I have been thinking a lot about change.
In today’s world, it is impossible to ignore or deny the idea of change. Buildings are demolished only to be replaced by new ones, fashions are redesigned, homes are renovated, jobs are redefined, products are re-branded, processes are improved. We are bombarded daily with messages geared toward becoming someone different, someone better, someone more than the person we are now.
Even this blog is dedicated to approaching life differently – perhaps better – than before.
Change is inevitable in many areas – births, deaths, relationships, and yes, even people. Everything around us is in a constant state of movement and much is out of our control. We cannot escape change. But when it comes to the changes within us, we do have the power to decide what goes and what stays.
Are you unsure of when to change and when to stay the same? Think self-improvement vs. self-love.
Self-improvement is when you choose to alter something about yourself to make you feel better. Changing the way you live is a very personal decision. If you feel compelled to transform your appearance or behavior or path or dream in order to pursue a more satisfying life then by all means do it. This may be a time to change.
Self-love is when you value yourself and your beliefs so much that you are unwilling to bend. Changing who you are to please someone else rarely ends well. If another person makes you feel lacking or inferior or suggests you alter a part of yourself to suit their needs, pause before taking action. This may be a time to stay the same.
Self-improvement is easy to recognize. It is often met with a sense of anticipation, excitement, and motivation. And it is accompanied by fierce determination – on a personal level – to reach a goal or succeed. The need for self-love, however, can be much harder to detect.
When we care deeply about someone, it is common to forgo our own needs to make them happy. And in truth, there is nothing wrong with doing something to please a family member or friend. If the intent and desire are shared, it may be a good thing.
The key is to pay attention. Who wants the change? What benefit comes from the change? Why are you considering the change? How does the change affect you?
If you are questioning a change, watch for these signs:
- PROCRASTINATION: you make constant excuses in an effort to avoid action or progress
- INSTINCT: something deep within your gut screams ‘this is wrong and not for you’
- PRESSURE: someone gives you an ultimatum or makes unfair demands
- GUILT: you are manipulated into believing something is dependent on the modification of your behavior
- FEAR: you must conform to avoid physical or emotional abuse (if true, please SEEK HELP NOW)
- INADEQUACY: you feel less-than because someone bases your worth upon your current actions
- SHAME: someone diminishes your self-image by criticizing your current behavior
- EMOTION: attempts to change leave you melancholy, angry, unhappy, or depressed
- RESENTMENT: your attitude and view of another shifts in a negative direction
- ACKNOWLEDGMENT: you feel left out and believe changing yourself will lead to acceptance
Real and effective change can be difficult and challenging, but it should also be pursued with purpose and for the right reasons. Forcing change in your life or within yourself is rarely rewarding. So whenever you consider taking a major step in a different direction, determine if your heart is truly invested in the outcome. If it is something you – and you alone – really want, go for it with all you have and do not give up. But if outside influences are making you question the person you are, it might be best to just stay the same.
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~Inspired ME, Joyful BE