You Tell Me I’ve Changed, But You’re The Reason Why
On occasion, you look back and try to remember yourself the way you were. It’s not entirely about reminiscing about the good times, though. Sometimes you try to remember your character back then in comparison to the way you feel and react now. Am I more prudent? Has my smile lost its innocence? Am I more careful and less optimistic?
But there are people that make us change. Sometimes we have relationships that, far from building us up, instead build sadness, loneliness, and fear. And no, we’re not just talking about romantic relationships, or about men and women who scheme and are emotional manipulators. We’re also talking about family relationships; those are the ones that can really hurt and steal your childhood and happiness.
Our personality isn’t built with strong walls; we’re all vulnerable to our past experiences, disappointments or traumas, whether during childhood or adulthood. For that reason, we can change. Because something deep down inside us breaks down, and yet we try to stand tall behind our broken walls…
Undoubtedly this has happened to you, at least once. In the middle of a conversation, someone might have said in an irritated tone: “You just aren’t the same anymore,” “You’re used to be so fun,” and “You don’t have the same drive and spark as you used to.” What they don’t know is that they may be the ones responsible for that change in character.
Relationships that don’t favor personal growth
There are certain relationships that keep us moving forward in becoming an emotionally strong, secure, and happy person, because we’re constantly helping someone else get there instead. Whether it be our partners, family members or even friends, there are people that are clearly hurtful to you and can change your focus in life. Nonetheless, affectionate relationships are the ones that take the biggest toll on our emotions, and can make us change the most.
Have you ever asked yourself how these changes in your character pop up? Take note of the following steps:
1. Changes in our emotional registry
It’s possible that you used to characterize yourself as an emotionally open person. Maybe you were receptive, optimistic, happy. But then you experienced one too many negative interactions where you received criticism instead of recognition, your character started to change.
You don’t express your emotions, you hide them. Love isn’t charged with illusion, but instead with anxiety and uncertainty, and there’s nothing worse than not knowing what to expect, and then having to watch the balance start to shift. We’ve invested thousands of dreams, hopes and efforts, but only get sadness in return.
2. Exploiting our cognitive bias
If you had a strong vision of yourself where your self-esteem allowed you to expect big things of yourself, now your vision is totally blinded. You look in the mirror and see a person that’s frustrated, and incapable of getting out of that vicious circle because that lack of self-esteem has turned into a sense of inferiority.
3. Changes in self-perception
If I offer optimism, openness, love and humility, but only receive disapproval, ridicule and criticism in return, the first thing I realize is that the person that said they love me, really doesn’t. Or at least not the way I expected them to. After that it’s very probable that you’ll have a negative perception of yourself for having made the wrong choice, for having been naively caught up and invested time in someone that didn’t deserve my efforts and feelings.
I’ll dislike the other person too, but I’ll have a negative perception of myself, which is much worse, because the emotional toll turns us into victims.
4. I’ve changed, and I’m moving forward
You’ve been disappointed and hurt. You’ve probably met your fair share of these kinds of people, because they come in every shape and color. However, it’s important that, when knowing that something has changed inside us, we reflect on the following aspects:
- Maybe you’re not the person you were who enjoyed being open to life, you’re not as innocent and you know how much disappointment hurts. The first thing you should do is walk away from any situation that causes you pain. Don’t be a victim; get away.
- Accept your past, it’s a part of you and you have to be accountable for it. You’ve suffered, you’ve been disappointed, and you’ve tasted most flavors of sadness. What will you gain by denying it? Own up to it, day to day, let go of the pain, and lighten your load.
- You’re not defined by your sadness, you’ve accepted it and left it in the past. You’re the present, you’re the “here and now.” Your pain from the past has to stay in the past, and you should learn from it and act with more confidence in the future.
Have you changed? Maybe. We all do. But you’re not going to let yourself be led down a path of sadness or leave your dreams in the dust. You’ll love yourself more, you’re the author of your life and your happiness.