Change Is Inevitable

Change is the only constant. We know this very well, but sometimes we tend to forget that the application of this wisdom is not discriminatory. Change occurs in every aspect of life, and of course that includes people. And if people are involved, then it follows that our relationships with each other are also affected.

It is only human and normal to expect relationships that are “working” in our life to remain static in order to avoid upsetting the apple-cart. We would certainly wish that nothing changes in such situations. This expectation is, however, not practical. At some point along the course of any relationship, change is bound to occur, and if the law of averages is activated, we may even see that half the time, we are the ones responsible for the change!

I recall a lecture given by Deepak Chopra some years ago. He was talking about how life is continually evolving and that nothing ever stays the same. Then he explained that even if we resolutely resist change, we still end up being someone different every few years or so. Here's why: each and every cell in our body goes through a life cycle. The length of this cycle depends on what type of cell it is, but ultimately, there will be a point in time where each and every cell in the body has gone through at least one cycle. This means that technically, we have become “different” to what we were before this point in time. So we can never escape change even if we do our best to prevent it in ourselves!

A common example of how we sometimes struggle with change in a relationship is between a parent and a child. This is most obvious because as the child grows, he or she undergoes many different phases and each one can be drastically different from the previous. This will affect the dynamic of the relationship because a “component” is now “different”; the equation has been altered to some degree. The parent (and child) will now need to make adjustments to the new parameters and perhaps even to some extent re-negotiate or re-define this new state. If this growth has radically altered the status quo, then the manner in which both parties interact with each other must also radically adapt and adjust in order to find a new balance.

This is no different in marriages. Bearing in mind that marriages are expected to be a life-long affair, the probability that either party undergoes some sort of change is inevitable. Again, the dynamic of the marriage will be affected accordingly, leaving either one or both partners confused, upset and perhaps even guilty. This is especially so when one partner is undergoing a personal growth that brings about corresponding differences in character and personal behaviour. It can be very unsettling indeed, and both parties would need to re-define the marriage in order to sustain it.

The ideal situation would be if both partners grow as individuals together. This may sound like an oxymoron, but it actually make sense – both parties go through their own self-growth, and still maintain their bond with each other. Of course, what would be helpful and preferred is if one party's individual growth shares much commonality with the other. If this growth takes both partners away from each other, then it will become very challenging to remain together.

The same can be said for any other relationship that we have – friends, family, colleagues, group peers. All relationships are subject to change which will in turn alter its structure and dynamic. If we accept that this is so, then we will be more willing to look at each relationship as an on-going “work-in-progress” that requires periodic adjustments and “tweaking” in order to maintain its health.

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