Many times we long for others to change. Other times, we fear that others will change. The reality is that we cannot change another, nor can we prevent them from changing.
People around us change. All the time. In big ways and little ways.
For many, there is tremendous transformation taking place. Sometimes this change is thrust upon them through loss, a bad diagnosis, or downsizing. Others initiate change by examining their beliefs, relationships, and the systems they live within.
Many people change quietly, over time by repeatedly building on small decisions. Some choose to allow the news to make them more fearful. More locks on the door. More hypervigilance. Others choose to try something new, create a daily practice, and connect to others who share this interest.
Sometimes in change, people can become deeply wrapped around more volatile emotions. They get riled up about (insert any hot-button issue) and they try to get the rest of us riled up too but it is often all angst with no action. These folks are in change mode also. They are using external triggers to explore their own internal landscape, especially their emotions. Angst is both the entry key and the lighter fluid on their internal flame. The unpredictability, combustibility, and pressure to join them can make it challenging or undesirable to be around their energy.
How do we come to terms with the person who has changed or is in change mode? Sometimes this is easy because their changes align with our personal path. This expands our common language and shared values making it easy to connect. For others, we struggle with their changes. Their path is quite different from ours. We may not understand their path, we may dislike their path, or we may wish we could take their path but are afraid to.
Part of the answer is to hold relationships sacredly with respect and honor, but lightly without clinging or binding. Each of us is likely to continue to change. However, we typically do not change at the same time, in ways that are comfortable for everyone, or even by staying on the same path. These are why we may naturally fade in an out of each others’ lives.
Honoring our path and another’s path sometimes means letting those paths move in different directions.
Holding these shifts without judgment allows us to be curious about the changes in someone’s life and path. Interestingly this often allows us to be more curious about the changes in our own life.