When many of us hear the word “change,” we tend to get defensive. When someone suggests we change, we can often put up a wall and dig our heels in before grasping what “change” can really mean. One big complaint people have in relationships is that the other person is trying to “change” them -but not all change is bad. Changing in a positive direction is growth. When we’re in close relationships, it can bring out both the good and bad in us. We can see facets of ourselves that we didn’t know existed. Having this insight from others can actually be quite beneficial if you can quiet your ego and listen.
Changing in a positive direction is growth.
Being open to changing the weak spots of our personalities can absolutely make us better and improve our lives. This is not change in the sense that you should cut your hair differently because someone likes it or that you should give up your weekend hobbies or become someone you’re not to fit in. This sort of change is called transcendence. It entails improving our shortcomings and weaknesses. It is about recognizing when circumstances are not working for you and having the willingness to take massive action to change your situation. Whether it’s making changes with a job, relationship, friendship, or a personal aspect like health and fitness. I always say, “When something is not working, take action and make changes.” I live by this mantra everyday. I have quit jobs, moved across countries, left relationships, and more when I knew it no longer served my well-being. Making those scary, intimidating, massive changes has always been the right decision and has always brought me to a better place.
It can be scary to delve into unknown territory, but you have to keep making changes until you feel you’re on the correct path. How will you know you’re on the correct path? Simple. You’ll actually be innately excited about your life and feel joyful! The problem is that many of us are terrified of “change.” We humans are quite stubborn and we don’t like recognizing our shortcomings or facing the possibility that we’re messing up or that beliefs or habits we’ve had our entire lives may not actually be healthy. We can often confuse our social conditioning with righteousness, when in fact, our social conditioning can be exactly what is holding us back.
It can be really scary to realize the people around you -even family and friends you’ve known forever- may not be the best influences.
Racism, sexism, religious discrimination, misogyny, rape culture, and homophobia are prime examples of normalized negative social conditioning. When we grow up around a negative belief or habit and everyone we know does it, it can be hard to recognize that it’s damaging. This also applies to less extreme conditioning, such as poor eating habits, a sedentary lifestyle, alcohol/drug use, negative/judgmental family cultures, etc. It can be really scary to realize the people around you -even family and friends you’ve known forever- may not be the best influences. One of the greatest things we can do for ourselves is be open to recognizing and changing the negative beliefs and habits that have been normalized to us.
So, look inward and ask yourself, “Do I feel good about this? Are my friendships and relationships with others making me a better or worse person? Are my choices serving my well-being? Do my actions and words have good intentions or do they conspire to harm others?” Our gut is pretty spot-on when what we’re doing is coming from a healthy or unhealthy place. We might be able to create a facade for others, but deep down we know what our true intentions are and if we’re on the right path. We can hide from others, but we can’t hide the truth from ourselves and we have to take responsibility for the energy we put out into the world. Everything we say and do (both good and bad) has a way of coming full circle (also known as Karma), so if you want a blissful, fulfilling, happy life, be sure that what you put out there is positive.
Next time someone suggests you “change,” don’t get defensive, rather look inward and see if your actions are actually healthy or unhealthy for yourself and others.
If you are hurting, unhappy, angry, or dissatisfied, look inward at your habits and actions, take responsibility for your own happiness, and start thinking about the changes you can make to get to a healthier place. We all go through pain in our lives. Whether it’s childhood scars, poor self-esteem, heartbreak, abusive parenting, poverty etc. Some of the most successful and exceptional people have made it through unspeakable pain and hardships. The difference between their failure and success is that they decided to transcend and take the necessary actions to overcome their adversity. Transcendence starts with change. So, next time someone suggests you “change,” don’t get defensive, rather look inward and see if your actions are actually healthy or unhealthy for yourself and others.
Ask yourself now, “Am I genuinely satisfied with my life? What actions can I take today to change my circumstances and get to a healthier, happier place?” Oftentimes change is exactly what you need. Don’t let your ego get in the way of your improvement and happiness.