Wednesday, April 26, 2006

When is Change Justified?

Normally I like to start my writings off with some sort of a story or an analogy that I think helps to get my point across before I actually bring up the point, or the question for which I am choosing to pose to my readers, but this time I was to reverse it.

When is change justified? Change in reference to yourself. Changing some aspect of “who you are” at the current time. Change with plans of long lasting effects.

Of course, we can all change something about our current state for short-term and it is not much of a deal…

As a kid, your mom might have asked you to change out of your sneakers into dress shoes for church. Or in high school your best friend might have asked you to change your plans to go to the movies and to come to her house instead for a night of hanging out with the girls. In college your roommate might have asked you to change the direction you hung the toilet paper roll on the holder. Or yesterday your co-worker might have asked you to change the distance from your mouth that you keep the mouth piece on your telephone headset because you are coming across too loud.

All of those examples are minute changes, many of which are for short-term and really don’t change the essence of “who you are.” Most of those changes you probably didn’t even take a second to consider them before you changed.

Change occurs everyday and it is not something to be feared; but what if it is a change to “who you are?”

The “who you are” characteristics can be different from one person to the next. Something that might define “who you are” to you, might not be such a big factor to someone else. One person might think you changing one aspect about you is not as big of a deal as you might consider it to be. Or, changing something about the way you typically dress or act might be a BIG change to you, and not such a big deal or change to someone else. So “who you are” is obviously a unique situation to each person. But still, we all have a “who you are” that can be changed, so…

When does changing “who you are” become justifiable?

Justifiable: that is—justifiable to you. When do you feel you are warranted to change “who you are?”

It is true that you can not change anyone. You might marry someone thinking you can and will change them, but only they can and will make that change, assuming they feel the change is justifiable to them.

So if the spouse chooses to change, what would be the justifiable cause, or person, for which he/she felt was worth changing for?

Him/herself? God? His/her values? His/her spouse? His/her family or friends? Society? Someone else?

It was in my not so distant past I was asked to change what I believed was “who I was” at the current time…

I found myself running for a titled position. It would be a position with some authority and influence. If I should I get the position, I would “be in the spotlight”—as a lot of title positions tend to be.

In order to run in the election for the spot I had to go through some advising/interviewing with some “higher powers” prior to the election. I did, but it was then that I felt I was being asked to change “who I was.”

It was an “appearance” change of “who I was” that was being presented to me. I was asked if I got the position, would I consider some changes to my appearance. Would I continue to wear my hat? What about make-up? Changes of such matters. Changes that might seem minimal to some, but changes to which I wondered, “What would be the purpose?”

I stood behind my beliefs that the physical appearance of an individual should not be of the most importance.

Some qualities of physical appearance can not be changed, some can. A hat and make-up can be changed, so then it comes down to should they be changed. Did I view the change justifiable?

I ended up taking myself out of the election for that position, though the asking of me to reconsider my physical appearance was not the reasoning for it. What I did do, however, was leave that advising session with a sense of pride for standing up for what I believed in that day.

I explained to the advisor that day that I was fully aware of situations I viewed hats as “not appropriate attire” and I had NO plans of wearing hats to those functions, but still, so if that was what was being addressed, they could rest assured on my word. But as for my everyday attire, I did not see the purpose behind changing “who I was”—a typical hat-wearer, simply because people would be looking at me and it might not be the “girly” thing to do. I explained that I did not think whether a girl wears make-up or not should be the defining point of her influence over others. Maybe looks do “talk to people,” but if that is the case, I was not the person for the spot, as I do not believe that is of the utmost importance.

Many in my situation would have burnt the cap and thrown a Mary Kay party without any hesitation, and that is perfectly fine. To each their own. Physical appearance changes are easily justifiable to some, and that is fine too. But changing “who you are” can be more of a difficult situation to justify to some than others.

It was a value/belief justification for me that day that kept me from deciding to change “who I was.” But if I should decide to change “who I am,” what would make for a justifiable reason?

I know many who would say, “you should only change for yourself, or for God; that you should not ever change for someone else.” Is that the case? I suppose you could merit changing for your spouse as you changing for yourself, because yourself wants to see your spouse happier because you, yourself loves your spouse, right?

Would you change “who you are” for a cause such as a value, belief, or passion you have? Would you change “who you are” for anyone other than yourself?

When is change justified?

1 comment:

julesforstenholm said...

I do think change is justified at times. But, it must be for the right reasons, and, frankly, it must be your choice.

When you make changes to hide who you are, it's not healthy; however, values, beliefs, and ideas can change if you decide to change them. That then becomes who you are. I think it's natural, and I know I've done it. I'm glad I've made some of the changes I have.

Life experiences (career, marriage, children, religion) sometimes force us to change - whether that's physically, mentally, emotionally, or any other -ally word! :) And I don't think that means we're selling out. We would be a boring lot of people if we each remained exactly the same person throughout our lives... adjustments are necessary.

...but, I do believe that change must be something that you are willing to do. Which, like you said, is very different for different people. There are some areas of my life that I can't imagine compromising for anyone or anything, but I won't guarantee that a time won't come when something/someone else takes priority and I'll be willing to change.

Evolution is important - it goes hand in hand with growth and experience, I think. I do realize, though, "to each his own". Where I view change as a reflection of what I've experienced and the subsequent decisions I've made, some people see change as giving up "who I am".

During the past year or two, I've changed some of my long-held beliefs about certain areas of my life, but I challenge anyone to tell me that I've given up "who I am".

Good blog - important to think about.