Stay changed

We usually think of change as a big, challenging thing we have to go through in life. In theory, it seems like a painful rite of passage. But the hardest part is really what happens after we change, when the world meets our new self.

Change is fueled by desire. Our healthy desires lead us to new and better things, to new people or new passions. We become wrapped up in a new project or a new way of life and, almost without noticing, we grow.

But then we have to figure out how to stay changed. The world--our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers--seems to resist. It feels like we’re being pulled back into place, or forced back into our previously defined role.

Sometimes it’s our own subconscious preference for what’s comfortable and familiar that bubbles up, and we find ourselves drifting backwards.

Behind the walls, there are frequent conversations about what to tell others after you’re released. There’s a general concern about how people will react--they might laugh in disbelief that you’re getting your life together, or worse, become indignant or hostile.

We don’t get out of our old habits by resisting them and we don’t settle into the new by discarding the old. In fact, sometimes there's nothing even wrong with the old way, be it a job or a relationship or a lifestyle. We grow by loving our new lives even more. We’re more fulfilled, we’re happier, and we’re closer to the person we’re meant to be.

When we occupy ourselves with living--and loving--our new life, the temptation to return to the familiar fades away. And when people see that we’re happier, that we’re living more fully, it’s up to them to decide whether they want to be happy for us. If not, they’re probably not whom we want to be with anyway.