It's okay to change
When you’re a person living with mental health issues, change seems to come so frequently - and in so many forms.
It may come as a drastic change of mood from 12:48 to 12:52.
It may come as deep-diving into a new strict diet plan and buying all new food after throwing out everything in your fridge.
It may come as a haircut.
It may mean letting someone go who was once important in your life.
It may come as a sudden downfall (or disappearance) in your self-care.
It may also come as a decision to better yourself as a person and decide to dedicate your time to improving the things that bring you down.
Change has always been a hard thing for me to accept. I could never sit with the idea that for something to really change, it meant leaving the old form of that thing behind. It meant truly letting go and looking forward. It always seemed that it was wrong to leave the old form behind - that I was abandoning it. That for some reason, welcoming the new change would take away from the importance or validity of what I once cared for. I always felt one thing - guilt.
Although change is inevitable and imperative, it’s so easy to feel that you aren’t allowed to move on. When I think back to how many things I held onto for too long, goodbyes that I would drag out as long as possible, feelings of heartbreak and loss.. I wish I hadn’t spent as much time on these feelings. Somedays I wish I could go back and tell myself one thing..
IT IS OKAY TO CHANGE
Coming to this thought process has brought me to some new challenges and new things to accept. If you want to change you need to be prepared that not everything (or everyone) will follow along with you. It creates some new losses that I believe are meant to happen one way or another but will open doors for so many new things to come your way. It’s all a part of it!
HERE’S WHAT I’VE LEARNED
YOUR DREAM JOB
What once seemed like the most amazing, liberating, high-paid, creative, less work-more money, sparkly, shiny DREAM CAREER.. isn’t. Now what? You’ve busted your ass for a few years or a few decades to get exactly where you planned to be down the line.. and now you don’t want to do it anymore. What do you do now?
Yes, that might sound harsh or extreme or you might be listing things in your head right now of why moving on wouldn’t specifically work for you. But one thing I’ve realized is that in a few years, you are the only one who’s going to care if you’re still working that job or not. It was a huge pill for me to swallow that everyone is replaceable in the business world. I think so many people get stuck in careers because they’re made to feel that they owe something to a company or a person. That if they leave, things will fall apart and it will be all because of them! This is SO not true. You do not owe your clients, coworkers, employers anything and truthfully they don’t owe you anything back. You are allowed to want more. You are allowed to change your mind and you are allowed to move on from this.
If you’re not happy where you are, it’s up to you to figure out where you will be. You are the only thing holding yourself back.
The faster you jump, the faster you will find it.
YOUR BEST FRIENDS.. FOREVER?
THIS is a tough one for me. It’s something I’m currently working through as I’m writing this. It’s something that I have fought and fought against because I didn’t want to believe that it was possible.
“I know that people grow apart as they get older, but not MY friends. I know that it’s hard to see each other when you live in different cities, but MY friends will travel the distance. I know that we’re all going to change our goals and personality traits but MY friends will always mesh and love each other and go for coffee dates and it will all be sunshine and rainbows!!”
Ahem.. Nottttttt so much..
I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many times I have been pinky-promised, drunkenly-confessed, love-of-my-life best-friended. Every single time I was sure that each person would be in my life until I was old and wrinkly! It’s been difficult for me to understand that this just isn’t always possible or probable. And even more difficult to be okay with that.
Part of being okay with changing, is being okay with other people changing too. There was a point where I would get so angry at my people for changing their opinions or hanging out with a crowd I didn’t like or taking a job that I didn’t think was good for them. One day it hit me like a bus.. that we are all just growing. It doesn’t take away from what we have (or had) and it doesn’t mean I love them less. We might disagree on certain things and we might drift over time - but I love the people who have cared for me and that is never going to change. I am finding new forms of friendship in these old friends of mine and it really is a beautiful thing.
We have to change to move into who we will be. And it is okay.
THE BIG BANG OR EVOLUTION?
What do you believe in?
Do you believe in God? Do you believe in Buddhism? Do you believe that the Big Bang happened or was it evolution? Do you believe that people with tattoos are troublemakers? Do you believe that bi-sexual people are indecisive? Do you believe that marriage isn’t important?
Now what if you took every answer to all of those questions and looked into the opposing answer? Reaaaaaally researched the opposing answer. You might not change every belief but I would bet that if you really looked into every belief you had, there would be a few that would change. I find this part of change to be SO uncomfortable and SO fascinating.
I used to believe that monogamous relationships were nothing but a bore. I used to believe that factory jobs were a sell-out and a waste of time. I used to believe that therapy was a scam. I used to believe that you had to have kids to fulfill your life. When I say believe, I mean full blown, set in stone, would have fought you tooth and nail, shake-my-finger-in-your-face kind of belief.
Now? Truthfully, I don’t know what I believe. I have thoughts and theories on everything but I’ve chosen to not really believe that something is only one way. I think there are two-sides to every belief, every story, every situation. I think every belief is entirely necessary - we need the yin and and we need the yang.
I especially believe that you NEED to change your beliefs at some point. It will feel strange and wrong and against everything in your body to push against something you feel strongly about. But it might open up your mind to a whole new part of life. Read books, articles, talk to people, go to church, go to a buddhist country, ask the questions that make you squirm.
GET UNCOMFORTABLE. GROW. CHANGE.
SKINNY, LESS WRINKLY, PRETTIER VERSIONS OF ME
My momma is probably going to ‘TSK’ at me when she reads this one.. haha.
SO all of this talk about changing ourselves on the inside - our brains, our hearts, our beliefs. What about the outside?
Have you ever looked at an old picture of yourself and thought “man, I wish I was as thin as I was then when I thought I was fat.” I have done this so many times it’s just silly at this point. BUT, I’m working on a way to re-think this one.
Looking at that old photo, I realized that really all I had done was waste my time back then not being grateful for the wonderful body I was in. It wasn’t perfect by any means but why did that have to mean I hated it? What if we spent our time savouring the skin we’re in instead of always thinking of how else we would like to be?
Even being at this age now.. I think back to 5 years ago and I know there are things here that weren’t before. I’m finding little wrinkles, my first grey hairs, stretch marks, extra pounds, cellulite. I’m making a decision to be okay with this change if it doesn’t need to affect my happiness.
I’m dancing in my new-found wonderfully wrinkly, chubby, jiggly-ness.
HATERS GONNA HATE
Lately, I’ve been running into this one a lot.
The more I change, the more I can feel/see people around me struggling with it. It’s hard for people to accept that you might be changing into a new person - a new form of yourself. I honestly believe most people will take it personally and think that it has something to do with them even though it’s the polar opposite. We have to remember in the same way that we feel that we are ‘abandoning’ something when we change - people can feel abandoned themselves by this change.
I think the best way to change without hurting others is to be entirely translucent about your process. Let people know that your views are changing or that you haven’t been happy with the way things have been. If they are upset after that openness, then it may be a fork in the road where your new forms don’t coincide.
On the other side of this, I think it is SO important to feel confident in the decisions you’re making. Believe that you are making steps in the right direction and making an effort to better your life. Believe in yourself and that you CAN work through the discomfort of it all. Try to take the new feelings and really feel them - breathe them in and let the discomfort sit with you for a minute without panicking and pushing it away.
You CAN do this.
You are NOT alone.
You ARE human.
It is OKAY to change.