April 12, 2014

Making Wiggle Room for Change. ~ Dr. Tonia Winchester

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I often think and write about making seemingly selfish choices—you know, those ‘all about me’ things.

I’m an advocate of leaving enough wiggle room so that we can be who or what we want to be, in the way that we want.

I notice that often people don’t seem to have the courage to step into themselves and their truth. It’s one thing to want, aspire or wish, but it’s a whole other thing to actually make those dreams a reality.

We have to assess the pros and cons of staying with the status quo, or making the changes. And commonly it’s not what we want the most in our heart of hearts that wins out.

Instead, it’s often the option that seems the most comfortable or the least painful or scary.

Creating wiggle room or space for change means something will have to go…and letting go of things can be terrifying.

I give this quote to my patients in a handout the first time we meet, “The fear of change has to be less than the fear of staying the same.”

Take for example, someone wanting to lose weight. She has to most likely change her food and eating habits, giving up her favorite “treats.” She most likely also has incorporate movement into her routine  and create time in her crazy busy, schedule to get her body moving.

Here’s the thing: focussing on food and movement can only take her so far. To achieve lasting changes she has to face the things that might have caused her to use food essentially as a drug and overeat. This is the most frightening part.

Or perhaps there is a woman at the top of the corporate ladder who wants to live by the sea and make art. She has to face the idea of a change in lifestyle, income and routine. Not only that but she is worried that those who love her will judge, ridicule and misunderstand her. That is some scary stuff.

Sometimes change is freaky! So We’ve gotta make room to feel the fear.

And as they say, “Do it anyways.”

Otherwise we can get lost in the hypothetical fear loop forever, which will drive us loopy with questions like:

What if I fail?

What if I succeed?

What will people think of me if I do? Will they still love me?

What if it’s a waste of time? Energy? Money?

A valuable exercise to try is to play in the mental fantasy of worst case scenarios. Think it through: How bad could it really be? Would we be any worse off than we are now?

You know what I find is better? Listening to my gut, feeling into your heart and making a body-centred choice.

I betcha the fear isn’t as bad as not living your dreams.

Would the change be of better service to you? Your family? The world? Generally the things that are aligned with your heart-soul purpose meet all of these criteria.

We must give ourselves the space to feel fear.

There are incredible messages in this space—let those messages be a driving force.

When you feel it, you often find it’s not as bad as you thought. Allow yourself the space to let that little voice inside you sing out loud and proud.

That’s a lot of giving space. I know, it’s extremely charitable.

In the comments below please share a time where you dove into fear, took a leap, or trusted your gut and perhaps went against the grain. What changes did you notice?


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Sean Aug 2, 2014 12:56pm

Here I am, one more time in the hypothetical fear loop; seemingly forever.

I market and distribute quality cuts of meats and seafood in Los Angeles. A recent new customer called in to reorder and of course that felt good, especially since it was on a Friday and would help the overall week with an unexpected easy sale. When I arrived he gladly came out and praised the product line and made a larger purchase than his previous one (the previous one being his first time). When the sale was done I looked at the neighbors homes and saw that some were there. I knew if I went and knocked on those doors another new sale and new customer would be found. I drove off without attempting.

As I drove away it's like a get shut behind me and I began the usual routine of beating myself up, met another sales rep for lunch and proceeded to criticize him.

I'm six years clean and sober and just starting to recognize and acknowledge these patterns within my life and know I can't go on like this. Resisting change is painful. The change would be nice. Thanks for your article.

Sean C.

Apr 15, 2014 8:22am

Last November, I took a huge leap of faith to leave the comfort of corporate America to give my health coaching business, which I had started 2 years prior, my full attention. The two years leading up to the decision were frightening but making the decision was the biggest relief I had ever experienced. It was as if everything was clear and simple. I had no idea how I was going to pay my mortgage but I knew in my heart of hearts that I was doing what was right by trusting my gut and putting all of my energy into something that I am passionate about. It has been a thrilling and life changing experience and I hope that I can inspire others to listen to their gut and find the courage to follow their hearts.

Diana Marchand Apr 12, 2014 9:28pm

Great article Tonia! I totally agree. I have been facing a lot of fears lately and also following my passion and what and where I want to be in my life. I think it came to that staying where I was became more painful than the fear of moving forward and shaking things up. I look at it like, I am not happy where I am now and what I want is so great that moving towards it will give me more pleasure than staying where I am and not making any changes.

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Dr. Tonia Winchester

Dr. Tonia Winchester is a naturopathic physician practicing in Nanaimo, BC. She is super passionate about helping people get healthy, happy and doing what they love. Check out more of her goofy and relevant articles on health here at her blog and find her on Facebook and Twitter.