Life is on an endless run with her friend time. They wait for none, they spare none. All we can do is adjust our pace. We see the world and its inhabitants change right before our eyes – seasons, tastes, fashions, governments, the flora and fauna around us – everything changes. Even our bodies and our capacities change with each passing day. Strange then that change in our lives comes not without the usual whining and discomfort from us. Why, when change is so apparent, do we hate it? Indeed there are some good changes that we welcome, but for the most part, every one of us loves to stay the way we are and not have change affect us.
So why do we hate change?
The answer lies in ‘comfort’.
We are comfortable with how our lives are going on. We, that is every species on this earth, are hoarders of things both tangible and abstract. Some collect food, some collect money, some collect compliments. But the reason for our hoarding is the same – comfort. It makes a squirrel feel comfortable to have a stash of food buried away for the leaner parts of the year. It makes a human feel comfortable having a stash of money saved up so he can buy the luxuries he wants. It makes a dandy comfortable to have his looks complimented every single day. Any change in their routines or environments that affects their hoarding, upsets the squirrel, the man and the dandy.
But change is inevitable. And we hate change. And change is faaaaaaaaaar bigger a thing than we are, unstoppable, indomitable. When we have to eventually bow down to it, just like we bow down to death and the elapse of time, why not embrace it? Why not prepare for it? Why not make ourselves ‘comfortable with change’ itself?
Let me not preach, and give you examples instead of my own miserable fight with change. Till date, my biggest fight with change has been post-marriage. There were so many things besides my last name that changed – where I stayed, my lifestyle, the way I dressed, what I ate, who I met with, when I slept and woke up, what I believed in, what I held close – it seemed to me that all of it was under attack at once. It was a very disorienting time for me because I was used to a certain way of life. I had been brought up in a way where I was led to believe that I was capable of doing anything that I wanted, that I was master of my own life. But marriage showed me the bitter side of life, or rather the more practical side of life. It taught me that my life didn’t amount to just what made me comfortable, but that it was a series of small adjustments that I have to make for the comfort of everyone in my family. AND that mostly, their comfort will come before mine. While I was already aware of this, in theory, when it came to implementing it, it was a huge challenge. Because sometimes I would be too rigid, refusing to adhere to what others wanted, and sometimes I would bend waaaay backwards, to the extent that it threatened to break my self-esteem. It was very confusing – finding the right balance – and there were days when I was giving away so much of myself that there was very little of me left for myself.
I have always been a very reserved and intrinsically a selfish kind of person, in the sense, that I need my space and my respect compulsively. But when I found that under attack too, it made me angry, frustrated and left me feeling isolated, like no one cared about what I was going through. And the result was that I became bitter and distant from everyone around me, including with my husband, who is the only rock I have in all of this madness.
Then my daughter was born and her birth was the catalyst that changed how I looked at ‘change’. Everything transformed for me in the span of her first three months, but the biggest change was that I started to give in easier to those changes because I knew that at the end of that change was the benefit of my daughter. Since then it’s been easier to accept changes and just go with the flow, as they say.
But her birth also taught me that while I should embrace change, I must not let go of my own desires or ambitions. I must use that change to somehow work for me and my personal goals. And so began my ongoing journey towards reaching my goals while accepting that not everything along the way is going to be hunky-dory. There may be bumps, there may be detours. Heck, there may even be a change of course, but I have to keep my compass pointed in one direction – my goal.
I know some changes affect you deeply, scar you badly, but believe me there still is something you get from such changes. The fact that you are still here, among us, willing to go on inspite of those adversities bears testimony to your perseverance and to the fact that change makes you a better fighter and a better survivor. What about that is not something to celebrate about?
Change may not always be favourable, but it is important to propel us out of our comfort zone, to make us test our capabilities and it is important so that we learn that there is a way of overcoming discomfort brought about because of that change. I believe that once you start looking at how you can use an impending change to your advantage, is when you truly embrace, and even conquer change. And this, I believe, is the Art of Embracing Change.
Featured Image: Tumisu at Pixabay