“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
Have you ever felt you needed “permission” to change some aspect of yourself? Have you ever felt like you had to present a thorough “rationale” to do so? That you might “disappoint” friends, family, and so on if you moved on from this or changed into that?
That’s a normal feeling. And, to be frank, it is also normal for some people you know to possibly express a number of negative or confused reactions to said change. Humans are creatures of habit—some more than others.
But it is also 100% normal and inevitable that you WILL change over the course of your life, whether you make a conscious plan regarding it or not.
Please let that fact sink in. You will change. You are always changing. Even your body is continuously changing, casting off old cells and replacing them with new ones.
Moving from biology to physics, we only get more proof that change is constant—and that the “stable” and possibly monolithic figure you consider yourself and others to be is just an illusion.
Because you are not even solid, but rather a countless mass of vibrating atoms. That might sound like stuff people say when they’re smoking a lot of banana peels, but it’s also the truth.
Given all this, if you wish to take control of the inevitability of your own personal change and steer it into a certain direction—I say, go for it!
For you will only be consciously sculpting what so many people do in an automatic, oft-overlooked way regardless.
And yes, there will be those who will be disillusioned or annoyed or infuriated or whatever regarding your conscious decision to change. That is the “price” we pay for living in this particular plane of existence—that it is very likely, and indeed also quite inevitable, that there will be those who will be contrary to you in some way.
In fact, you can take comfort in the fact that while there will be those who won’t like or approve of your change—there were some people who didn’t like or approve of you before your change, either. I know that might sound harsh, but it is very important that you understand that there are always going to be people like that.
So when making a decision whether to change or not, you can ultimately put that concern up on the shelf. You will never please everybody anyway. That is not to excuse the possibly selfish, hysterical, and even bigoted responses you may get to your change, but rather to proactively gain perspective on them so they lose some of their immediate sting.
In the end, you have to live with you—and it is helpful to get as precise as possible as to who you are and what modality of living and personal identity works best for you.
You should also embrace the concept that you are a work in progress—that the goal is not necessarily the endpoint of Change Itself (“ah,” you might say, “I am finished now! No more changing!”) but rather the continuing journey.
As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus noted, “Everything changes and nothing stands still.”
As for other people and their opinions…that’s their journey.