I love you, you’re perfect, now change! It’s a musical comedy that’s traveled the world and has been performed in multiple languages. I’ve never seen it. I saw the title several years ago and fell in love with it. It so perfectly depicts “life” and “relationships.” That’s sorta what’s on my mind today — the call, or in many cases, “demand” to change.
At work, you’re expected to grow and, thus, change in your role. In your relationships you’re expected to evolve and, therefore, change (in most cases). As a parent (or child), the same expectation exists. Even the seasons change as does nature to accommodate the seasonal shifts. Nothing remains the same. There seems to be an innate charge to change. Girls become women. Boys become men. Women and men become parents or role models — and if we live long enough, we become grandparents (the ultimate change in life).
But not all expectations for change are good. Sometimes we expect people to become something that they were never intended to be or are incapable of becoming. For example, we would never ever expect a fish to climb a tree, neither would we ask a bear to breathe underwater. It’s just not possible. Yet, we often ask people to change — to become a person they could never be. A man who thrives off of being the center of attention would never be happy as a recluse, neither would he desire to be. A woman who is highly introverted would never enjoy going to a concert that’s packed so full that people can hardly stand shoulder to shoulder without crushing each other. To get angry at her for not wanting to go to said concert would be baffling to her and an unrealistic expectation that will only lead to frustration.
As a writer, I find that I have similar struggles. We tend to brand ourselves as a certain type of author in a particular niche. For example, when we pick up a Stephen King novel, we have certain expectations, such as being thrilled or frightened as we read in total rapture. When we pick up a Nicholas Sparks book, we expect sentimentality and tears. However, when we attempt to change or even when our skills and life experiences dictate that we evolve, it is not always well received. JK Rowling made a killing with her Harry Potter franchise, but when she wrote under a pseudonym in a different genre, I had read that it didn’t do as well as expected commercially (I wonder would anything do as well as Harry Potter, comparatively). As a writer, I have found that I am constantly evolving and creating a new niche for myself — always hoping my audience will stick with me each time I do.
It really is okay to be who we are and even to evolve into someone with different philosophies on life and love and relationships. It’s okay to change career paths or re-brand ourselves. It’s even okay to change our religious and political affiliations. Change is natural when it comes from internal growth (or withering). It is absolutely unnatural when it is forced upon someone to conform, assimilate or rebel.
Be who you are. Change when you’ve outgrown your current situation and environment. Reboot as necessary. And NEVER apologize for doing so.