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‘Change’ according to The Dictionary Online is ‘to modify or to make or become different.’ People generally feel safe when things appear to be normal. This way, our fears are not brought to the surface, and we get to avoid facing things that would potentially hurt us. An example of this is how people often operate in toxic relationships. Most of the times it is obvious that things are not working out and the best thing to do is to get out of the relationship. But making that decision requires that the individual(s) involved face sometimes drastic changes in living conditions, financial situations, alternative relationships, among others. Not many are willing to go through this, so the cheating, disrespect, and other unsatisfactory behaviours are often ignored and/or hidden from the public.
Because of fear or resistance to change, some people go through life without allowing themselves to express their true selves and live up to their full potential. This is often true for relationships mentioned above, but more so in the workplace. It is easier to live in the ‘comfort’ of regular day-to-day life so groups and individuals resist change when it appears to be threatening their stability in the workplace. Many employees also fear changes in their working conditions, so they do not aspire to promotions (I was guilty of this). But sooner or later we find out that no matter how sad, happy, or comfortable we are with life currently, change is inevitable, and we cannot do anything to stop change.
My biggest fear in the past (and somewhat a little today) was change. In response to any seemingly major disruption in my regular life, my anxiety level would skyrocket, causing all kinds of physical and mental reactions, such as hypertension symptoms and loss of concentration. This was all because I didn’t believe that I would be able to adjust to the particular new situation. My anxiety would further increase if I had to come in contact with new people. In addition, I had issues changing my lifestyle and diet, simply because I fear that my efforts will go to waste like in the past. I later found that I was lacking the commitment part of the planning process. But good thing I learned a lesson or two about embracing change because I would probably be in a mental institution by now with this drastic change of life that we are all faced with.
Embracing change is important to growing and being a better person than who you were yesterday. In fact, for those who are seeking happiness and success, you have to accept that change is necessary. Here, I will share some points to note about change in a bid to try to convince you to just embrace it in whatever form it comes, because it WILL come.
- Change is inevitable
That is, change continuously happens whether we like it or not. The only thing that will not change in this life is change itself. Some are unexpected like this pandemic. Other unexpected changes may be leaving or losing your job, getting married, getting a divorce, having children, or finding out that you’re not able to have children, and many other different things.
Some changes are expected. Look at aging, for instance. As we get older, some of us get aches and pains, but we also get wisdom; we get experiences and lots of good memories to share with the younger people. Another example of expected change is that we never experience the same day, the same year, or the same season. That is, there is no day, year, season like anyone that has passed. Even though we expect natural disasters every year, we are not sure if or when it will come or in what form. But we are warned to prepare for anything, right. This should be our approach to all changes in life; expect it even if we don’t know in which form it will come.
- Change is necessary
As a little child, I had big dreams. I was going to become an athlete, a dancer, an actress (especially after I learned I was named after a former actress named Marlo Ann Thomas), a comedian (even though at the time, I didn’t know there was a name for my ability to make people laugh from real and sometimes skillfully made up stories); I was going to write stories, books, plays, and songs; I was going to have a happy life.
Then puberty set in and the next thing I know, at age 14, I was pregnant.
But how was change necessary or useful in that instance? I didn’t know until many years later, with many life changes along the way. I am now an advocate for young people, especially young ladies in vulnerable situations. I learned several things about life and about myself, and that particular experience eventually set the stage for fulfilling my passionate dreams of writing. I have written a few children’s stories, songs, and poems for recreational purposes or just for fun, but became a (self) published author when I wrote the story of being pregnant at 14 (In Bits and Pieces – Pregnant at 14 (in Kingston Bookshop, York Pharmacy, Half-Way Tree and on Amazon)). Another book about other life-changing experiences I had since childhood is due to be published soon. And now the sky is the limit!
I am emphasizing here that change is necessary; losing or leaving your job and ways of making an income, allows you to adapt to new people, environments, and situations. You come in contact with different personalities and hopefully learn how to effectively work with them. Being disappointed at job interviews too many times was what made me realize what I really wanted to do with my life. My desire is to have my own business; while finding pleasure in writing and speaking to encourage mindset change. The icing on the cake though would be if my pleasure eventually becomes my business.
- Change challenges the ability to plan and think rationally
Sometimes we think we are smart and intelligent when all is going well; then a drastic change comes and emotions take the place of logical thinking or even our faith in God. Before this pandemic, life for many of us was ordinary with its usual ups and downs, but at least we were free to go where we want, right? Now we have to think rationally and plan how to avoid contracting the virus and pass it on to our loved ones. We have to decide how to get food and other necessities and still keep safe. There are rules to follow, set out by the government to avoid spreading the virus and if these are not followed there is the consequence of going to jail or paying fines. And we see in the news that some people are fearful and as a result, they are not thinking rationally. They are not seriously considering the need for physical distancing, especially when they need to get food or to collect remittances.
- Change shapes your personality
Making changes to habits, beliefs, and behavior patterns is the key to personality change. People are known to think or say that they were born a certain way, or have become used to a certain response or behaviour, and that they cannot change. This is usually in response to comments about their negative behaviours or way of doing things. I became a victim of scorn due to teenage pregnancy and as a result, I became ashamed, insolent, and bashful and didn’t want to be around people. Some people took that to mean I was antisocial. Maybe I was. Shame literally shaped my personality although I was a really funny and fun-loving child. The changes in my life up to now has ‘forced’ me to be the real me. I love people; I don’t want to be bashful or operate from the background anymore. I want to be the loving, helpful, and pleasant person that God created me to be.
- Change encourages growth
I have learned that loss is not always bad. Even in a failed relationship or marriage, if you embrace change you will realize that you learn several valuable lessons. You learn about yourself, what you like, what you don’t like, what you want in a partner, and the dos and don’ts of a relationship. Any lesson learned is growth. About two years ago, I resigned from my stable administrative job because it was not fostering my desires and purpose. I was afraid of the unknown that I was heading into, but I did it anyway. I did not work for over a year after that and faced extreme financial challenges, but during that time, I had many experiences of self-development. I have grown to higher heights that I would not have reached if it had not been for that change.
How many of you are willing to admit that sometimes if you are not forced to change, you do not make any moves to make your lives better. It all comes down to your attitude about any kind of change. My suggestion to you is to make necessary changes in life, rather than allow change to happen to you. Prepare as much as you can for unexpected changes. For instance, if many of us were operating with the notion that anything can happen, resulting in loss of jobs, we would have a Plan B or even Plan C in place, such as honing a skill and/or saving money for rainy days. Expect the unexpected. That way, you won’t feel like you are being pushed and shoved through life.
Everyone faces uncertainty, fear, and doubt, and even potential hurt. But that should not stop you from making as well as accepting changes in your lives. It is always better to initiate the changes yourself than allow your life to progress down a certain path until you are affected in a dramatic way.
As best as possible, embrace change with a calm and relaxed mind. One way to do this is to have a clear vision of where you are going and what you want to accomplish. It is a lot easier when you are consciously aware of change, expected and unexpected. Be always prepared to learn from them. As I will always say, be brave, face your fears, and embrace change, because change will never change.