Change—It’s Not For Sissies

Ellen Larabee, LPCCWillow Wisdom

I’ve changed. “But you’re old!” I hear you say.  To which I say, “I haven’t stopped learning or interacting with people and as long as I am capable of it, I will continue to do so and continue to change.”  But for whatever reason, people don’t like change and they particularly don’t like change to appear in their own back yard.

It can be frustrating for those who do change to be met with disapproval, disdain and rejection.  When my older son was three years old, he got his big boy bed complete with Winnie-the-Pooh bedspread and matching sheets.  We lovingly tucked him in and kissed him good night.  Our little boy was growing up and we were pleased to be leaving diapers, pacifiers and temper tantrums behind (2 out of 3 ain’t bad). That’s how we saw the change – the possibility of independence.  We had barely sat down on the couch when our little boy ran down the hall, jumped into the room, arms raised in triumph, and yelled, “TA-DA!”  My son clearly viewed the change completely differently… it was about independence … HIS independence!

And that’s the real issue isn’t it?  “Your change forces me to change and I do not like that.” So the changers get words thrown at them like, hypocrite, liar, brown-noser, or the infamous, “So, what, now you think your betta than me?”  Beware. When you contemplate a change, you may need an independent fan club.  Because honestly, how is your diet going to effect others? Your significant other may resent healthier meals; your children may resent the lack of good snacks in the house; and your sister may resent the possibility that you will look “better” than her.

I’m a huge fan of the proactive strike.  Gather your loved ones and announce your change (bonus since “secret” changes rarely work). Explain to them why you are making this change. And, because you know they will probably not ask, tell them what might discourage and what they can do to help you.

Now for the loved ones of the changer… let me finish the “big boy bed” story. When last we saw him, my little boy was sharing his moment of triumphant independence.  My husband and I saw his triumph as ripping away our dreams of independence with the reality of his widening freedom.  We gave him a stern look and said his name in our sharpest tone. And I will never forget the look on his face as it crumbled under our lack of celebration.  He burst into tears and ran back to his big boy bed and although we followed and offered comfort, we couldn’t erase how we reacted to his “change.”

So I’ve changed. I’ve recently changed the way I accept change in my life, both my own change and the other people’s change.  I’ve widened my world and although I experience occasional growing pains, I hope to remain changed.