Change: This Post Is About Me

I’ve been thinking about Change recently – mostly because of my research work. It occurred to me how much I had changed. It hasn’t been a deliberately change, at least I haven’t been conscious of it until now. I’m mildly amused by this. But at other times, I’m devastated that I’ve changed so much.

It was always like I was a bird dying to be free. I was very friendly, conscientious and eager to explore. When I spoke to people, I looked them in the eye and I picked almost every vibe they sent. If I sensed a “negative” vibe, I tried harder to be liked. I constantly questioned my validity and I was generally convinced that if I kept trying, everyone would try too… But we all know life isn’t quite like that. Sometimes, some people try. And other times, no one tries. I can’t remember the exact moment or even the year, but somewhere along the line, I stopped trying. Well, not entirely but you know, I just got exhausted such that I didn’t look everyone in the eye. I wanted “negative” vibes to go over my head. To be honest, I still pick them up. But I don’t respond with a “warmer” me or even a more “likeable” me. I think I stopped caring.

Nevertheless, part of me wanted this. I remember many times in my teens and my 20s wishing that I wasn’t so perceptive. I wanted to be stronger, harder…blinder. Be careful what you wish for, as they say.

I’m still a bird with wings. These days I go about my business with my wings clipped half the time. I notice a thing or two but I generally ignore it. Sometimes, I need to speak to myself, ‘Walk away.” It should be all great now, right? No rejection, fewer clashes with other humans… But it’s just this feeling that I keep having. This feeling that I was made to be friendly, and get to the bottom of people. That I need to be perceptive and look people in the eye even if they are frowning and there’s very little guarantee that they’ll return my friendliness with grace. I haven’t been sure what to do with this feeling. After all, I’ve already “changed”. It may have been to protect myself or may be it’s how people grow up.

Now, I’m drawing from learning cycles. A virtuous cycle always goes back and re-evaluates, makes an assessment and then modifications. So I find myself in a strangely stronger position with this discovery. Stronger, because I can tap into my old self at will. I can actively decide when to turn it off and on. I have more control and there’s less of a need to be everything to everybody. At times, I’m awkward with some people – and that’s fine. Yes, it’s fine to be awkward if the situation warrants it – or when I just need to make a point.

The problem has been that too many people mistake friendliness for stupidity. I’m glad I’m maturing and learning (again) to be myself. Changing is hard enough. Try changing back! This cycle may well go around a few times…

What about you have you changed – then wished you didn’t?

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