I have been thinking today, as I have probably many times before, about how we approach changes we must make in order to accommodate new life situations.
I am writing this mostly in the context of a fairly new intimate relationship, but it also applies to new work situations, new friends, changes in our social circles, etc.
It will be easiest for me to establish where I am coming from by quoting a bit of a cliche one hears from time to time: "I'm not going to change for some man".
Now, in my current situation, we find that it generally works because of who we are. Most of what I have learned in my years of life has brought me to being the person I am now - and, more importantly, the flexibilities and understandings I can bring to our partnership. This is likewise true, of course, of her. The skills that we bring are part of what has been forging our bond, and also what we use to keep it improving. These could largely be described as communication and accommodation - one can never acquire too many aspects of these.
But, of course, neither of us are perfect. I am going to switch back to the first person now. Of course, I am far from perfect. I bring some good stuff to our thing, but I also come with, as always, unexamined assumptions, uncorrected reactive elements, and a few bad habits.
These are all a part of me. Am I going to change them? I certainly hope so. Am I going to change them for her? Absolutely. I hope she will be able to help me understand things I never thought out properly, I hope she will bear with my irrational reactions while I tame them, and that she will tolerate the bad habits I am not able to break as quickly as I would like.
But these changes are not "me changing to please another". They are me growing and becoming, I hope, yet again a slightly better person. Someone slightly easier to love, and slightly more capable of giving love in return.
I actually look forward to these changes - this process of growing, which must needs occur at an accelerated rate. Personally, I do like accelerated rates, so at least that is not a problem. I already see and feel things, subjects, where I can tell I fall far short of who I wish I was. Things I need to learn that perhaps she already has, things I want to understand that her patience may help me work through, and new ways of seeing and enjoying the world that may come to me through her eyes and life experience.
Some of the initial phases of this endeavor must be accomplished pretty quickly - who we were when we met gave us a pretty good running start at forming a strong, lasting, positive bond - but also, who we were when we met only gives us a few short months of "honeymoon" bliss to cover over our shortcomings while we address them.
I hope that I can hold up my end of this process. I want to remain the delightful, lovely, and caring person she has been growing to like more and more, while becoming even more so.
I want to earn the love I have been lucky enough to inspire.
I seem to have diverged from my thesis, but now it will be easy enough to get back on track.
All of these changes, however specific they may be to molding parts of myself into qualities that will help this relationship grow in a healthy manner, are also simply personal growth on my part.*
Every one of them truly constitutes an aspect of myself that I want to improve anyway. Things I want to learn, ways I want to be, traits of character that I value - all these things just make me a better version of myself, not some "changed" person who used to be me.
And this is why I see any adjustments I need to make as growth, and not change.
August 5, 2017
*I feel confident enough in my judgement at this point in life to be able to determine that they are, indeed actual improvements to my self. Others may not be so lucky.
© Huw Powell