Dimensions of Change
Change is inevitable. It is something with which every person must deal, and it can be good or bad depending on what kind of change it is and what it provides for the person who is experiencing the change. There are many sources of change in life, as well, and they can include divorce, moving, getting a new job, and other issues that people face - sometimes multiple times over their lives. In my life, there have been many changes. The first one was when my parents divorced. The level of change during that time was extremely high, and it happened quickly. The magnitude of change was hard to deal with, because I was not expecting the divorce. I had no idea that my parents were not getting along, or that they were not happy. Part of that was likely because I was very young, but part of it was also that my parents never gave me any outward indication that they were unhappy or that they might not stay together. It came completely out of the blue, and really hit me much harder than I could imagine. I got through it, but it was not an easy road.
After the divorce was final, I had to get used to the idea of living under two different roofs. The rules were different, and food was different, and everything had changed. Even though change is an integral part of the human condition, that does not mean that change is easy. The divorce of my parents was only the first of many changes I experienced throughout life, though, and when people go through normal transitions they have to adapt and grow and change so that they can move forward with their life instead of getting caught up in the past. Going to college was the next big change that I went through. It was necessary for me to make new friends, get a new job, and begin to find out who I was and where I belong in the world. That determination of who a person is and what he or she should be doing with life is one of the biggest changes that can be gone through. It is not easy, but it was one of the changes that meant the most to me and affected me deeply, because it really marked a transition to adulthood that I might not have otherwise experienced.
People change for all sorts of reasons, and much of what occurs during a change is social. They move from one place to another, for example, and that kind of change is more than just geographical. It also relates to how the person feels about who he or she is and where adulthood, work, and potentially raising a family and later retirement are going to take place. For me, moving to a new city and looking for a place to live (that was affordable for me) was also a period of change that I had to undergo and work through. For me, that period was a very serious time of social upheaval. Moving means saying goodbye to friends and family members, and uprooting everything that a person has, is, and is used to in order to move somewhere else. The reason that a person moves can affect how that person feels about the move and the change that comes with it. With that in mind, moving is seen to be one of the most significant changes with which a person is involved in life. It ranks up with divorce, marriage, and the birth of a child as significant change and also as a significant stressor. People often underestimate how stressful change really is.
Every society has change in it, of course, but culture and other societal values play a big role in change. Changing has become central to the awareness that people have of themselves and one another. They may not like change, and they may feel threatened by it. Many people also get upset when other people they are close to change, because that affects the friendship that the people had. Those who are not changing may feel as though the people who are changing are moving away from them. Growing apart is a natural part of life for people, though, and growth and change go hand in hand. People who are changing are often growing, and people who are growing have to change in order to create and sustain that growth. Because change is so integral to humanity, people can learn to embrace that change and welcome what it brings, instead of running from it. One of the reasons that people run from change is because they see it as irreversible - but that is often not the case.
For example, take the idea of a family that packs up and moves across the country. That family may decide that it does not like the new place, for a variety of reasons. If that is the case, there is the possibility of moving back to the place they came from, or moving somewhere else that they might like better and might enjoy more. Change is rarely as permanent as many people think, but they have trouble recognizing that and because they feel that change is too permanent they will stay where they are. They do not even have to like where they are. They may be unhappy with their current lot in life - but it is what they know and they are not sure if the new place (or the new choice brought on by change) will be any better than what they have now, or whether it will be much worse. The patterns of social behavior that they have established are also central to whether they will take a chance and move, or whether they will just stay put because they are too concerned about what a change might bring to take that leap of faith and accept the change.
Religion and politics both affect the changes that a person undergoes in his or her life, too. Some people change their political and religious affiliations, which can change where they live, what they do, and other factors. Change can also relate to social groups and roles, as well as the status that a person has in the community, in his or her circle of friends, and even within his or her own family. Changes in life are inevitable, but they are not irreversible and they do not have to illicit fright and discomfort. Learning to embrace change is one of the ways that people grow and develop, but it is not the easiest thing for a person to go through in most cases. Because individuals do not always like change, they can miss out on so many things that they would otherwise get to do - and that they might want to do. While it is not always easy to let go and stop resisting change, it is very difficult to get anywhere if a person simply refuses to embrace the changes that are coming into his or her life.
Some changes are initiated by the individual, and others are caused by external forces outside of the person's control. Both of those kinds of changes, however, can have positive and negative effects on a person's life and can provide that person with opportunities for both the present and the future. Each person who accepts change into his or her life is opening himself or herself up to possibilities that they would not otherwise be willing to accept. Change may not always be joyful, but it can be interesting and uplifting. The major issue with many aspects of change, though, is that people are afraid to accept it because it may be worse than what they currently have. They do not want to take the chance that the change might actually be far, far better than what they currently have, in case that is not the way things actually work out for them. Until one embraces change, though, there are many things in life that will not be realized and enjoyed.
People who do not embrace change can miss out, because they take fewer chances and often accomplish less. There is no need to become a daredevil or take risks that are truly dangerous when one wants change in life. Instead, being open to new ideas, new people, and new possibilities can allow for change but can also help ensure that the changes that are allowed are changes that are desired or at least helpful from a growth and development standpoint. Of course, sometimes life hands a person changes that he or she does not want, such as the death of a spouse or close family member, a divorce, the loss of a job, a work-related move to a place that he or she does not like, or a serious illness. These kinds of changes are not good, but there…