Allowing Someone to Change

Is a politician who changes their view “thoughtful” or a “flip-flopper”? If your partner changes their philosophy, are they “growing” or “not the person I fell in love with”? If a friend changes sides in an argument have they been convinced, or are they a traitor?

Change is scary. Humans like the people around them to be constant, consistent. We want to know that we can rely on the people in our lives like our furniture. I know every time I see you that you’re going to be ‘right there’ where I expect you — whether that is good or bad. Life feels variable and chaotic enough as it is, if the things we trust start changing, how can we trust anything, how can we stay balanced?

I am often surprised at how attached we can become even to the negative. We want the bad guys to be just as reliable as the heroes.

Why Allow Others to Change?

Why not hold others to being exactly the same people in a year as they are now? First, imagining that you can hold someone in place for any meaningful length of time or in any meaningful way is obviously ridiculous. Secondly, growth is healthy. it’s far better to acknowledge that it happens and perhaps play a positive role in it, than it is to dig in your heels. Third, change happens. The less on-board you are with that fact, the more jarring each change will be.

Coping with Change

1. The first step to coping with change is acknowledging it. See it for what it is and accept it as it occurs. Things you see are far easier to plan for.

2. Build comfort with pain. The more you can build coping strategies for dealing with pain and seeing it as a healthy part of a life well lived, the more you’ll be able to navigate the realities of a growth environment.

3. Centre yourself in yourself as much as on your community and environment. Having healthy connections is vital to having a stable life but if all your stability comes from without you are far more vulnerable to change. Focus part of your energy on moving toward your principles and goals. When things get a little shaky out there, there’s always work to do ‘in here’.