At least that's what they all say.
Yes lovely you have.
Maybe you've walked through hell... that will change you.
Maybe you've met a level of success you never expected... that will change you.
Maybe you've failed... over and over again... that will change you.
Maybe you've suffered an immeasurable loss... that will change you.
Maybe you've evolved in your thinking...opening your heart to something new... that will change you.
Maybe you reached your dream... that will change you.
Maybe you hit the goal...that will change you.
All of this... the ups and downs... the human experience... WILL CHANGE YOU.
SO WHAT. You do not enter this world and leave it the same person... NO ONE does.
You begin life as an itty bitty baby... then you shed that body and grow into a bratty 3 year old... then you become a 17 year old... then before you know it... you're 25... then you're 45... and then... if you're lucky... you celebrate 80 freakin years old. You get the picture.
In a healthy relationship... in a circle of safe friends... your change and evolution is supported and celebrated regardless of which way the pendulum swings.
Change comes from life on the mountain top.... and life in the valley... so lets take a look at both.
VALLEY SEASONS that BRING CHANGE
There was a dark season in my life that kept me in bed for weeks at a time. I changed. I stopped getting up everyday. I was physically and emotionally responding to a blow... to a monumental event in my life... Sure I had the people who talked about me, and tried to shame me for dealing with depression... the few who disappeared because they didn't know how to handle it....but their opinions and their actions meant NOTHING. Yes it hurt... but it didn't reverse the fact that I had changed. My life had shifted. Of course I would have loved to reset the clock....erase that season... to make them all feel more comfortable around me... but you can't control what happens in life....
I had to come to the place of understanding this was my story... my human experience... not everyone will understand it.
You will always have those few who can't walk you through the dark... they just don't know how... they can't do better because they don't know any better....and maybe when they know better, then they will do better. Yet, there will be a select few who WILL understand the change... and instead of waiting for you to crawl out unscathed... they will meet you there... in the dark... and they will sit with you... till you are ready to start over... different.
Because it will be different.. YOU will be different.
During my valley, I had a friend named Hayley. She met me in the dark almost every single day. When I was too weak to lift the shades and face the outside world... I would hear my doorbell ring. Of course I wouldn't answer...I couldn't face people.... but eventually... when I knew whoever was there had driven away... I would open the door.... and find a cup of coffee... just sitting there... waiting for me. I always knew it was from her. Her gifts on the porch were like clock work. When I would see her in person... her hug felt like home... it wasn't the "Oh poor Erica, how are you" hug... it was a hug that told me she understood... and it was one of the safest spaces I could find in those days. We don't get to see one another like we used to... with 17 kids between us... that kind of thing happens sometimes. But I will NEVER forget how she never faulted me for changing.... she never expected me to just "go on"... she met me where I was and loved me anyway... even when I couldn't open the front door and love her back.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who has walked a dark season and CHANGED.
What have you learned from it... how have you changed?
Sure maybe you take anxiety meds now because you're heart beats differently sometimes... maybe you have triggers and even now, years after.... you cry. That's all a given... let's focus on the other areas where you have changed...
You have empathy.
You never judge a broken heart.
You don't expect perfection from anyone anymore.
You don't take a friend needing space as something personal.
You stopped using cliche phrases to "fix" someone in a conversation... and realize that sometimes saying nothing and hugging their guts out....is best.
Yep. You've changed. And it's not a bad thing.
MOUNTAINTOP EXPERIENCES that BRING CHANGE
Recently I sat with a dear friend who was tearfully sharing with me that a few friends and family were throwing around the words "You've changed".... and not in a kind manner. She was being shamed for her success. This circle of people judged the home she lived in, the cars in the driveway, the clothes on her back, the shoes on her feet.... you name it... her ENTIRE existence was under intense scrutiny. It's amazing how success can drive a wedge between the closest friends and family. For this person, these "friends" were coming to her for money and support, that she willingly and joyfully gave.... and then they turned around and attacked her for how she lived with her success. As though a larger shoe closet made her heart ugly somehow. What they didn't know... was what that heart... clothed in Chanel... did in secret with all the success she had worked so hard for... She started a non profit... she gave 60% of her income away.... she poured out hope and lived with a purpose in her bones... using her success to CHANGE the world for others. But this circle of "friends" in her life... didn't see that. They CHOSE not to see it.
Their judgement wasn't really about her designer hand bags or family vacations... it was about THEM. Yes she changed.. her circumstances in life shifted because she worked her TAIL OFF to get there... they tried to take her work ethic from her too... telling her the success she experienced was pure luck.
Sad isn't it.
The facts are... that while she was watering and tending to her own garden... planting and reaping what she had sown... their gardens flat out shriveled up and DIED. They were so busy pointing fingers... so busy judging the lives of other people... they forgot they had the same opportunity... they could have planted a garden too... but they didn't.
That my friends... is on them.
SO... you changed. God I HOPE SO.
Imagine what you can do with a garden full of hope and possibility.. imagine what you can do with fields full of empathy and grace.
Let the ups and downs... change you. Feel it. Feel it all.
Let it rock your world and shift you on your axis....
Grow your garden... DO NOT let the world steal this season from you... do NOT let the world take your stories and taint them... You OWN this moment....you belong on the mountaintop... you have survived the valley... this life is yours.... ROCK IT. Keep building yourself... one brick at a time... let your experiences shape you... do not let the noise around you break your heart... YOU are supposed to change... You are meant to EVOLVE...
In the end... the goal is to LOVE... and regardless of the season... changing can help us all do a little better..and love a little more than we knew how to before.