The feeling or belief that your circumstances are inevitable or unchangeable, or that you are on a path from which there is no exit, is an illusion. Nothing is absolute. Everything changes.
People, too, are constantly changing. You are not the same person you were seven years ago.
Physically, many of the cells in your body have been completely replaced. You’re either more or less physically fit. You are older.
Your mental attitudes likely have changed, and your worldview likely has evolved. You’re either more or less mentally disciplined. You’ve become more or less wise as a result of your efforts to learn the lessons your experiences have offered your mind.
You’re either more or less compassionate, kind, patient, understanding, loving, and gentle. Your consideration of others, before yourself, has either expanded or diminished.
Spiritually, you are either closer to, or further away from, God — that is, you have either grown in sanctification and holiness, or you have diminished these traits in your spirit.
Usually, these changes are so gradual we don’t even notice them as they are happening. From time to time, it may seem like we wake up, one day, and realize we’ve changed. Often, this happens when we reach a milestone of personal development or encounter a major setback that reveals a flaw.
Trauma — and intentional, healthy recovery from trauma — can dramatically accelerate personal change, and even personal growth. This is why, after trauma, some people appear to radically reinvent themselves. Such reinvention is often necessary to maintain or restore key relationships, or even to survive.
Accept that you are always changing, just as your circumstances are always changing. Allow this to happen, and do not fear the change. It will happen whether or not you allow it, but allowing the change will open a door to becoming a constructive contributor to your own growth and your circumstances.
As long as you resist change, you fight against nature, against time, against the only thing that truly is inevitable. Change is the primary constant in the temporal universe. To resist change is madness. Rather, embrace and harness it. Ride the wave, or you will be battered by it.
With this acceptance and permission, you must also allow other people to change — for good or ill. A person who has hurt you might change and become a safe, loving contributor of good in your life. A person you once relied on may let you down. People change, just as you do.
Do not assume that you intimately know anyone else, no matter how long they have been in your life, unless your relationship bears the signs of genuine emotional intimacy. In the absence of such indicators, you should presume only the most superficial understanding of who each other person is.
From this observation, a deep lesson emerges: change is not only frightening to most of us because we don’t know for certain what the outcome or final result of the change will be; but change is frightening because it has the ability to isolate us from those we love by outdating, or rendering obsolete, our understanding of who others are.
If, however, we are aware of this danger, we have taken the first step in avoiding it. We can strengthen our emotional bonds with others, through reciprocal vulnerability, openness, and understanding with those we love. When we do this difficult but important work, we enhance resilience in our relationships, decreasing loneliness in our lives.
Nothing is absolute, except change.
- How will you embrace change and its inevitable impact on your life?
- Will you use change as a catalyst for personal growth?
- Will you acknowledge how others are changing, whether or not you want them to?
- Will you strengthen your bonds with others, or become isolated by remaining attached to outdated mental constructs of who they are?
Change is unavoidable; so, how you respond to change will determine the course of your life. Choose wisely.
© 2021 Noel Bagwell. All Right Reserved.