I strongly believe that we get to reinvent our life if we want to.
Yes, significantly changing our life— including our appearance, priorities, the way we present to the world, our behavior, our living space, whatever— might impact other people…and those people, of course, have the right to have feelings about it.
But no one gets to tell us we “have” to stay the same person with the same life just because they prefer it.
One of the reasons a lot of people choose to NOT change is because we don’t want to deal with the blowback rom other people.
Other people like us to keep being who we are. They want us to remain known quantities. being a known quantity makes it easier to predict and control our behavior.
The thing is, when you don’t like who you are— what you look like, what you do, the situations and opportunities in your life, the people in your life— it doesn’t particularly matter if other people like who you are.
We are in our skin, inside our head, 24/7. It really, really matters whether we like it in here.
There are PLENTY of people who will tell you it DOESN’T matter if you like yourself or your life.
Lots of people consider it not terribly important whether we “like” our experience, as long as we DO the things we’re “supposed” to do in life.
But who gets to decide what we’re “supposed” to do?
Yes, we have certain responsibilities. Parents shouldn’t just abandon their kids because they don’t “like” being parents (though there are obviously parents who do that). If we have a job, we have certain responsibilities to our employer that we agreed to.
But in my experience, many people think that their responsibilities extend beyond the commitments they’ve made to people who depend on them, like children or employers or coworkers.
Many people think they have a “responsibility” to continue being someone whose life they don’t enjoy living.
I feel just the opposite.
I feel we have a responsibility TO OURSELVES to create a life we actually DO like.
I think pleasure, fun, enjoyment— those aren’t incidentals or luxuries. I think they are psychological needs.
I think it IS our responsibility to figure out how we can incorporate positive emotional experiences into our lives in non-destructive ways.
We have a responsibility to ourselves to create a life worth living.
The truth is, our human experience is far more flexible than we think.
We often think that we have to keep doing the same stuff, because we’ve BEEN doing the same stuff.
We think we have to keep being the person we are, because that’s the person we’ve BEEN.
It’s true that we OFTEN keep being the same person with the same life…but that’s mostly because the stuff we do is kind of sandblasted into our brain in the form of conditioned neural pathways.
We can change not only what we do, but who we are…but it takes time. Those neural pathways are resistant to change, and it takes a minute.
Changing who we are takes vision and consistency and patience. We’re often fighting an uphill battle against well-worn pathways in our brain and well-rehearsed routines in our life.
But people change. People change their whole life, their whole identity. It happens every year, every day.
I strongly feel it’s our birthright to choose who we are.
Even if other people want to take that birthright away for their own comfort and convenience.
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