A Change of Scenery


Photo by NOAA on Unsplash


One of the enjoyments of being in nature is taking in all its wonderous beauty. Even if you’ve been to the same place, the trees may be greener or the sky bluer; the glorious wonders seem to beckon us never to leave their magnificent presence. It is a welcome relief from our everyday hustle and bustle.


Returning home from such splendor, may seem anticlimactic at first, but we do revel in the comfortable surroundings of our humble abode. There is something about the familiarity of our dwelling secretly soothing us in its stability and safety. It’s as though a different force is pleading for us not to leave home.


Herein lies the conundrum. On one hand, we crave adventure or at least a change of scenery but on the other hand, we want to be wrapped in the comfort and ease to which we have grown accustomed. Change can be complex, and that goes for any kind of change. Knowing what to expect is reassuring and not always worth the risk of something different.


Why is change so confounding in certain moments? Even when the present circumstances are less than favorable, why do we choose the familiar over the possibility of “greener trees and bluer skies”?


Creatures of habit


Perhaps one of the biggest roadblocks to change is stability. It is human nature to want consistency. Knowing what is or what will be coming, provides a sense of comfort and solidity. Predictability adds a level of security and strength, putting us in a place of ease and one which we often prefer not to disturb.


Change, no matter how small, disrupts the familiarity in our routine. Any possibility of change can foster worry, anxiety, or despair. It is true some people thrive on the prospect of change, but even that depends on the kind of situation they face.


Being a creature of habit is not necessarily a negative attribute. Practicing good habits builds character and successfully developing new habits help us conquer the older, troublesome ones. Knowing and being aware of our good habits is crucial in discerning whether any real changes need to be made. This “knowing” is a commitment to ourselves to continually strive for greater personal development.


There is a popular inspirational saying urging you to remove toxic people from your life. At its essence, this removal of toxicity may be considered transformational merely by the act of changing your environment and surrounding yourself with positive, uplifting people.


However, I am not a huge fan of these kinds of quotations specifically because they point the finger at others and focus too much on negative, outside influences. It puts the onus on someone else as if they are the stumbling block and you are the innocent victim. What if that saying were turned on its head and the quote read, “what is it about you that attracts toxic people into your life?”


This would never garner the popularity of the original quotation because it focuses the attention back on us. It demands we do more than make a new set of friends. But we also realize while toxic people may have contributed to our failings, there is something else about ourselves which needs immediate attention. The discomfort in asking this question eventually leads to positive steps on our journey.


Critical nature


Another characteristic for humans is the ability to critique. Citing our displeasure with others is rarely a difficult task. We likely encounter irritating situations several times each day. It’s no wonder finding fault in others is prolific for many.


Seeing the change others needs to make is easy, and often perplexing to us why those very same people cannot and do not see their glaringly obvious faults. If you find yourself thinking this way and your purpose is to get others to change, I recommend you find another purpose.


Ironically, those who demand change from others are often the ones who refuse to acknowledge faults within themselves. They are blinded by their own arrogance and self-centered greed. They have an insatiable need to always be right and will never consider the notion they are the slightest bit wrong. Unfortunately, many develop this sense of omnipotence after they are promoted to positions of authority.


Change is good


In my practice, I guide others along on their personal journeys. Although most of them come to me because they realize a change needs to occur, I do not force them to accept my diagnosis of their problems nor expect them to follow any step-by-step instructions on how to “fix” things. Their progress happens when they discover their personal faults and understand how it impacts their lives. They want and need a change because it benefits them and everyone they encounter.


I have no mandate to make them change and it would be detrimental to add extra pressure during their plight. It doesn’t matter how accurate my assessments of their issues may be, if they do not become aware of them, no progress will be made. But when they do become aware of imperfections, it is a profound moment for them.


More than be


We have all heard the saying, “be the change you want to see in the world.” I would respectfully like to insert another consideration. Sometimes the change we need to be is not always apparent to us. Anybody can become more kind, considerate, or helpful; but there are times when we are not always able to see the changes we need to make.


What is helpful in finding them out is to ask yourself questions. How do I invite negative people into my life? Why am I constantly in toxic or abusive relationships? What is constantly causing me to make self-destructive decisions? Asking these kinds of questions is a great step in understanding if a change – even if it’s a change of scenery – is needed or not.


If you have asked yourself similar questions and are having difficulty finding answers, please feel free to reach out to me at john@shamedoctor.com. I am more than happy to help.


There will be times when we must decide to change or keep stability; both are good. The better awareness we have of ourselves will help us decide which to choose at the appropriate time.


My thanks to NOAA on Unsplash for the wonderful picture and I look forward to your comments.

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