Wednesday, June 17, 2015

"I am who I am and I will never change..." Ummm, yes you have! :) But, that's OK.

When it comes to friends, or friendships, I have found it fascinating to see how time changes, YES, changes those very friends and friendships. 

We are told that people never change. They are who they are and we have to accept it as fact. OK, I get that and totally understand how certain aspects of who a person is, will never change. But you know what, my friends, with time... people do change. I have seen it. And guess what, with time, newsflash: I have changed too! And, I like it. 

It is a natural part of a person's evolution and development as he/she grows to literally, outgrow habits, likes and dislikes, people. Of course. You grow up and honestly, if the 40 yr old still plays with the Barbie, we can't help but shake our heads, and wonder. However, what I am trying to find the right words to express, in a very general, yet personal way, how people change with time, and that's OK. 

So, if it's OK, why is it that some of us may not be thrilled with the changes we are witnessing in others? Ah, that's a good question. 

Exhibit A: Colleague and mentor, a person I respected and even admired at one point, after I went through a very personal and sad life event, changed how she treated me. It's been 10 years... and it has taken that long for me to accept the change in her. After discerning and processing my own personal and life change I learned to let go of the questioning "what did I do?, why is she so different?" 

Exhibit B: Mentor-type friend who invited me to "sit in" the grow ups table at committees, projects, have a voice and be a "go-to" whenever there was a need. After a while I was exhausted, physically, emotionally, even spiritually. I couldn't give it my all and I was failing miserably at everything, even at home. NO MáS. With a heavy heart I started to scale back, and to utter words hardly ever heard coming from my mouth: NO.  It did not go well.  All of a sudden, I was not included in gatherings, stripped of mailing lists, and well, not made to feel welcome when I walked into certain rooms. 

Exhibit C, D and E: Family and friends who, as time progressed and I grew up, had new experiences, lived in different places, and began to see life from new perspectives, acted differently towards me. Again...why? Again, what did I do wrong for them to treat me so indifferently and often times, mean spirited? Why would someone have a deep love for a culture and a country during certain years of his life, yet now spew negative thoughts and feelings towards it. See, something happened. That person has changed. 

On the blessed occasions, and I call them blessed -as I felt a strength in voice when I was able to express how I felt- because talking it out with the necessary individuals, only lead to either clearing up a misunderstanding or them avoiding the question or subject whatsoever. 

Newsflash: It's OK.  People can change how they treat others because of what they are seeing, what they are perceiving  or for whatever reason they themselves have, that created that change. Everyone is entitled to feel what they feel, own their thoughts and actions. I am OK with that. 

Here's the best part.  My change has been the best thing that could have happened to all those people. My change came when I no longer cared about how they were acting, what they were saying and what they were doing. It really is their problem, not mine. I am no longer exhausted, but at peace. I am no longer disappointed in what I did or didn't do to "deserve" being treated differently. I am no longer afraid to say NO. Au contraire... I am saying yes, again, but only while I can maintain a healthy balance of mind, body and soul. I am not over-stressed with worry and anxiety reacting to unnecessary drama. I listen and observe. Sometimes I declare it's drama- free day and go on a self -imposed retreat, shut the world out for self-care and to spend time with me, my faith and my God. And you, well-intentioned you, sorry, you were also left out. Don't take it personal, it's not about you. ;) 

With all this talk about change, should state that has not and will not change. I have NOT changed my morals, my values, my beliefs, but have re-aligned my priorities to be the best person I can be. Today. Call me tomorrow and I'll say the same thing. ;) 

I have changed and I like it. Throughout all of this, my faith has been my one constant presence. Always steady, present and non-judgmental. Actually, just like a handful of people (which I can count with one hand), who NEVER did change in the progression of witnessing my own changing. 
They are with me and have been with me (friends and family) pushing along, cheering along the sidelines, ready to embrace the good change that has taken place inside me. For that, I am eternally, grateful. 

I have changed and I like it. Even if some of you don't quite see the change, trust me, I am a better person for it. For those who did change, and dare I say, our relationship will never be as it used to be, it's OK. I miss some friends and they way the friendship was. They are still around, but things are not and will never be the same. It's OK. You and I have a life to live and with respect, we move on and embrace our own journeys. Maybe our paths cross again, maybe they won't. It's OK.  

What's the point? People change, that's all. That's OK. You change, I change. That is part of the development of a human being and the coming into each of his/her own. 

A word of caution, just because we are who we are and we have reached some new sense of awareness of self, doesn't mean it gives us any right to use that to impose our thoughts and beliefs unto others. 'just saying. Acceptance of others' thoughts,opinions and believes is the best way you can change, if you are looking to make a tweak... is it easy, of course not. But, with time, people change, yes, they do. I know it! And that's OK. 

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