counselors, etc.
- Physical and Mental risks – The stress of big changes can take a toll on us physically and mentally. It’s good to have a self-care plan for sure. Build in exercise, rest, good eating habits and of course, as I mentioned above with emotional risks – therapy and support. If you can really work to take care of yourself physically and mentally through big changes, the rest will be that much easier. No matter what these are good habits, but especially in those rocky times of change when you’ve ‘rocked the boat’ in your life.
Risks Worth Taking
My final message here for you is, no matter what you are feeling needs to change in your life, it’s likely worth the risks. You just need to be aware of what’s to come and even plan for it. Brace yourself. Prepare for it. Mostly with good self-care and support. Whatever you need to do, or say, or act on – don’t let the risks intimidate you.
While it truly may wreak havoc on your life for a while, if it’s important for you in getting your life to a happier place in the future – it’s worth the risks. If you can live more authentically, happily, and from a heart-centered and intuitive place, then you are on the right track.
You may also enjoy – 7 Actions to get your Life back on Track and When Moving Forward feels like Taking Steps Backward
A book you might like is Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life by Glennon Doyle Melton
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Marta Fields says
I am about to experience the biggest change in my life since the birth of my children. I am retiring. I’m surprised at how scary the prospect is. I have planned for this financially so not too many concerns on that front. I have worked full time for more than 40 years and am having difficulty envisioning what I will do with my time. I’m a people person while my husband is a hermit who has been medically retired for many years. I love to travel, he doesn’t. I suspect we will need to get to know each other all over again in our new roles. Will be looking for volunteer opportunities to help fill my time. Plan on catching up on my reading. It’s definitely a new world ahead.
Wow, yes, big changes Marta! I agree that you will get to know your husband in a new way. I would also encourage you to continue to find those social outlets that you need for sure. And if having nothing to do is overwhelming to you, and maybe sounds a bit boring – think about your skillset and abilities. How can you help others? Maybe create a blog on what you know best to help others? Or like you said, volunteer in a capacity that sounds fun to you? There are so many ways to serve and still have that active social life as part of it too. All the best to you on this new journey ahead! It’s only the beginning! 🙂