Do You Fear Change, or Change Fear?

goldfish changing

I rarely share personal stories of this nature on social media, but something’s making do so today. I think the reason is I’ve seen a lot of posts recently from online friends who are afraid to make changes in their personal lives and relationships.. Because ... what if we make a change, and it only makes things worse, right? There are a number of other reasons people don’t make the changes they want to make too. A big one is embarrassment, believe it or not.   As in, “I’ve tried everything to make it better, yet I am still so unhappy, and treated so badly in this relationship. But if I get a divorce, people will think I’m a failure. And I’ll feel ashamed.

I was in the above situation, not once, but twice, and let me tell you — it does feel awful. But despite my misgivings, I made the changes I wanted to make. It was mortifying, and horrendously difficult, make no bones about it. People did gossip about it, absolutely. And then, guess what? They forgot about it. Did the gossip make me feel bad? You bet it did. But it was also illuminating. Because my true friends and supporters were revealed. The ones who stood by me, who had nothing but sympathy and kind words for what I was going through — those I knew were my true friends. And it is so much better to know for sure, and to focus only on those who have your best interests at heart. Those who’ll be there for you, whether you stay in a bad situation, or whether you leave that situation. Who don’t judge, or make you feel worse than you already do. Trust me — it was great that those who were true and those who were not revealed themselves. There were a few surprises on both sides of that for me, so … damn good to know what was the what. And as far as the gossip making me feel bad, it didn’t feel as bad as that relationship in which I felt trapped. Not nearly.

Fast forward to today. My husband — my real husband, I mean (yes, I gave it a third try) — have been through everything. A devastating death. Some pretty awful fights. Lots of bad news. Lots of laughter and fun. Lots of incredible intimate moments.

But, it’s the little things he does that matter most to me, because those were what was missing for me before. Take the other morning, for example, while we were at our two-bedroom condo in Nevada. One of the bedrooms is used as an office/guest room. There’s a master bedroom, and then we have one main living area that’s kitchen, dining and living room all in one. The night before, I couldn’t sleep. I knew I was keeping my husband up by tossing around on the left side of the bed. It’s not fair because he gets up every morning to start work at 6 a.m. (He works at home) So, I went out onto the sofa to try and sleep and to give him some peace.  

At 8:30, I woke to sounds of coffee perking. My husband was looking over at me anxiously. “Did I wake you?” I found out he was working for two and half hours without one cup of coffee in his system because he thought he’d wake me by using the coffee maker, which is pretty noisy if you’re sleeping out in that main room, now that I think about it.

Guess what? I don’t think I could do it–be without coffee while working for all that time, IAnd the fact that he did that, when I know how much he needs his coffee in the morning — but he’d deny himself because he wanted to be sure I slept peacefully, knowing I’d had a tough night — I just thought it was incredibly thoughtful and considerate. I’m still not used to those little things. I still don’t take them for granted. I know my bad experiences beforehand will not only always make me appreciate the good I experience now that much more, but these little, every day experiences add up. They change one’s life, almost imperceptibly, until one day, you realize how much happier you are in your skin than you were when you were forcing yourself to stay in a situation where every day, your stomach hurt, and your soul felt sad.

(And by the way- for those who stood by me, who stand by me now, I appreciate you too. I don’t take you for granted, either. It’s YOU I think about and remember- not the ones who gossiped or let me down. I left them to their own misery too, a long time ago. )

So, here’s the bottom line: whatever reason you’re not making your change — financial, religious, pride — it’s not worth it. Not to me, anyway. Now that I know what I was missing by allowing myself to be unhappy for so long, if I had to do it over again, I would have done it much sooner. I wouldn’t have given a fig what “people” thought.

If you want to make a change, you — whoever you are reading this — don’t wait. DO IT.

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