“CHANGE before you have to.” Jack Welch
The first day of fall has come and gone and I feel no shame in being that person to capitalize on the timing of fall and the changes that come with it. You know, the leaves are changing colors and falling away, make room for new crap in your life, yada yada yada. But I’m noticing that the only change people seem to really be embracing these days are the return of pumpkin spice lattes and Halloween decorations/costumes. Is it really change if we know it’s coming every year?
I’ve done a lot of thinking lately on change and wonder if people are even capable of change. I’ll admit that I’m still not very sure if they can. Then I ask myself: Have I changed? Do I want to change? What would I change? All of these go through my mind in the span of about ten seconds. Now I’ve got the rest of the day to torture my brain with the answers to these questions.
Have I changed? Some days I think I’m the same that I have always been – sensitive, emotional, hyper, bookish, hotheaded, etc. And other days I look in the mirror and think, “New girl, who dis?” I feel as if life is giving me a huge lesson in this recently and I’m doing my best to take notes because I want to pass. The test? YOU being the absolute best version of yourself while maintaining your self-respect, boundaries, and self-love. All of these terms I’m using have been introduced to me recently through a life-changing blogger I found when I was at a really low point in my life (If you make it to the end, I’ll link her blog there). I was at a place, internally, where my head and my heart weren’t getting along.
Scuse me, fellas, I have enough going on without you two butting heads. Let’s get it together, shall we? Thank you. However, I think it was necessary for this low to happen, for my heart to hurt and my head to pound, to feel utterly alone even when I have an amazing support system behind me wearing face paint, waving foam fingers around, and their chests painted with “BEX!” How else can we appreciate change, let alone embrace it and accept that it needs to happen, if we don’t look inward?
Sure, to the outside eye, I got it going on. I am blessed in so many aspects of my life, it floors me at times if I stop and think about it. Never have I thought that I would be where I am at today and I am so grateful and appreciative of the life I’ve been given and the way I’m choosing to live it. But I think that as humans, we owe it to ourselves to constantly be aware of new growth and to learn when to shed what is no longer useful to us. Like trees shedding their leaves in the fall. Fall is my absolute favorite season for the colors alone, but I think I’m more drawn to it because I view it as an opportunity for change within me, too. No need to wait for New Years to make goals for yourself.
Leaves go through a beautiful process before they shed. The colors they change into are so vibrant and seem to be more full of life in that moment even though they’ll soon get crunchy and fall away. Then the tree is left bare, without its colorful, vibrant leaves; it stands tall and strong, but exposed. It doesn’t change what it is at its core, uh, trunk, it embraces the change that is happening to it.
I think using the Whomping Willow from Harry Potter is the perfect visualization here. Look at that tree, the leaves just dropped right off and what did it do? Did a little shake and relaxed. It let go of what was no longer useful to it and didn’t lose its identity in the process. It’s still a tree, it’s still standing tall and proud. It’s merely making room for new leaves, but it takes time. It has to get through the rest of fall and all of freezing winter before spring comes around and it can bloom again.
In a world where everything is instantaneous (I’m literally waiting for UberEATS to bring me food because I cannot be bothered to cook. That’s also because I couldn’t be bothered to grocery shop. Oh well!), it’s so easy to think all things will come right when we want them. If the past few months have taught me anything, it’s that time is a wicked yet beautiful witch. She seduces us with the ability to bring us food, cars, dates, cleaning supplies, literally anything you want. Then curses you when you’re feeling the most vulnerable, low, exposed. As if you’re a raw and exposed nerve and she’s taking her long nails and scraping them down you slowly while she cackles and tells you that what you’re going through… can’t be fixed instantly.
The painful realization, and eventual acceptance, of that is when it comes to the things that matter most, the universe knows you’re going to need time. Time to adjust, time to get it right, time to learn, time to… you got it, change.
Back to my original questions. Have I changed? Do I want to change? What would I change? Can people change? Yes, I have changed. I’ve always said that I would hate to look back in five years and find that I haven’t changed. That I’m still the exact same as I was five, ten, fifteen years ago. Think about it, if we don’t change and remain the same, our friends, family, coworkers, girlfriends/boyfriends… they’ll outgrow us. They’ll change and grow and leave us here… stagnant. What pain is more bearable? The temporary pain that comes with changing or the permanent pain that comes with remaining the same and watching the world change around you? It may seem better to stay the same, where everything is familiar, but is it actually familiar if everything around you moves on?
Do I want to change? I think we can all conclude together that YES I want to change. I still fight against the pain that comes with change at times. It’s difficult not to fight it. We get so comfortable in a certain way of life, even if we know it’s not always in our best interests. But this is where all my new lessons of self-respect, boundaries, and self-love come into play. Which brings me to…
What would I change? Right now, I’m trying to change how hard I am on myself and how much responsibility and blame I take on my shoulders that is not necessary. I’m trying to change how much pressure I put on myself to be at a certain point, feel a certain way, be over a certain event by a certain time/date. The whole point of this post is that change, when we truly want to change, is going to take time. That means unlearning things we’ve been learning for years and trying to learn all new ways. I always thought I had self-respect and boundaries, but it turns out that if I did, they were built out of Lincoln logs that would get continually kicked down. Now, I’m trying to build my self-respect, boundaries, and self-love out of Legos. Legos interlock and stick together, but can be taken apart when I want to make room for new changes and growth. Sometimes though, we step on a stray Lego and we are convinced it’s the most painful thing ever, we can’t focus on anything but the pain in our foot.
But you know what happens after that? The pain goes away and we continue building and eventually we forget that we ever stepped on it. That’s how growing and changing will feel at times. Like the most painful thing you’ve ever experienced, but once you do, it’s more rewarding than it is painful.
Can people change? I’d like to think that if I can change and embrace it and go through the necessary pain and acceptance of it, then anyone can. Whether or not they see when it’s time to change is a whole other discussion. There are some people who just won’t change like emotionally unavailable people, narcissists, sociopaths, etc. As much as we have all had one of the above in our life and probably cared deeply for them and loved them, they will continue to be just who they have always been. Someone who lacks empathy, self-respect, boundaries and self-love. Let them build with Lincoln logs. Let you be a tree that stands tall and strong through change.
What are your thoughts on change? Do you think you’ve changed?
Whatever you’re going through in life, know that you are loved, supported, and you are not alone.
P.S. That blogger I mentioned earlier? Find it here. Natasha has incredible insight on self-respect, boundaries, self-love, etc. With her words, she helped me through my most recent changes and for that, I owe her a huge thank you. Go give her some love, too, and while you’re at it, give yourself love.