Not all others, but some others. It’s actually hard to explain or put into words (which, of course, is why I am trying to write about it).
Let’s try it this way: With great change comes, well, great change. Right?
And part of great change is moving in new and different directions. Sometimes those directions bring us closer to new people, choices, opportunities and even places that better reflect where we are headed rather than where we’ve been. At the same time and by definition, those directions may take us further from where we have been, from the people who have been there (with us) and from who we once were.
Moving forward is important and a key component to growth of any kind in our lives (and no growth means, well, you don’t go anywhere which means, well, you are stuck).
Moving forward also means you will go right into the thick of the unknown and, at the same time, away from the known.
As with so many things in life, and for reasons that are pretty clear, all of that is both scary and awesome. And, at least for me, any time scary and awesome are together in the mix, and even though it is right, it can feel weird. And strange.
Some people, as my daughter would say, just “make a bridge and get over it.”
Others, like me, sometimes analyze or ruminate or, at the very least, have a heightened sensitivity not to the change itself, but to the feelings and thoughts (or at least the feelings and thoughts I ascribe to them) of the other people involved. Especially those other people who are more what was than what will be. You know, those left behind.
Now, to be clear: These aren’t people who are “left behind” in life – just on the specific path that is yours. Each of them is on his or own path, moving forward (or not) in other and different directions that are hopefully right and good for them. I am no expert, but I am pretty sure that if you try to prevent or stall forward movement on your path or do things to stay with them on theirs — even when you know it isn’t right — you are messing with some major karma there. (In other words, it is stronger than you are. Every. Time.)
And all this is where the emotion that I would characterize as bittersweet comes into play. My bff Elizabeth tells me I am more attuned and sensitive to all of this because I am an INFJ. Whatever the reason, I feel it. Deeply. Emotionally, of course, and probably physically too. Sometimes it stops me or makes me question or even doubt – myself, the journey, the rightness (or wrongness – are those words??) of my decisions.
For instance, if people who have known me through thick and thin until now suddenly don’t understand me or don’t see why I am doing something or express puzzlement over who I am becoming, I feel that.
If they know me and they don’t get it, then clearly I must be doing something wrong, right?
No. Not right.
Not everyone will understand everything we do. Sometimes we don’t even understand ourselves. But we often know, that deep-gut-knowing kind of know, that this is exactly what we are supposed to be doing in this very moment, or at this very point in our lives.So while all of us may know, only some of us do it. And some of us don’t.
When I think back to all of the turning points (my stop-the-bus moments) in my life, it is crystal-clear that I knew in my gut, in my soul, that this was right, even though practically or intellectually I had no freakin’ clue why or how.
I could have questioned to death.
I could have listened to people who, yes, loved me and, yes, were convinced they knew what was best for me.
I could have let myself be stuck all for the sake of not rocking any boats.
I could have stayed exactly where I was because I was afraid of that icky feeling that comes with change and leaving people behind.
Yes, I could have done any or all of that.
Thank Goodness I didn’t.
Thank Goodness I had some semblance, some shred, some morsel, of trust, faith or knowing that there would be something soft and cushion-y and amazing at the bottom of what were sometimes very long and free-falling jumps.
Part of my journey and its lessons is about blinders. Yes…blinders.
Putting on those blinders and going, going, going forward, forward, forward. Not feeling guilt or wishy-washiness or squeamish-ness about all of the emotions that come with change. Knowing that I can love and give and do MORE deeply, MORE purely with the blinders on than with them on then off, on then off.
Part of my journey is knowing in my soul what I wrote yesterday on my Facebook status:
Not everyone will “get” you. And that is OK. Don’t focus on why they don’t get you, focus on who does and how you can connect with them.
People who “got” you for years may not get you anymore.
You may wake up and someone who knew you best may seem almost stranger-like now.
That is weird. And scary. And we don’t always know what to make of it:
Do we change back so it’s all back to “normal?”
Do we encourage them to change?
Do we slow down our change or forward motion so they can “catch up?”
Ultimately, those are all Band-Aids anyway. You are headed where you are headed, as are they. You can’t change or control anyone else. And to try to do so for the sake of eliminating guilt or the uncertainty of change is not serving anyone, not you or not them. (And, again, karma, karma, karma!)
So….what to do? Where to go? How to be? When will the icky feelings end or go away? What’s next?
You know those answers. They are yours, and yours aren’t mine. (Hey, I barely know mine! I hope you don’t expect me to know yours!)
I do know this:
Your answers will not be the most comfortable or least icky-ones – that is a guarantee.
They aren’t the ones most concerned with maintaining the status quo.
They are the ones that focus more on your purpose, your gifts, what you can (and must!) bring and do for the world than on not hurting anyone’s feelings or cushioning others.
They aren’t the ones that would give you the “Nice But Inconsequential Person Of The Year” award.
They are generally the tougher ones. The ones that most people – though I hope not you – would just as soon not take, ignore and push aside (they always come back, by the way). The ones that feel the hardest and the ickiest sometimes. The ones that you and others around you will question and poke holes at and use as evidence that maybe, just maybe, you really are losing your mind.
Don’t avoid them.
Don’t let them let you talk yourself out of what you know is meant to be. Instead, grab them, use them, love them. Everything and everyone else — including those who are left behind scratching their heads and wondering when and where you “lost it” and those ahead of you waiting for you to make it up to their neck of the woods – is just waiting for you to make your next move.
As a matter of fact, I am too.