Let’s say you’ve grown up in a small town like me. Or a big town. It doesn’t quite matter so much. You went to school there, you made lots of friends there. You even found your first love there. Then you went on going to College there. You enjoyed some more time with your friends and family. And then, slowly, but surely, you realise something. You aren’t quite the person you want to be. You realise this:
You want to be a quite different person. And you are thinking of changing yourself. Ever so slightly. Then a bit more aggressively.
The shy guy, all of a sudden speaks up in a crowded room to express his idea.
The pessimistic girl starts to smile and talk about the great things of life every day.
The person who has always suppressed their emotions, expresses their feelings clearly and heart warmingly to someone.
And then, after our attempt to change comes the sentence. It is being told to us by someone we know so well, maybe our friends, maybe our family. And it hits us like a knife being stabbed into our stomachs:
“But that’s not the <name> I know. You are a different person now!”
What follows in many cases is ridiculing, laughing, disbelief of your new actions. Your surroundings, your friends, your family, who have come to know you as this or that kind of person won’t accept the new “you” that you are exploring. Change is always hard; for everyone.
And so, slowly the shy guy becomes more shy again. The pessimistic girl gets back to smiling less and complaining more about the hard life. The feelings are getting suppressed again.
We cannot change without the environment around us approving of us. As hard as this truth may sound, it is something that I have found more persistent than anything else.
So what we have to do, if we really want to reinvent ourselves is to change our environment. It is to find a place, where we can change and become a different person. The person we want to be or think we want to be. Where we can change our minds when we yet again, want to become a different person from the one we originally changed into.
Doing this is hard. It’s insanely hard. It takes all the courage we have as humans to do so. And yet the reward is greater than anything else: Freedom. The places where you can become the person you want to become are rare. In fact, they are extremely rare. And even if we are in such a place, it takes a whole lot more courage to find out about it.
The above is a truth (and story) I have come to understand over the past few years. I have completely changed my environment several times. I’ve changed the people I interact with and even the continent I lived on, twice. And I couldn’t think of anything else that’s more worthy of doing.