Do you want change but struggle to balance accepting yourself just as you are with wanting more? Maybe you even feel that admitting life isn’t good enough is like admitting you are not good enough? This article looks at why it’s OK to want change, and how it only enhances your true self, not masks it.
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For the longest time when I started The Life Spotters, I went backwards and forwards, trying to balance the idea of ‘changing your life’ with the notion that ‘you are perfect just as you are’.
The problem is I felt it was somehow doing my readers a disservice to suggesting that they should want to change their life, to be more, to find their purpose and fulfil their true potential. It felt like I was suggesting that they are not enough, that in settling for life as it is now they were letting themselves down and, well, failing at life.
On the one hand, I really wanted to encourage people to take a chance and follow their hearts, to live their dream life, but on the other, that felt like I was telling them that their life wasn’t enough right now and they needed to make more of it.
As a result, I have sometimes been guilty of writing a bit like this:
“Hey! Come join me! Let’s rock this life thing and live our dream lives! Well, y’know, only if you wanna, maybe – I don’t want to force you or anything – you’re awesome by the way, we’re still friends right?”
This confuses everybody and helps nobody, and for this befuddling delivery, I am sorry.
I am not sorry about the implication that you are awesome now, without even having begun to change. Because that bit is true. And here is the thing that I think I had trouble expressing until I really sat down and thought about what it is I am trying to say:
It’s not about changing who you are, it’s about revealing who you are.
The more I write, the clearer my vision of what I want TLS to accomplish becomes, and it seems apparent to me that I need to be clear with my intention and what it is I mean when I encourage my readers to live a life of intention and chase after their dreams with the fierce tenacity of a mountain goat on a rocky precipice.
Related reading: Intentional Living – Live a Life that’s True to You!
When I talk of change, it’s less about ditching who you are in favour of another more preferable person, it’s more about an unveiling. Revealing you. Only with the brightness turned aaaaaall the way the f**k up.
It isn’t possible, nor valuable to try and completely switch your character around. But uncovering yourself…that you can do. It merely takes a little polishing to help you shine & see that what you have is glorious and worthy of shouting about.
We are each so complex and brilliant, with so many hopes and dreams, so many ideas and ambitions. I would never presume to say you were anything less than wonderous. What I urge you to do is simply to listen to that voice, don’t lose sight of those dreams and visions. All the things you want but don’t feel are possible – don’t give up on those!
Wanting change in your life doesn’t mean that you are failing in any way. There isn’t just these two sides. The two competing characters of “now-you” and “ideal-super-future-you”
The many faces of you
There are many, many variations, different versions of you, each true and relevant to the time of life you are in.
When you look back over your life it’s completely normal to see change as time progresses, but it isn’t that you were any less ‘you’ in those earlier versions. And you can look forward to whatever the next version of you is going to be, without feeling like you have lost your way. You learn more, you develop, so you are changing, in some respects, but really it’s still just you, only with the superpower of extra knowledge.
Change is a natural part of the ebb and flow of life, like the seasons. What you enjoy today you may not enjoy tomorrow (although you may next week, month year…) You might swing to and fro on your journey, revisiting certain areas, but ultimately, you are always moving forwards.
Lose the layers
Think of it like a snake shedding its skin. It doesn’t do it all in one go, from tiny snake to fully formed adult, it sheds a thin layer over and over again. So it is with people. We change over time, little by little. This doesn’t mean we become unrecognisable, usually, our core values and beliefs don’t change all that much, what defines our character remains unchanged.
But we DO develop, we CAN grow, we learn things that affect the way we see the world and we adjust accordingly.
This is good, this is life. If your own changes are telling you to adopt a new habit or idea, then that doesn’t have to be a big deal. You can change gradually, adjust slowly. It isn’t an all or nothing concept.
Just peel away the external dirt and debris that has accumulated and reveal the glowing you hidden beneath it all, the “next version of you” (which is, of course, just you…as previously discussed, shining like a beacon…)
Wanting BIG change
So what to do if you are reading this and thinking “that’s all very well and good, but actually I do want a complete life overhaul”
The same applies. Maybe you have been living a life that doesn’t fit, maybe you want BIG change and a total makeover – that is still you. You don’t get these huge urges to completely change your life around on a whim, if you’ve been living a life that feels like a lie that’s generally because it is – THAT is the lie, that’s the charade, the facade you’ve been hiding behind – letting yourself out and switching things up just means you are finally ready to get authentic. So like I said, we aren’t trying to change you, only uncover your inner awesome.
This version of you that has been is valid and deserves praise for serving you and getting you this far. This next version of you is equally deserving. You are giving yourself permission to grow. That is not a betrayal. Attend to every season of your life, graciously accept the changes in your soul, thank yourself for helping you see the light and move into it. That sounds oddly religious, which wasn’t the intention, but actually, change is like a rebirth, and that is a deeply spiritual thing.
When we accept that we want things to be different, it’s most often because we are listening to ourselves, not because we are denying ourselves.
You know the difference, you know inside whether you want change because it’s good for you, or if its because you are trying to keep up with the Joneses.
You know it’s you when it makes your soul sing, when you feel the buzz, the tingle and the glow – when we are acting in our best interests it just FEELS good.
When we are making changes because it is expected or asked of us it feels icky. It goes with feelings like lack of self-worth, anxiety, not feeling good enough or up to scratch.
If any of your desired changes have come about as a result of these feelings, even if it’s just “to prove them wrong” that still won’t get you the validation you seek. You need to to do this for you and only you. Conversely, if you feel a pressure to change, but actually this moment and version of you is exactly where you feel most alive and free, then to hell with those expectations people are heaping on you.
YOU KNOW YOU BEST. You really do! If you are struggling, feeling lost and unsure of yourself and need to do a little bit of soul searching (it’s ok, we all get that way sometimes…) then pause, take a break, slow down. Maybe consider spending a little time working on your personal mission statement. It is a super useful tool in getting you back to your roots and truth.
A new day
Wake up fresh, start again, safe in the knowledge that there is no rush, that change is natural, that you are awesome… Suppose today is just a go with the flow, follow your instincts kind of a day. Stop seeking validation. Stop trying to find all the answers. Just go with your gut for a bit – like so much in life, you have to stop trying to fit yourself into a series of little boxes and just bust out and be you! You got this. It’s all going to be OK.
Be grateful, give thanks, live your best life. Move forward. Change is a blessing, and you are perfect.