Aug 13, 2018 by Reen Rose
“The only thing that is constant is change.” — Heraclitus
I have been watching my parents deal with major changes over the past few years as the aging process refuses to be ignored in their lives any longer.
Dad hasn’t driven since he fell in September and he mourns daily the disappearance of this luxury. If you’ve ever taken public transport, you know how much more convenient it is to have your own car.
My mom still does many of the “wifely duties” she has been performing for almost 65 years, but she has slowed down to an extent she is almost going backward. What once required a few minutes, now takes an hour or more and, at the end, she is worn out.
Signs of aging begin long before they have a major effect on you. A few wrinkles and a sore back may not change your life in any significant way, but having to use a walker and finding it difficult to button your shirt does.
Everyone ages, although in the early adult stages, it may seem barely perceptible from one day to the next. The older you become, the more it alters your life.
Change is constant and necessary for living things to survive; without it life would become stagnant. Think about pools of water. Without rain and melting snow to fill them, and wind to stir them, they would soon be dried up or a smelly breeding ground for mosquitos.
Neither option is as healthy as a vibrant stream that is moving and flowing with life.
Some people deal with change better than others. The more vibrant you want to be, the more you need to flow and change as the world around you does. Change brings a variety of outcomes with it. It is up to you to decide if they are good, bad, or neutral.
Few people are surprised to learn that change is a constant that no one can escape, but according to inspirational speaker and author Joy Kingsborough, there are four more features of life that you can also be sure about.
You can be certain about:
That’s it! Everything else in your life comes with uncertainty.
You may think you know who your partner is, what they want, what they are willing to do, and how they will think or react, but you can’t be certain of it.
You only know as much about them as they are willing to let you see.
This is one of the reasons why it isn’t uncommon for a person to think they are happily married, only to have their spouse leave them.
They thought they knew what was going on in the other person’s head, but they really had no idea.
The four personal elements you can be certain of are important to explore if you want to be better at navigating change and understanding other people.
Research from Germany is just one example of data that supports the importance of developing self-awareness if you want a happy life.
The study found that the better the participants were at understanding themselves, the better they were at understanding the intentions and beliefs of others. Imagine how much better your relationship would be if you were both masters of your inner selves?
Before you can be certain of who you are, you need to spend time figuring that out.
I’m talking about the real you, not the person you think you should be. The key to success is authenticity, not the perfect resume of character traits.
No one is without these negative traits and the study I mentioned above found that when the participants acknowledged their negative inner parts they had a greater increase in understanding other people.
Only seeing the good in yourself isn’t nearly as affective.
I am convinced that one of the reasons my marriage is more stable now than it was 20 years ago is because I know myself so much better. I’m not embarrassed about my flaws, or less desirable traits. They contribute to the uniqueness of me.
In relationship struggles you may find yourself focusing more on your partner than yourself, but the best place to begin is with you.
If you don’t know who you are, what you want, what you are willing to commit to, and actively choose your thoughts and emotions, you will find intertwining your life with another person’s much more difficult.
If you are with a partner who has no interest in personal development, don’t worry. Through my self-development, my husband has also grown and learned to look inward although he hasn’t made a conscious decision to do so.
Growth in the people around you is almost a byproduct of personal growth.
As personal development guru John Maxwell says, “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”
Take my advice and grasp any opportunity you can find for self-development. It will help you find more satisfaction in every corner of your life and make navigating change easier.