Change is the only constant. How many times have you heard this, or something along these lines? It’s a truism, a fact of life, as certain as the sun rising, as guaranteed as the rising and falling of your chest. Yet, for something so certain, why do we hide away from it so much? Change is scary. It’s the unknown. It’s a new venture: moving house, changing jobs, meeting a new partner or starting a new challenge. It’s also an unwelcome loss: a death, the end of a relationship or friendship, an accident or injury. Many changes we have a degree of control over, only to be presented with the disappointment of stagnation should we choose not to tread new ground. Some changes though, we can’t control. We don’t willingly let these things happen. In many cases, letting a partner go is a very difficult change to embrace. Any negative change feels like a rope being tied around us, dragging us toward the bleak unknown. Yet, love it or hate it, change comes for us.
Why should we embrace change?
As scary as change is, it is the vehicle that moves us forward. Once you find yourself in uncharted territory, you also find yourself in a place of opportunity, with chances arising to learn new knowledge, become a different person, meet new people, experience exciting places. Even those nasty changes bring opportunities of their own. A lost partner prompts us to reflect on why this happened, leading to a change to expand your self-awareness and to begin changing behaviours and thought processes. Accidents and injuries can prompt us to reflect on our own mortality, giving us the motivation to do things we never once thought possible or even desirable.
The opposite of change is stagnation, but as I’ve already established, change happens whether we like it or not. You could be the most habit-driven, monotonous person going, but there will still be change in your life. The opportunities that come with it aren’t always grasped by everybody. Not everyone looks inwards at their behaviours and thoughts when they’re confronted. Some turn down exciting new career or life opportunities, not stopping for a moment to consider what it is that’s causing them to shy away.
Change, whether we like it or not, brings an opportunity to grow. We’re fools if we don’t take it. If you accept and embrace change, you open the doors to being a more complete version of yourself. If you find yourself reluctant to embrace change, you have the chance to go inside and look at what might be causing these feelings. Ultimately though, change is a vehicle for change; possibly, it’s the best one we have. Where you see an opportunity to grow, evolve and improve, take the leap and just see where you end up.
Some personal experience
I’ve been inspired to write this blog by the changes I’ve experienced in my life over the past few years. Originally from Manchester, I made the decision to move to Essex in 2019 to complete my teacher training. Within months, I’d gone from a fairly quiet life to living in London for four weeks, with strangers who I now call some of my best friends. After that initial period, I moved into Essex. I met lots of colleagues, went to new places, and embraced a radically different way of life to the one I was used to, due most in part to embarking on a new career. I even managed to find a partner. Though she is unfortunately now in the past, the gift of having her in my life, and the hard lessons learned from her loss, meant I have grown massively and deepened my self-awareness more than I thought possible.
Whilst here, I have learned so much about myself. Some of those lessons haven’t come willingly and have been quite painful. Much of my experience here, though, has been incredible. I still remember the call that led to me taking the training post down here. I was sat in Exchange Square, Manchester. I worked for Apple at the time and was on my lunch break. It was quite a sunny day in March. My training provider called and said they’d be delighted to have me. The position that they had ready was at a primary school in Thurrock, Essex. I’d applied for secondary education with a preference to stay in Greater Manchester. I was absolutely terrified right from the moment I tentatively said yes. It doesn’t even bear thinking about what would not have happened if I had said no. I wouldn’t have the incredible friends I do now. I wouldn’t know the South of England like I do now, nor would I be able to say London- one of the greatest capitals in the world- was on my doorstep. I would never have started that relationship, would never have been to the places it took me, nor learned the lessons it brought. In short, had I have said no, I simply wouldn’t be the person I am today. Change is terrifying, but what’s even scarier is the thought of saying no.