C H A N G E.
Who likes that word? looks around the room… sees a few hands
There’s one phrase that’s been bugging me my ENTIRE time in treatment. I’ve gone over this same lesson about three times now and although each time it made MORE sense… I was still uncomfortable. Until today.
The phrase: Change is the only constant.
Yeah, its a mind boggler. You probably have to read it a few times over and really think it through. Its a paradox… it kinda goes against itself, no? Like constant things don’t change… change means breaking the norm (aka constant), so how in the world is change constant??
I guess in my mind, I like having these two boxes. One box is labelled changing, and one is labelled changed. The things I need to change go into one box, the things that I don’t and can stay constant, go in the other.
And then there’s this phrase that directly shuts this whole box sorting operation down. Because you can’t put one item in two boxes. Or in this case, you can’t put boxes of the same size into each other, and someone is telling you YOU CAN.
So my brain is literally playing around with these boxes. They still aren’t fitting and I get frustrated. How come everyone else seems to get it??
OK here’s my lightbulb moment.
I watched A Wrinkle in Time (2018) this morning and oh my gosh… IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET YOU SHOULD. That movie also plays with your mind a bit with its symbolism (but I think I love doing that anyways, hence my enthusiastic praise for the movie) but its underlying message is so deep and profound.
I won’t spoil the movie for those of you who haven’t seen it. There’s just one scene where everyone is doing the same thing perfectly in sync and others that talk about the darkness in our world… and somewhere in all that, my brain connected comfort with rigidity/predictions/routines/set rules/same old expectations. Those things by themselves isn’t necessarily bad but if they’re highly focused upon, as the movie kinda showed, it can be scary and quite dark.
Yet the opposite of a rigid routines and expectations is CHANGE.
We can’t predict change because it’s usually something new, something we have to learn, and something different from what we’re used to.
For many of us, that’s really scary. Especially if change is associated with many negative experiences, like changing schools and losing all your friends or in traumatic experiences where someone you thought you could trust suddenly changed and betrayed you.
Change is uncomfortable. Change… is like walking into the wilderness of fog, only being able to see your feet directly in front of you, and knowing that it can’t be 100% positive its safe green meadows and perfect rainbows (although sometimes it can be).
There’s a part of me thats so used to being around people who are deeply unsettled by change that started to believe change is bad. That part of my mind used to attribute the shame I felt when I messed up to the fact that I changed, whether it be physically or in word, character, or action. I’m hurting? It’s because I changed.
But that’s not true.
Change is a part of life, whether we like it or not. We are constantly changing. Every second, another second becomes the past. After high school, there’s your twenties, then just another life stage to move onto. Time never stops, and we never stop changing.
So to hope that anything can stay constant (unless its like fact, like 1+1 will always equal 2), is pointless. Its an ideal but impossible dream.
Change IS life. We breath new oxygen in and CO2 out. We grow. We learn new things. We move living locations. We meet new people.
And until we can embrace that… change being the only constant will be a phrase that will just keep bothering you and making you uncomfortable.
Because change isn’t going anywhere. It’s constant.