People Don’t Want You to Change

 

It’s been said that the only constant in life is change.

Our life experiences, even the most mundane, change us internally. Maybe you flip on a political issue, or realize that you don’t like your neighborhood anymore.

While subtle in the moment, over time these changes compound. We gradually find that we have different priorities, believe in different causes, get excited about new things. And while this growth is exciting, it can cause tension and discomfort. The more we change internally, the more difficult it becomes to maintain the external status quo of our lives.

To relieve this tension, we start to outwardly change our environment to match what’s going on in our head. These internal changes suddenly become overt, noticeable. It’s no longer an invisible process.

We change our careers, we change our hobbies, or the places we live. And, inevitably, we change the relationships we have with other people, with our family and friends.

Our hope, through these changes, is that people are understanding. That they will realize the importance of what you’re working to do in your life and support you. But, as thoroughly as we may try to explain or rationalize, there will be people that will not understand.

When you start to make changes in your life based on what you know to be true about yourself, you will have people you respect and look up to tell you that what you’re doing is foolish. That you need to rethink your choices or that you really haven’t thought this all the way through.

“Are you sure about that?” or “That’s incredibly risky.” or “What are you doing?!”.

This will be scary. We as people are influenced by how others perceive us. We crave affirmation and connection. We want to be told that what we’re doing is smart and important and when we don’t get that, we hesitate. Or more frequently, we stop completely.

We don’t change because other people don’t want us to change.

Objectively these negative reactions makes sense. You’ve built a relationship with these people based on who you used to be and they’ve grown attached to that version of you. When you change the nature of the relationship, they fear you might not spend as much time with them, or you might lose what you have in common.

So they advise you not to do it. It’s not malicious or vengeful, they just want to keep you where you are because they like you like that. This is where change is most difficult. This is where you have to be the strongest.

When people don’t support the changes you’re making, you have to be able to politely thank them for their feedback, push back, and tell them that you’re going to do it anyways. Because as much as they’d like to claim they do, no one understands the totality of your story or the winding, interpersonal path you took to your current decisions.

No one understands the silent struggles, the anxiety, the pride, triumph, tremendous fear, and faith that went into these changes. And even if someone did, their own perspectives and values cloud their judgements. They’re not you and they never will be.

You have to push through this social gauntlet. As harrowing as it can be, the creation of an environment that reflects what you believe internally is of the utmost importance – the act of self-actualization. And, once you get to the other side, you’ll see it’s not nearly as bad as you thought.

As you change your life to fit your mindset, you’ll meet new people. You’ll transition your social and support networks to more closely align with who you are internally. You’ll be stronger, more confident in your ability to handle change. And most importantly you’ll realize the emptiness of external expectations and of the satisfaction derived from pleasing other people. You’ll find that the Peanut Gallery’s bark is much worse than its bite.

This process of change will be scary, even terrifying at times. You’ll have moments where you question every assumption you’ve ever made and feel like quitting. But ultimately it’s your duty to change your life and to do what you know is best for you.

Because change isn’t about other people, it’s about you.

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Posted by HaydenHumphrey

5 comments

Very astute my dear cousin….kudos to you for having the balls to do what I would have loved to have done when I was younger…xo

Interesting! Thanks for posting!

Hey Hyden, Just a few things. When I clicked on to see your post I had to shrink it down to be able to read the post. The paragraph is to far to the left. Try centering the paragraph. Overall the post was right. People don’t want change, they are afraid of change. Thanks for sharing.

I love this post and I’m happy you put the information out there because it’s a lot of people that goes through this. I had a similar situation just the other day so I just stopped worrying about it and will just continue to do what I feel is best for me

“Objectively these negative reactions makes sense. You’ve built a relationship with these people based on who you used to be and they’ve grown attached to that version of you. When you change the nature of the relationship, they fear you might not spend as much time with them, or you might lose what you have in common.
So they advise you not to do it. It’s not malicious or vengeful, they just want to keep you where you are because they like you like that.”

This is absolutely true, people often overlook this side of the situation. But if we do make and effort to understand a lot of things can be made simpler.

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