One statement that seems to ring true for many is that the world is kind of a mess at the moment. It also doesn’t appear to be shifting in any sort of a positive direction either. Supply chain issues have baffled business around the globe, the pandemic continues its menacing hold, and tensions between countries are posing serious threats to the safety and civility of millions.
It would also appear to many that it’s time for a major change. People’s attitudes have become self-centric, dismissing any ideas that do not align with their political, religious, or philosophical views. Consideration of the needs of others has become as unfashionable as the fanny pack, and speaking one’s opinion is far more important than any ramifications those words may cause down the line.
The history of our species is one of constant change. Innovation and determination have sparked revolutionary advances imparting conveniences and perks that were previously unimaginable. Unfortunately, some “developments” have also led to corruption and devastation which rather than inspiring peace and harmony, their very existence incites despair and defeat.
Over the centuries, have humans evolved to become more divisive and argumentative? Are we only inclined to listen to those who mirror our objectives and intentions? Where are the leaders committed to making positive changes and are willing to put their lives on the line to fight injustices and create a peaceful world? Have we as a species crossed the line of no return and are headed on a path of near extinction?
February 22, 2013 is the day my most memorable change occurred. It was the day I exited my figurative cocoon; when the “blinders” were removed and the light shone on the biggest hurdle I had ever faced. The realization that it wasn’t what others told me that initiated all the problems, it was that I believed their lies and accepted them as true. This day was indeed my chrysalis moment.
The awareness was incredibly liberating and instilled within me a desire to help everyone experience a similar breakthrough. But my story is no anomaly. Many people who undergo life-altering experiences are subsequently inspired to become coaches, teachers, or therapists to help transform the lives of others. If we could successfully overcome challenges we deemed impossible – and there is nothing special or unique about us – then anyone should be able accomplish it too.
Change is inevitable, and since people are going to change anyway, why not be the person to help and encourage them? Our experience will be the best teacher to show others how to get through their confusing and complex journeys. Although helping people is a virtuous passion, without a thoughtful and wise approach, our “help” can be a detriment to their success.
Nature compels the caterpillar to begin its metamorphosis. Once completely enveloped in the cocoon, its own enzymes begin to devour its body and it quickly starts growing wings, antennae, and the rest of what we recognize as an eventual butterfly. There is no outside force creating this change, and nothing will occur outside of the cocoon. Caterpillars must grow wings suitable for butterflies. They cannot decide to become a locust or a beetle, it has no choice but to accept what nature has predetermined for it.
Unlike the caterpillar, our emotional transformation is a product of what we desire it to be. Mentors and shining examples can have a substantial impact on our outcome, but no changes are made without our full consent.
Being a therapist, counselor, or coach is a phenomenal calling, and anyone choosing this vocation should always give it the proper respect it’s owed. We do a great disservice by believing that we are the cause for their change. No matter how many people you’ve helped, each individual was ultimately responsible for every single change.
Up to now, the focus has been on a personal transformation. However, many also want to see changes on a global level. It is easy for some to conclude, “There are too many mean-spirited, negative, or selfish people out there and they must change their ways.” Around the world, people are speaking poorly about other’s religions, politics, or cultural traditions, chiefly because they are different from theirs. Far too many people believe that it’s everyone else who has the issues and needs do the changing. They, on the other hand, are just fine, or more accurately always right, in their beliefs.
But this arrogant way of thinking is exactly what’s breeding the kind of chaos we are currently witnessing. The headlines are filled with stories of so-called leaders touting their own excellence while loudly ridiculing and degrading anyone who dare oppose their benevolent wisdom. They believe the only good change is to revert into our cocoons and emerge with their flawless philosophy, perspective, and understanding.
There are no shortages of these examples, and often confound us as to why they can be so blind in their ways. But considering how adamant and zealous you may feel about how wrong they are, why would you believe they would feel any less passionate about how wrong you are? No matter how avidly you want them to come to their senses, do you believe they are not wondering the same thing about you?
Even if a great leader were to come along and make sweeping changes, nothing will come to pass unless others agree with what is being implemented. We cannot legislate good behavior nor can we outlaw bad judgement. No one can demand that you be kind to others or concerned about the fragility of our planet. The most rapid change this world will ever see is when each person begins to understand that while it may be time for a change, it only happens from within. We must also commit to be the best example of those changes and how they positively impacted us and our world, because it is by our actions that we validate the choices – and changes – we make.
Whenever you have an urge for someone else to change, let this be a signal to look inside and examine ourselves for changes that would make the world a better place. I look forward to your comments.