• Denise Cartagena

Why Change is So Important

Let’s talk about change.

When we think about the Self-Help industry as a whole, many people have the concern that it’s breeding feelings of inadequacy. By constantly reading and hearing about things we have to change, it’s only natural to start to believe that there is something wrong with us, and that the industry is urging us to become someone else who is better than who we are right now. This causes us to turn to our self-doubt. “What’s wrong with me? Why am I not like that?”

I’d like to just remind you that there is nothing wrong with you. You are already perfect in your own way, and it’s up to you to determine whether or not you’re content to remain the same, NOT some self-help book you thought would be interesting when you bought it.

Change can also be scary. We like being comfortable, and change opens the door to possibilities that make us uncomfortable. There are actually stages of change that we each go through, but this process is only possible when we are mentally ready. There are costs to creating change.

However, change is important, and there are costs to staying the same too. It doesn’t have to be this huge transformation, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be scary. There is a right way to go about creating change in your life, and there is a way to invite change into your life while still staying true to who you are, who you want to be, and what you’re comfortable with. Here’s why change is important:

1. Change signifies our growth and adaptation

Our environment is constantly changing, and as part of that environment, it’s our natural responsibility to keep up with that change. We can all be true to who we are, but certain qualities will serve you better in various environments. On a very basic level, change allows survival of the fittest. Modern-day humans don’t necessarily need to worry about survival, but they do still need to adjust to things they want to fit in their lives.

For example, a couple keeps running into issues because they have different ways of communicating with each other. A change has to be made, growth and adaptation need to occur, for these two people to stay together and both feel comfortable. Assuming they each value the relationship, the “fittest” people in this example will adjust to their partners and make the necessary changes to stay together and meet each others’ communication needs. Those who are unable to create those changes still have the potential to stay together, but will be unable to resolve the issue they keep having to deal with. In this example, not being free of this issue is the price that has to be paid for denying adaptation.

When we think about development, the common assumption is that it just stops when we become adults. By that time, we’re fully physically developed and can pretty much take care of ourselves. However, development is ongoing throughout our lives. It doesn’t just stop when we turn 21 or finish school. We are constantly developing, learning, and adapting to our surroundings. With that much going on, we can’t avoid change forever.

2. Change is inevitable

We learn things on a daily basis. Even those of us who don’t purposely seek new information to learn regularly, learn from the things we experience in daily life. Consider this: We are all born as a “Blank Slate”, and we are carved by the information we choose to accept in life. Throughout our lives we learn and experience things that affect who we are and how we perceive things that happen around us. None of us is just born as an expert, knowing all we need to know for the rest of our lives. It takes time, learning, and experiences! The bigger the experiences, the bigger the changes that will be made.

Here are some examples. Let’s say, you’re on your normal route to work one day, and you get into a road rage incident. How did you feel physically? Emotionally? How might this experience alter the way you react to others’ aggressive driving in the future? In contrast, imagine that you and your partner just became new parents. How will your home life be different? How will your social life be different? How will you be different? We change as our experiences change, but we are still able to stay true to who we are and the changes that resonate most with us.

This point that we are each a blank slate that is carved by the information we accept in our lives is especially important to keep in mind when seeking new information. Know that everyone begins as a blank slate. When you decide to read your next self-help book and start to feel as though there is something wrong with the way you’ve been doing xyz for so long, remember to take the information without applying it immediately to you and your current situation. Don’t judge it, and especially, don’t judge yourself. Take it at face value, and once the arguments are made, decide if the information resonates with you enough to affect you and your way of thinking.

3. Change allows us to keep up with time

Time is not forgiving in the sense that it continues whether or not we’re satisfied at work or we meet our partner’s communication needs or if we create changes. Of course, we can decide that we are content in our current situation. But what if the way we did something yesterday, doesn’t work as well today? What is it costing us to stay where we are? What might it cost us to move forward? This life you have is it. This is all you have. Will you be happy when looking back?

I’d like to share a personal example for this one. I waited tables and bartended all throughout high school and college. It was a great fit for my needs as a full-time student because I could work relatively short hours and make enough money to afford my lifestyle. When I graduated college and transitioned to full-time restaurant work, I was immediately dissatisfied with my work and myself. This is not about the job at all! I love bartending! But that’s not where I needed to be emotionally. I let this go on for years before pursuing something more fulfilling. I would constantly complain, and of course it was difficult to let go because at that point, it was deeply ingrained in my identity. But my life was ready for bigger things. I didn’t let myself keep up with where I needed to be at that time in my life, and I lost years of time holding onto what worked best for me in the past, even though that wasn’t what worked for me in the present. It wasn’t until I was ready to make a conscious change that I was able to openly welcome future possibilities and have optimism for those dreams. We’re all different, and what works for me may not work exactly the same way for you, but being open to possible change can allow your whole life to align.

So now when you think about change, remember that it is inevitable adaptation that allows us to stay current with our surroundings. Stay true to yourself and the changes that resonate with who you are and who you want to be. Take time to learn about the changes you might be open to making, but also remember to take information at face value. Don’t ever allow someone else’s advice to alter the way you look at yourself. You are in control of your life, and you determine what changes fit for you, not someone else. Even if you’re content with where you are right now in your current situation, when you’re in the right place, and change is something you’re ready for, you will do the things to make that change possible.

If you’re thinking about the possibility of change, and need help starting that journey, get in touch and sign up for my email list! Stay updated with events and programs that can help you get that ball rolling.

Happy Growing & Best Wishes,