a conversation i had with a friend nearly nine years ago came to mind the other night. we were sitting on the couch the summer after i’d returned from my freshman year of college talking about whether or not we thought we had changed. i recall myself trying to identify all the ways in which i hadn’t; all the ways in which i’d stayed the same. i, perhaps defensively, assured myself and my friends that i was the exact person i was as when i left.
it’s silly to think of it now, but of course i had changed. i had spent time with new people, lived in a shared room with someone i didn’t know, and gained a small sense of a larger worldwide perspective. i had tried new foods, used public transportation, and failed my first exam. i had traveled to two new states and observed more diversity than my hometown had to offer at that time. i knew it then and i know it now, i had changed.
interestingly, i recently felt a similar tinge of pain after hearing someone say, ‘you’ve changed,’ and, ‘i remember when you used to be more sensitive.’ i’ve spent some time thinking about where that small knot that formed in my stomach came from as well as that tiny sting of guilt. somewhere along the way, i learned to equate change with badness; with the idea that if i was different from who i am now, i would somehow be less than i used to be. perhaps these associations come in knowing that discomfort, uncertainty, and challenges often accompany change or that it can often be difficult and unwanted. but the truth is, i am less sensitive and my feelings do get hurt less often; not because my heart has hardened, but because my sense of self has strengthened. i’ve gained confidence and an understanding that people’s actions and words are more often a reflection of themselves than they are of me.
and so in the last few days i’ve purposefully changed. with some thought, i’ve realized that who i am now is not the same person that i was a minute ago or a few days ago. and who i am now is not the person that i’ll always want to be. what i know is that from moment to moment, we can change parts of who we are. like our attitude, behaviors, and goals. we can change the way we speak to and about others and the ways we respond to trying situations. we can change our thoughts, the direction we are heading, and our dreams. what i am learning is the only thing that keeps us from becoming someone new are the thoughts in our minds that tell us we must remain the same. i believe it’s worth being reminded that we often become so attached to the role we’ve assigned ourselves we forget we are fluid and ever-changing. and who we might be in this moment is only a fraction of the possibilities of the person we may become.
today, i am a person who hopes that i change. a person who hopes that i am different than who i was yesterday; because yesterday i was impatient and quick to complain. today, i will be a human becoming that is more understanding, in less of a hurry, and focused on the good. today there are parts of myself that i hope to change, parts that i hold on dearly to, and parts that i hope to continue to grown into
and so this week, i hope you lose your sense of self and start anew. i hope in the middle of a conversation or in the middle of a word, you change. that you respond differently than the way you used to. i hope you try to listen more or speak up when you feel uncomfortable. i hope you start to transform yourself by observing your thoughts and the contant noise in your mind and by challenging yourself to slow down, focus on the present moment, and be more forgiving of the past. i hope you start to work out, continue your recovery, or begin that book. and all of these words are not intended to say that change is simple or easy to endure, nor do they mean to suggest that making a permanent change will not be difficult; they are here to remind you that it is possible: that you have changed, can change, and are changing. and while you are regularly transforming, i hope you practice being more loving to the person you are and the people you are surrounded by. through constant self-reflection and regular development, you can decide in this very moment who you will be and give yourself permission to let go of who you once were.
i hope you’re always in the process of finding yourself.