Change

There are so many words in the English language that have multiple meanings ~ Change is one of them. How very different are the phrases – 'give me a minute to change out of these clothes' and the phrase 'I can’t do this anymore, I need to change something.' That first sentence sort of implies that the speaker looks forward to the change – or at least conveys anticipated permission or acceptance of that change. The second, though… is the speaker giving up or making a decision? Are they announcing that things have gotten so bad, they can only go up from here?

Turned inwards now, how do you feel hearing that second phrase? Are you happy for the speaker that they’ve finally chosen to alter a difficult situation or did your teeth grit a little, thinking how their decision might affect you?

How we react to other people’s decisions to make changes can say a lot about how we make our own changes: we are less likely to forgive ourselves everything from dietary moments of weakness to recognizing when a relationship has ended if we don’t hear of other people’s decision to change with acceptance and encouragement.

An example: a friend pulls you aside and shares that she’s not happy in her marriage and that she’s thinking of speaking with a lawyer. Is your first instinct to defend them as a couple – ‘but you guys are so cute together!’ or to offer ‘what about your kids! Your husband has always been such an involved father’! Or are you more likely to be open minded ‘oh, I’m sorry you’re not happy, is there anything I can do?’

The next time someone – even a character in a book – relays that change needs to happen, take a second: assess your first reaction…

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