Capacity to Change
John Porter said, “People underestimate their capacity for change. There is never a right time to do a difficult thing.”
Have you ever made a difficult decision that forced you to change? I have. However, the capacity didn’t just magically happen overnight. I went through years of preparation to be ready for the biggest decision of my life that would change my world.
Change is not easy. If change were easy, everyone, and I mean everyone, would like change. No. Change is hard. That is why most people don’t like change, and are resistant to it.
When you are in the middle of a change or a transition, you need to be able to let go of the old to start new. It feels like you are trying to balance on two pieces of floating ice, the old block and the new block, but the problem is that they are moving farther and farther apart. If you are not able to successfully navigate change by moving yourself onto the new block of ice, you will fall right into the water, and it will feel as bitter cold as a polar bear plunge on an arctic day. You will be left shivering wondering what the heck happened.
If you don’t take some time to reflect during your transition you won’t be able to learn about where you need to be or what mistakes you made before moving from the old to the new. If you really want to transform yourself into the person that you want to become, you need to trust the process of change.
Suddenly, I found myself in a transition moving from my old status of “single girl” to the new status of “engaged girl” the night I met a very charming man. I was head-over-heels in love. It was a whirlwind relationship, and after a year and a half, we were engaged.
When we first started dating, we enjoyed going out often with friends or to different events. There was typically drinking involved. As our relationship matured, I started to notice a problem. We cooked meals together, and my fiancé would enjoy many drinks. We would watch a movie on the couch, and my fiancé would enjoy many drinks. We would entertain at our place, and my fiancé would enjoy many drinks. I was suddenly well aware of my fiancé’s need to have many drinks on a daily basis.
One night, I came home from work to find him passed out on the couch. He drank two bottles of wine. I was baffled; this wasn’t supposed to be happening. I sought guidance from my family and decided that I wanted to work on the relationship. After all, I loved this man. He could change, he assured me. We began the process of going through counseling to see how we could work together to fix this.
Over the course of the next three months, there were still many instances of serious drinking. Each time my patience and trust were impacted a bit more because my fiancé wasn’t ready to admit he had a problem. I was constantly hearing words of reassurance that he would change, that he would get better, and that I just needed to trust him, but his actions weren’t reflective of what he was saying.
I wish I could stand here today and tell you that I did not proceed with the wedding as planned; but that is simply not the case. I wanted so badly to believe him and wanted to have my dream wedding in Grand Cayman. The fear of changing my plans impacted me so much that it seemed as though I wasn’t capable of change. The timing wasn’t right, but then again it never is when it’s a difficult decision.
There I was standing on the Cayman Islands, at the gorgeous villa we rented. I stood outside feeling the warm, gentle breeze, overlooking the infinity pool that went straight in the teal blue ocean water and white powder sand. The scene was so picturesque; it was like a dream. I began to stare into that pool. Infinity, forever, infinity, forever. Was I really capable of this lifestyle for the rest of my life? Infinity. Forever….
A few days later, a welcome dinner was planned for all of our guests when they arrived. The morning of the event, instead of having a partner to share the responsibilities of the preparations, my fiancé started drinking. By mid-afternoon he was stumbling around and slurring his words, and by the time our guests had arrived, he was spilling his cocktails and blasting obnoxious music. I was completely embarrassed by his actions and I realized for the first time that his words meant nothing, that all of the trust and respect that I had once had for him was completely washed away.
Thankfully, common sense was knocked into me and I was finally capable of change. I realized a change needed to be made, and it was either going to be me or him. My fiancé wasn’t making any changes, so I realized it had to be me.
I decided to cancel the wedding. I was done. I was no longer capable of putting myself on that block of ice with this man. I had decided to revert back to “single girl” status. It was the hardest decision that I have ever made. I consider this a life-changing moment, and I don’t doubt that it was the right one. I was finally capable of making a change.
Obviously, I have had a new transition regrouping my life since that moment. I realized that, although it was so easy for me to go from the old status of “single girl” to the new one, it was so much harder to revert back the opposite way. Part of the reason for this is I have now changed and I can never go back to that “single girl” I once was.
I realize there is no escaping change; it will continue to propel you forward in life, and each experience will change you a little bit more. Knowing this, I have begun to reflect on what I want in life and what changes I need to make in myself to ensure I end up where I want to be.
I know that this isn’t the last change I will make in my life but I am transforming myself to trust the process of change.
Change is a process and it is hard, but it is absolutely necessary. Remember you have the capacity to change and that change can happen at any age, at any time. There may never be a right time to do a difficult thing, but fear shouldn’t be the thing stopping you from change.
Now, go make the change you have been afraid to make. It will better your life. It did for mine.