Change happens just outside your comfort zone.
This simple phrase has acted as my mantra for many years, since first walking into middle school (a time we will not discuss in detail any time soon!) and now as I graduate college and see where else life takes me.
Although I enjoy and welcome change, it’s not always an easy feat. So often we refuse it altogether, and accept change kicking and screaming without acknowledging the important role it serves. Even when I tell others how much I thrive on change, some parts of my life I cannot imagine changing, and even thinking about change sounds like the end of life itself.
A control freak that likes change. As always, I’m a walking contradiction. But if you can welcome change in one way, that’s proof that you can handle other changes, too, even if they seem daunting right now. You are living, breathing proof that you are more than capable of change and growth. We didn’t get to where we are right now without some change involved, right?
Here are some thoughts to keep in mind as you stare adversity in the face and decide how to welcome change into your life.
Curiosity doesn’t always kill the cat.
I read somewhere once that you don’t necessarily have to look forward to every moment and every day that comes your way. Inevitably somewhere in the mix you’ll face some changes that cause more harm than good in the moment, or you regret changing at all as you long for what was in the past or never existed at all.
With all that said, it’s not realistic to always welcome change, every type of change that surfaces in every circumstance. We’re human, after all. We can be stubborn creatures that long for time-bending abilities to skip past everything that hurts and only live in what’s good and comfortable.
Rather than welcoming change with complete positivity, try adopting a mentality that is simply curious about what each day and change brings. That doesn’t have to be associated with a positive or negative emotion. You are living out your own story, and you want to know what might happen next. The difference between a novel’s pages and your own is that you are your own character. This is your story. You’ll never know how a plot twist might switch things up and how everything might work out.
We can dwell on the negative ways different scenarios can pan out…or we could simply contemplate all the great ways it can work out, too. All the ways you might grow and evolve from that change. Stay curious and see what happens.
You’ll never grow without change.
How easy would it be to freeze time and remain in these present circumstances forever? To be always be the same age, your body look the same way, the same people in your life, doing the same activities…
But man does that sound boring! Even if I were to look back on certain points of my life where I honestly wished I could stop everything and keep it all contained in some oasis-vacuum…I would have missed out on so much. I would have never become the person I am today, someone who is closer to being her truest self than ever before.
I may still have struggles, some days harder than others, but the relationships I share are so much deeper and more enriching. Heck, even the direction life has taken me is far different than I had ever pictured for myself, but it has made me so excited and passionate, invigorated for more.
Welcome change as a way to learn. As a lifelong student, you should never stop learning, even once you ditch the classroom. The most important lessons to learn will never come from sitting a desk, but from experiencing life and forcing yourself into uncomfortable places. Don’t use change as an excuse to act recklessly, but the things you might never imagine yourself doing could be exactly what spark life’s biggest lessons.
You can start small, but forgo what’s comfortable, what’s easy. Learn something new about the world and yourself and welcome change.
Change happens for a reason.
It’s cliche to say, but everything happens for a reason. There’s not a moment that goes by unorchestrated. We’re all part of a much larger plan, and what control we think we have is an illusion. A false sense of assurance when really, we’re in the hands of a higher power and purpose.
Humanity wasn’t put on this earth to stand still. Otherwise, we’d all be trees and plants rooted into the ground, unable to move where we were planted. We have been gifted with movement and consciousness, abilities to change ourselves and the world around us. Not utilizing those gifts is a waste.
You might ask yourself, how can one little person make a difference? Or if we are so small and temporary, why does it matter if I welcome change or not? Others can surely compensate for my stubbornness. Somehow it must all even out. But you aren’t doing yourself any favors.
Personally, I’d apply this to my body and weight because boy, would it be great to stay the same exact shape and size for the rest of my life and never have another anxious thought about my stomach looking slightly bigger one day, or how my clothes fit, or if the number on the scale is up an extra ounce. I feel like I’m filling my personal identity by being the smallest person in the room, by being the one who always buy extra small clothing sizes. I genuinely enjoy being called skinny, little, petite. It’s downright frightening for me to think of my face looking rounder or my thighs touching because I have associated that change with guilt, inadequacy.
But to truly welcome change, I have to accept instability and discomfort. I accept that change is the only constant we have, and my unhealthy desires to have control only hold me back from making a more positive difference on myself and the world. By limiting the amount of physical space my body takes up, I also limit the amount of strength I can gain and the effectiveness of my efforts to change and impact others. What use is there to being a hypocrite, accepting every change except one?
You are you, right now. Not the you from yesterday or who you might envision yourself to be tomorrow. Your current self is a product of change, and wherever you may going also requires change. That change is going to mold you, a slab of clay, slowly into a work of art, each change pressing in a new crevice, inching closer to that final masterpiece.
Your comfort zone is a beautiful place. But never ever grows there. Face your fears. Welcome change. Be curious about its repercussions. Know it’s inevitable. And remember that every change, big or small, is guiding you along your path.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie