The summer between my eight grade and freshman year, every tiny aspect about me changed. My taste and attitudes towards nearly everything changed. Bands and movies I loved suddenly disinterested me. Ideas of “fun” were completely different. I even stopped wearing my trademark headband that I’d worn everyday since I had hair long enough to put it in. Slowly, my friends weren’t the same either. The company of those I’d valued the most, I just let go, and strode the opposite way. This all happened when I found I believed in Jesus — but more than that, it all happened when I realized I needed to change.

This change happened so rapidly, I wasn’t sure what to make of it at the moment, and looking back, if anyone would have expected me to change so drastically to be a supposedly “better person”, I would have immediately turned them away and fed them some load of garbage like, “I am who I am! Don’t expect me to change!” This is an attitude that is popularized more and more in our society everyday, and I believe it puts a strain on our life that is so easily loosened. I am grateful too that this wasn’t something that allowed me to throw up walls and prevent the person I am today.

People too often make excuses for themselves, and encase themselves in a bubble of self-entitlement, that suggests “I’ve got it all figured out.” It prevents many from seeing flaws, but more importantly, prevents people from seeing things as flaws. Six years ago, I probably wouldn’t have considered my liking of MTV and daydreaming about high school dating a flaw — and maybe inherently it wasn’t. It was my attitudes and reasoning for liking those things that affected me poorly. I liked those things, because I idolized the idea of eternal youth that people have been dished out for centuries (that’s right, it’s not a generational thing). You know the one I am talking about — premarital sex, drinking, and drama. These are the ingredients to create a successful, memorable life. Also known as “fun.”

This concept is so idiotic to me now, it’s laughable, but, alas, many people continue to live by it. Anyway, it obviously goes beyond that. Attitudes and habits had to die too, and still, I am working against some of those. It pains me so much to see marriages and friendships falling apart because the person “can’t accept who I am.” What they should be saying is, “our relationship is falling apart, because I am unwilling to change who I am.” Change should never be regarded as unhealthy, unless it’s obviously to the negative, but nothing about your mind is unchangeable. Everything can be rewired to live happier and healthier. It’s like when I stopped drinking soda…when I decided to have one a couple years later, I didn’t even like the taste anymore.

Things like being stubborn, lustful, or hyper-critical are things people somehow find vital to their identity, and it baffles me. No one told you that you wouldn’t be you if you didn’t swear and scream when you get frustrated. No one told you that you wouldn’t be you if you didn’t pick at everything your husband or wife does. No one told you that you wouldn’t be you if you weren’t always flirty.

If something is wrong with your relationships, your success, or your happiness, stop looking to the world to see what’s wrong, and what it can do differently. A new job, a shopping spree, more friends — none of it is going to work until we look to ourselves first. Find the flaw within you, and suddenly your outside will change.

Think about how much we expect others to change. When a boss is overbearing and mean, we think they should be different. When a significant other is insensitive, we think they should be different. The problem is, if everyone knows everyone should be different, and no one changes, then there’s just a lot of unhappy people. Success and happiness happens when people keep themselves like “wet clay” — they’re able to mold themselves in new ways to create an increasingly more beautiful sculpture. Never allow yourself to harden and break when people try to change “who you are.” Because no one really discovers who they are — they create it.

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