capturing the beautiful calamity of healing in therapy

No, really. It’s okay to change your mind.

No, really. It’s okay to change your mind.

Sometimes, in a world that adores bucket lists, commitments, and tried-and-true honors, in a world that covets moral conviction and loyalty, it’s okay to change your mind.

That’s right.

If something is no longer working, if you have outgrown something and the voice in the back of your mind keeps telling you that you need to do something differently, you’re allowed to take action.

 

It’s Easy to Change Your Mind When Society Likes the Change

Everyone loves the drug addict who becomes sober or the bachelor who proposes to his fiance or the deadbeat parent who lands a career. We love turnaround stories, people who allegedly grew into themselves, into the versions we knew they could always be.

But what if you want to change your mind in ways that society, well, may not love?

In a world where to-death-do-us-part embodies the ultimate romanticism and maturing of self, where does changing your mind fit? Are you weaker? Did you fail? Did you give up or give in? And what lies in the middle? What if it goes against the grain? What if it even goes against your grain?

Maybe the answer is somewhere in between.

Because if we want to grow, we need to be comfortable with changing our minds. What we decide at one phase during our lives may no longer fit us in another phase.

And, sometimes letting that go hurts. It can require its stages of grief and discomfort.

Change is hard. Even positive change can evoke intense emotion.

When You change Your mind, You Swallow Your Pride

But swallowing your pride leads you to your most authentic truths. Even if it hurts in the short run, the happiness and self-esteem will always be greater.

The problem we must overcome is that most people will judge. In fact, the people closest to you might even condemn you the most.  They will question your integrity- they will wonder if you are weakminded or can’t stick to your word.

That’s because most of us, on a primitive, level resist change, even we logically know it’s okay to change your mind.

If we want the happiest, rawest form of self-love, we need to stay attuned to our emotions. To acknowledge that it’s okay to change your mind honors that your feelings, ideas, morals, and values can change.

You can outgrow ideals. You can adopt new principles or ways of thinking or being.

When You Change Your Mind, You Take a Risk

Calculated or not, you leap into some kind of unknown territory.

A few months ago, after over a decade of vegetarianism, that choice no longer served me. I won’t get into the reasons, but I initially resisted the change, tried to stuff the conflict down with kale and lettuce (pun mostly intended). Because, I had committed, right? I had decided on something important and valuable.

To change my mind seemed impulsive, and I was stronger than a mere impulse, right?

Herein lies the conflict- where do we draw the line? Where do we honor commitments because we believe in upholding our eternal word? Or, where do we decide that it’s okay to change because we’re just humans with varying emotions, values, and circumstances?

In this instance, I’m talking about what I eat for dinner, but this apprehension for change applies on a much larger scale: from college majors to geographical location to spouses.

It’s Okay to Change Your Mind- Even if You’re Scared

Is divorce okay if it’s what serves you best? Is moving across the world okay if you no longer want to live where you currently reside? These questions don’t come with picture-perfect answers, but people face them every single day.

I won’t pretend to have the right answer either because I certainly don’t.

All I know is this: We often frantically hold onto parts of our identities, even if they no longer serve us. We resist needed change because we often fear the outcome. And, we make excuses for staying stagnant because we fear the risk of hurting ourselves or others in the process.

 

But, where does genuine happiness fit into this equation? After all, what’s a life of routine and rigidity if that depletes us of joy and gratitude?

And, what’s a life of commitment when you no longer believe in that commitment?