You’ve always been told that change is a good thing. You’re told that if you don’t change your ways in five years, you’ll only harm yourself. They – whoever they are – tell us this lack of change is unhealthy. They say it’s somehow detrimental to your personal growth to stay fixated on the person you’ve always been.
But just how truthful is this perspective? Is it worthwhile for us traverse life thinking, preaching, and mandating that change is necessary?
The factors that influence our lives may reap chaos. The people we encounter on our paths may lead us astray from whatever goals got us started in the first place. But ultimately, you are still you. You are still the same person you were 5 years ago, regardless of how much you’ve grown. And sure, perhaps you’ve changed your hairstyle or job multiple times. Maybe you moved from your hometown to a new and exciting city filled with potential and opportunity. Perhaps you divorced your high-school sweetheart and have found that being single is the best thing that’s ever happened to you.
You may have experienced growth over the years, but you are still you.
People don’t really change full circle.
The person who walked those hormone-infested, sweaty high-school walls may have been shy. Introverted. Perhaps a bit lost to the arts, preferring the unlimited potential of imagination over the harsh realities of life. But the confident, self-assured version of this individual is the same person. The one slowly climbing adulthood isn’t much different than the one who, at one time, preferred the shadows over the spotlight.
There was always a bit of your current persona inside you. It may not have been the loudest part of you, but it’s been there, patiently waiting for its day to shine. The confidence that you showcase in the present has always been with you – leading you forward; shaping your life in the best way it could.
You aren’t a new person. You may have grown fond of socializing. Your circle of friends may have increased tenfold. But regardless of how different you appear and feel, you are still the same person. And that, folks, is nothing to be ashamed of.
You are still the same person you were as a toddler. Remember? The kid who dreamed of climbing to the highest branch of the tallest tree in the forest. The one who prayed he wouldn’t fall from the monkey bars into the wood chips below during recess. You are still the same person you were ten years ago, that one time when heartbreak hit. Remember that? It was the night you agonized over the one who never called you back. The night you drowned yourself in your sorrows with your helpful buddies, ice cream and chocolate.
You know who you are.
You are still the same person you were yesterday, the one who took a chance on a dream rather than letting it rest until tomorrow.
Don’t dissuade yourself when the going gets tough. You will never be perfect. You will never fully meet the high standards you set for yourself. Nothing will ever be as straight-forward and simple as you’d like. But all of this is the beauty of humanity, itself.
While you don’t change completely over time, you are still human. Always remember to try when a new opportunity arises. Let your strengths, even the ones you aren’t aware of, find their way out through the murkiness of denial. Allow yourself the opportunity to grow and adapt to the changing tides of life.
You may be the same person who fell on stage in front of your graduating class twenty years ago, but that moment doesn’t define you.
Growth is just as significant, if not more so, than change.
Though we may not change full circle in this life, our experiences shape our lives. Through these opportunities, hardships, and setbacks, we become a newer version of the person we’ve always been. We become the version of ourselves visible, today.
We become the one who makes solid choices, even when it hurts. We grow into the person who knows that taking a hit today doesn’t necessarily mean tomorrow will be worse. We become the person who knows that it’s okay to ask for help. We become the type of person who opens herself up to the right people and allows herself the opportunity to chase her dreams with big intentions and a passionate ambition.
If growth isn’t given room to blossom, our lives wouldn’t matter nearly as much. Why? Because without it, we wouldn’t become anything different. We would remain forever stagnant.
We don’t fully change from childhood to adulthood. The qualities that comprise our personalities take form when we’re young. Then, over time, they grow.
But what happens when you can’t grow? What happens when someone squashes your room for growth and leaves your potential starving for attention? To put it simply, you would never become the person you were meant to be. You would never reach the potential you should have.
There is a significant difference between growth and change.
You can’t change people, but you can help them grow for the better. You can help them realize that there is a better way. You can show them the darkness they’re experiencing isn’t meant to last. You can let them know their own pessimistic perspective is the thing that’s causing them the most damage. You can show them that their own fears and anxiety are the two major items holding them back from greatness.
You can motivate them. You can prove to them that there is always an opportunity to experience a better life. You can show them that a bright tomorrow is not so far away.
Just because you can’t change from one personality type to another doesn’t mean you’ll never find your soulmate. You may be shy in public or social settings, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never land the job of your dreams.
Growth is a Skillset Worth Achieving
The key to life is finding the flow that works for you. How? Through growth.
Find yourself in the messes of life as best you can. Pick yourself back up after something goes wrong and learn from those experiences. Take your successes in stride and recognize what made those moments possible.
Don’t let the fact that you don’t change fully ruin you. Focus on growth and the rest will fall into place.