Changes and Your New Normal
I have a lot of teachers in my life…family, friends. My mom was a teacher. She taught high school chemistry for many years followed by a surprising and rewarding change to serving as a special education teacher before she retired. I have so much respect for teachers.
One thing I have heard from friends and family who are teachers is that kids notice and are sensitive to change. You cut your hair? Get glasses? Wear a new outfit? They notice it. And, guess what? Even if it is a positive change…the kids often struggle. They aren’t so sure about it. It takes them a while to adjust. They stare at you with this look in their eye as if maybe you have betrayed them in some way. Perhaps they tell you. “You got your hair cut, Mrs. Brown.” You might hear an accusatory tone in their voice.
It takes them a while to decide if the change is a good thing or not. Sometimes they will make an announcement: “You know what? I’ve decided I DO like your new glasses.”
Or, they don’t say anything at all. They just move on.
Pretty soon the new is normal.
It isn’t good or bad.
It just is.
For some of these kids their teacher is the single most constant thing in their lives. Day after day after day. They may not know what their meal will be at supper or if they will even have one… or how mom and dad will behave when they get home.
They DO know that the teacher is going to show up. Day after day after day.
So any change that has to do with their teacher…is hard. Good or bad. It doesn’t matter.
Still, I don’t know a single teacher in my life who avoided making those small changes in order to keep their students comfortable. They didn’t maintain the same hair style or go without glasses simply because they were afraid some child or teenager would balk. They lived their lives, made changes…some out of necessity, some out of desire. They might let their students know ahead of time what they planned to do. Or not. They knew the kids would be fine. The students would adjust.
Because it is the TEACHER who is constant. Not the glasses, hairstyle or new outfit.
Friend, listen to me. Sit down. Look at me.
I’m calling it.
You have some changes you either have made or NEED to make. That’s life, friend.
Perhaps, the changes to be made are due to necessity. Perhaps, they are due to deep desires of your heart.
Of course, you and I both know that there isn’t always a difference, is there?
And, you are worried. You are a constant in the life of so many. It is part of who you are. Steady. Day after day after day. People in your life might have a lot to worry about…but not about you. Never about you.
You work hard at that role, don’t you? Partly for them, but partly for you, too…so you don’t have to deal with their disappointment, their struggle, their disapproval. THAT would be almost unbearable.
Listen, sweet friend.
You cannot…CANNOT…allow your identity or role as the one who is steady, the one who is constant, the one who keeps things going, to keep you from making changes that are vital for your survival.
Before you object, I am not talking about your survival in the physical sense. Not really, anyway. What I am talking about is much more important.
I am talking about your heart and soul survival.
I am talking about your emotional and mental and spiritual well-being.
I am talking about you being HEALTHY and WHOLE…and just OKAY.
I’m not setting the bar very high here, friend. We can talk about living your best life and going after dreams and blah blah blah. I don’t mean to poke fun at these concepts. They are important. You’ll get to them. I promise, but ONLY if you figure out how to be honest and authentic and real and healthy and whole.
I want you to be real. A real person. Like in Pinocchio, you know? Not some wooden creature whose strings are pulled by the whims of whoever enters your alleyway and beckons you to some new pleasure island…THEIR pleasure island.
This isn’t Chik-fil-A. It doesn’t always have to be your pleasure to serve the needs of someone else.
This is your LIFE.
We aren’t designed to be convenience stores of predictability and comfort for everyone else’s existence.
We are created to be HUMAN.
Messy, unpredictable, loving, marvelously, beautifully human with complex needs and desires and interests.
This right here. THIS is so important: you make those changes and yes, someone, somewhere is going to notice it. Someone, somewhere will be affected. Disturbed, even. And, guess what? Even if it is a positive change…they might struggle. They may not be so sure about it. It might take them a while to adjust. They might stare at you with this look in their eye as if maybe you have betrayed them in some way. Perhaps they tell you. In a text. On the phone. Through social media.
Maybe they don’t. Maybe you just imagine them telling you. Maybe you make up conversations and thoughts and opinions you assume are going on out there about you and your choices that aren’t happening at all.
Whether you know for sure or not that there are talks or opinions, it might take them…whoever THEM is… a while to decide if it is a good thing or not..these changes you need to make.
Here’s the thing you have to do. You have to realize it’s fine. Give them that room, friend. Give it to them. Let them have that space. Let them be affected. Disturbed, even. Uncertain. Let them struggle.
Keep your hands off this space. It isn’t any of your business. Putting your hands on it takes way too much energy anyway…energy you need right now.
Eventually they might tell you: “You know what? I’ve decided I DO like the changes you made…what you decided to do.”
Or, more likely, they don’t say anything to you at all. They just move on.
Pretty soon the new is normal.
It isn’t good or bad.
It just is.
That’s why, friend. THAT’S WHY. That’s why you CAN’T let your fears and concerns over bothering, affecting, disturbing others keep you from taking care of you…making changes for your heart and soul survival…changes for your emotional and mental and spiritual well-being….changes that will take you in the direction of being HEALTHY and WHOLE. We are talking changes for baseline needs here…changes that will become the new normal…changes to which people will adjust and move on.
No one else will do this for you, friend. NO. ONE. And, while everyone else will adjust over time if you DO make these changes, if you DON’T make these changes…there is a chance you NEVER will. Oh, you might “make it”, but that’s an even lower bar. I am talking about being honest…with yourself. Authentic and real, healthy and whole. THAT is a gift to everyone in your life.
THAT is taking your steadiness to a depth that courses through the hearts of everyone you will ever touch in life…day after day after day.
Also? When you change and grow? It forces the rest of us to do the same.
It is such a cliché, friend, but do you, ok? Please, please, please. DO. YOU.
We will adjust. I promise.
Because it is YOU who is the constant for us.
And, we need healthy and whole YOU…growing pains, changes, new normal and all.
Image credit: http://jasonbandura.com/2017/05/4823/