The topic of this post is something as vulnerable to me as it is to everyone reading this. Before you read the rest, I want you to let go of all of the unhealthy expectations you have of yourself and others so you can approach this with an open mind.
As I have said in my post about self-love, something that I feel we all need more of as individuals is compassion for ourselves and others. As we all grow in today’s day and age, we are unfortunately all made to adhere to standards of perfection, whether it be about our bodies, the way we should act, what we believe in, and every other possible aspect of life. Especially as teenagers, we are so vulnerable to the burden of this judgment that weighs on the self-fulfillment that each and every one of us deserves to feel to the greatest extent. I feel that I can speak for all of us when I say that in so much of what we do, think, and feel, we are subconsciously scared of being “wrong” based on the expectations of society. But I have come to the realization that although these expectations and judgments are what’s wrong, they are inevitably programmed in us in the smallest ways.
Recently, as I have grown, I have put myself in a position of change so I’m able to leave the most positive impact possible on those around me. Through my efforts of change, I have had to acknowledge that I have made mistakes and in order to help anyone I can, I need to start by helping myself. Through a lot of self-reflection, I’ve realized that helping myself doesn’t mean self-hate or criticism, or an obsessive regret of things I’ve said and done that I wish I didn’t. Helping myself means acknowledging my mistakes and embracing them as the imperfections that make me as human as anybody reading this. Helping myself means taking that awareness and fueling it into motivation to do better and be better.
However, to be not only better but the best version of yourself, it’s important to distinguish the difference between toxic change and positive change. I believe toxic change is changing our morals, behaviors, and beliefs to subconsciously try to fit into a standard of acceptance even if it means reconstructing ourselves into someone completely different. As we grow up surrounded by judgment, I’ve seen it reflecting in not only myself, but the people I love. Through this, I’ve learned that toxic change only leads to emptiness, and the only way to make change valuable is to change in a way that allows growth, and not the opposite of minimizing our potential.
I look at positive change essentially as an outlet to go from good to great. As humans that grow every day, change is inevitable, which is something that we should appreciate and embrace. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to progress as a person at any time, and the first step to achieving this is allowing ourselves to rise above our mistakes and regrets to make room within ourselves to flourish. Like a flower, we simply can’t be stuck in the same pot for our entire lives. We grow. But we can only grow if we get rid of the weeds around us and allow ourselves to replace them with space for change.
If this serves you in only one way, I hope it serves as a reminder that change is the only way to grow, but only if we are doing so in light of leaving impacts of love, hope, and kindness on not only those around us, but ourselves as well. Even though the judgment around us feels inescapable, we can change these toxic environments for the better by challenging ourselves. I challenge you to join me in forgiving. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you feel you have made, and forgive others for their imperfections, so we can each uplift one another and thrive as the best versions of ourselves!