My Total Truths: #3 Change Doesn’t Make Everyone Happy… and It Doesn’t Have To

October 8, 2012

change doesn't have to make everyone happy

My Total Truths #3: Change Doesn’t Make Everyone Happy… Nor Should It

Years ago I was talking to a close friend about her unhappiness with certain relationships. It seemed that she had been looking inward and wanted to cut out her best self, as Oprah cleverly puts it, and was taking a good look at the things that brought her up and the things that didn’t.  She understood that changes would have to be made and that many changes would be difficult to make but she was ready. She had been feeling the change coming for years and it was time. It was time.

The funny thing was that when she looked at the changes to be made none of her changes specifically involve people, they solely involved her own issues. She discovered that she didn’t want to be a “yes” person, always agreeing and accepting, often making so much time for others that she had no time left for herself. She uncovered that she wanted to stand up for herself more. She realized that she was more special and beautiful and smarter than she often allowed herself to feel. She decided that she could me as funny, creative, healthy, and outgoing as she wanted to be and that certain relationships didn’t make her feel like these things. The changes she discovered needed to be made were just a mindset away, a different way of thinking.

But a funny thing happened… when she started to make these changes, it wasn’t her alone that began evolving; it was the people around her that became different. Because people don’t always like change – even when the change isn’t about them – they became resistant to it, resistant to her. She was changing only for herself but was quickly discovering that change doesn’t make everyone happy and that by altering herslef, her relationships were bound to change too.

change doesn't have to make everyone happy

Instead of saying, “Yes, I’ll be there for dinner,” she said, “No I can’t make it. I have yoga tonight.” Instead of nodding her head in agreement while disagreement sat heavily in her heart, she would be kindly vocal about what she wanted. Instead of allowing herself to feel small she would focus on what was important to her.

Inevitably, some people not only didn’t support her decision to live her life differently but they became downright angry. They would tell her that she was “different” (as if this is always a bad thing), they would tell her that she was changing, that she wasn’t the same person she used to be. Not realizing that that was the point. They would make her feel guilty about choices she made and the life she was choosing. They made this about themselves instead of accepting that this was not about them; in fact, it had nothing to do with them. This was about her; the life she wanted, the changes she needed.

And by making it about themselves they were causing themselves to be a change.

She didn’t belong to any of them, she belonged only to herself and the only person she would have to face and be accountable to at the end was herself. She reminded herself of this constantly.

She doubted herself and questioned herself. She suffered because instead of supporting her when she needed them, they tried to guilt her into playing her same role, into being the same person that she was obviously not capable of being anymore. She struggled for a long time with many relationships, many close relationships that wanted her to stay the same and refused to understand that what they were asking of her wasn’t in her best self interest nor was it even possible because as people we change and grow and become different and evolve.  She had grown. She had changed. And the only choice for them to make was to support those changes or not; to realize that the changes she was making was not bout pushing them out but about letting herself in. 

P.S. Cutting your losses

(I am the Change via Flickr, Change your Life via Flickr)

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