Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Trouble with Change

Here's the trouble with change -- the people who liked you the way used to be, may not be so tickled with the new you.

There's an axiom in family therapy that says, "If one person in a family changes, it changes the whole dynamic. Everyone in the group has to adjust." They may not want to adjust. They may like things just the way we were. Only "the way we were" is not available any more. We all have to adjust to the new reality, like it or not.

Another bit of wisdom comes from the est training, "Most likely you are fine just the way you are, but you keep acting the way you used to be."

Here are some questions I've been thinking about. I'd love to know your thoughts too.

  • What are some ways you are changing?
  • How are your friends, family and associates responding?
  • What challenges do your changes present?
  • Are you finding it difficult to adjust to a change in someone else?

As I grow older, (talk about a change!) my tolerance for meanness and harsh judgement has dropped so low that I blurt things out. I defend people, present or not, when someone attacks them or wishes them harm. It does not always go over well.

My capacity for sympathy morphed into one of empathy. A few years ago I asked the wonderful Doug Wilson, director of the Rowe Conference Center in Massachusetts, to "take warm and friendly out of my bio." When he first put it in there, it seemed apt, but I had changed. I explained that although I had no intention of becoming cold and unfriendly, I was more interested in being clear and useful. I did not want to set myself up as a target for people in search of warmth and friendliness like  heat-seeking missiles, only to disappoint them with the new me.

Some other big changes for me are:
  • A move from building and acquiring to reflection and sharing.
  • Aging -- adjusting to the inevitable wearing out of my human body, part by part.
  • Less attachment to the way things should be.
  • Learning to appreciate and welcome criticism as useful, sometimes precious, information.
  • I sometimes question limiting beliefs when they are presented as facts -- uninvited.

I am blessed with family and friends who give me lots of room to grow and change. I hope I return the favor. Others of us drift apart like clouds in the ever changing sky. I hope we can always bless each other on our way.

How about you? What is happening in your world of change?