The Reward for Change

Change is good. I think most people would agree. It may not always be easy, and there may be growing pains along the way, but typically, there are more positives than negatives that come from change. 

So without qualifying change as "good" or "bad", I think it's fair to say that change in general is seen as good, and it is often commended. Going through change is hard; I can attest to that myself. I'm currently going through three pretty major changes simultaneously, and it's been quite an experience. First, after going to school since the age of five, I've started my career and am now working. Second, for the first time in my life, I'm living on my own. Lastly, and the change that's been by far the most difficult, I've moved to a new place where I basically don't know anyone, and I have to start from scratch to build up friends and a community around me. It's a fresh start, in every sense of the term, and while I'm learning a ton, it's been immensely hard. It would have been a whole lot easier to stay close to my friends and family, and if I'm being completely honest, I probably would have been happier over these last six months if I had stayed close to home. Yet when I tell people all of that, they commend me for it. Why? I'm commended for moving away from the people I love and the people I enjoy spending time with most to a place where I spend more time alone and time with people I don't know very well in places that make me feel anxious and uncomfortable. When it's framed in that way, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but I do think there's value in this change; it's why I made the decision to go through with it in the first place.

In my case, a big part of the reason for going through this change was for personal growth; I felt like this experience was something I had to go through, even if a part of me didn't want to. I want to prove to myself that I can do this, and the hope is that going through this experience will allow me to grow as an individual and provide me with knowledge and insight that can help me in the future. I don't think I'm unique in that mindset; I think most peoples' reasons for change is to prove something to themselves and come out on the other side a better person, and that's certainly commendable. Change offers the allure of the unknown, and the possibilities are endless in the unknown. But keep this in mind: familiarity is a dangerous thing because it often irrationally feeds human beings' instinctual nature of both inhibiting change and seeking change. The grass isn't always greener on the other side. 

A closing thought, and the one that inspired the title: positive changes are always celebrated and met with congratulatory attention, as they very well should be, but why don't positive practices ever receive any attention? Everyone congratulates the overweight person who manages to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle or the smoker who's finally able to quit, but nobody ever says anything to the person who has always been able to maintain a healthy weight or the person who never started smoking in the first place. It applies in the opposite as well. Those who are reactive receive attention, and those who are proactive get ignored. Why is that? I don't have an answer, but it's a thought I wanted to float out there.