I remember years ago, when I first started volunteering at the day rehabilitation program, the managers parting words as I finished my first shift was “Working here will change you” I vividly remember the bus journey home, considering the potential consequences of change I mean I had already changed a lot! I was in a newish relationship If I changed again would my new partner like the new me? Did I want to change? How would I change? What would change look like? I had previously just completed my Diplomas in counselling where I had learned shit loads about the real me, I had changed a lot, my attitude to life was very different from what it had been years previously, I was much more confident, much more self-aware and to be quite honest I think I had been through enough fucking change, This was the first time in years that I actually felt happier in my skin, felt I could be me, my environment had changed I had a partner who encouraged me opposed to holding me back, my family were supportive, I was in more control over my life than I has ever felt possible, did I want to change again? I concluded that the answer was a resounding fucking NO!
Fast forward, 20+ years and those words are still there, even when I recall them it still brings back those feelings of fear, but my attitude to change has changed also since then. Whether we like it or not, we are changing all the time, as the years go by, I realise we are constantly, adapting, learning and evolving whether we like it or not? Change is inevitable and there will always be negative and positive consequences they are intrinsically linked.
I have learned that adapting to change is a skill and by ignoring or refusing to adapt to change in the longer term can have negative consequences for our own mental and physical health and well being. The key to adapting to change is recognising how we respond to it, particularly around change that is out of our control. Let me explain…
For years I stayed in a relationship hoping that the other person would change, be the person that I wanted them to be, when I finally realised that this person would never change and that this was out of my control, despite everything I tried to manipulate to try and change this person I had to face the reality that I would have to make the changes myself, I had to let go. However there were pros and cons to this instigating change, letting go of control when you aren’t sure about the outcome is daunting, hence why so many people resist change they stay stuck out of fear, or fear of the unknown.
When I finally left the relationship I was forced to recognise that I had changed too, I wasn’t the person I was when I first met him, I had to come to terms with the fact that I had allowed myself to be unhappy for years, I had allowed myself to become brainwashed into thinking I couldn’t do it alone, I had allowed myself to become dependent on someone else, I had lost my identity, I didn’t know who I was anymore, I had to sit with all thoughts uncomfortable feelings and emotions and uncertainty about the future. I had just instigated the biggest change in my life at that point and it was fucking scary, so much so at times it could have been so much easier to just go back, the short term consequences were hard, externally my life changed in so many ways, I had nothing in terms of a job, furniture or money I had little control of this.
At the time I was a much more fragile version of the person than I am today, but I had taken back some control, it didn’t seem like much at the time, I couldn’t see it back then, but the longer-term consequences have been far more positive. By stepping away, from something that was making me unhappy, by making the change I had provided myself with some space, some time to think, time to reflect, time to #haveawordwimesen and ask myself for the first time in a long time “What did I want?” Or more importantly “what did I no longer want?” Just by asking myself these two questions I took back some self control.
I realised that I was sick and tired of putting others before myself, I have learned that we will always come into contact and interact with many people we might not like, we might not like their values or their beliefs, there are then people we would love to change, but that isn’t something that we can control, but what we can control and change is how we adapt and respond, we cannot escape them, not unless we take ourselves off to the middle of nowhere and become a hermit , which ain’t very practical
Change is enviable we cannot control everything, people die, shit things happen to good people but we can control how we react and respond, we have more control of our thoughts than we ever knew, but in order to control your thoughts, you first have to learn how to understand them, the only shit bit about this compromise is that there’s only you that can do this?
Only you know what you are thinking, you will need to work it out for yourselves. Learn to not be afraid of your thought’s, learn to sit with the uncomfortable ones, one of the most liberating part’s of #
I use to use drugs to control my thoughts and feelings, but now realise that the only person who can manage and control my feelings
I used to be afraid of speaking my mind, speaking my truth in fear of upsetting the status quo, I now realise by not speaking my truth the only person I upset or hurt is myself.
I used to be afraid of showing my emotions out of fear of being misjudged or misunderstood, whereas I now recognise that by suppressing my feelings, only serves to hurt myself in the long run.
Change is difficult, change is challenging, change is inevitable, change is something you cannot control, cannot avoid change, there are no shortcuts but we can control how we adapt and respond to change and whether we like it or not, change is part of life, we have a choice we can continue to reject change or we can embrace it, learning to let go of control – “easier said than done, if you are a control freak like me sen!” but I am working on it