Embracing change

30 April 2015

Most women will not admit to this, but a large number of us have at one point been in, or still are in a toxic relationship. It’s not that you love the toxicity of the situation you are in, but rather that you hold on too tightly to the remnants of what the relationship used to be, and the idea of starting over is too frightening.

The idea of change cripples. It’s the uncertainty of what the change might bring and whether you will be able to live with it that scares a lot of people.

What if you fail? What if you are ill equipped for the new journey that you want to embark on? What if the pastures on the other side are actually not greener?

But most importantly, it’s the question of loyalty. Yes, change is intertwined with loyalty because it involves leaving the old for the new, so is that a sign of disloyalty? Where do your loyalties lie; to yourself or the other party that is involved, your toxic “situationship”?

While I often think of change, it has always been a problem for tomorrow. I have put off dealing with my anxieties of change until I found myself in tomorrow.
I was desperately in need of escaping a toxic “situationship” but unable to do it, the idea was so unbearable I found myself battling a severe case of insomnia and hypertension.

My situation had become part of who I was, my identity, the glass of milk I use to wash down a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, my pineapple popsicle on a hot summer afternoon, so how could I walk away from that?

After extensive soul searching I was faced with two questions: 1.Where do my loyalties lie? 2. What am I willing to sacrifice to be happy?

I soon realised that it was not about pitting two external forces against each other, but it was whether I was loyal to myself or to my “situationship.”

Once I answered that, my second question was answered and my decision became as clear as day. I chose myself, nothing and no one could ever come before that.

Just because you put someone else above yourself, doesn’t mean that they will return the favour. We live in a world where people are willing to sell their own mothers for 99c and a pack of gum if it meant they would get ahead in life.

If your disloyalty comes at the expense of being loyal to yourself, then so be it. Embrace change unapologetically.

Make peace with the fact that the road ahead will be a bumpy one, you might fumble and fall on your face, but you can always pick yourself up.

If the fear of failure is what is keeping you back from making a necessary change in your life, remember that every failure is a lesson learnt.

It will equip you with the necessary tools to make the success of the next change you will need to make in your life; you will have learnt what mistakes never to repeat.

There will always be someone trying to talk you down from the ledge. They will tell you not to take that leap of faith because you will crash and burn.

But take the leap either way. You might just find that your wings are bigger and stronger than you ever imagined and you will soar to greater heights.

If you are contemplating change, you will need a support system in place to help you carry on when you feel that you have no more fight left in you.

I had a sit down with my support system, explored all the avenues, discussed what success or failure would mean and came up with various contingency plans.

There is nothing that makes me feel emboldened like knowing I have people in my corner, rooting for me, people willing to stand by me even if I get knocked out in the first round of the fight.

It took some time, but I have made peace with change. Change is good, it is necessary for our growth in all areas of life. This is how we live and learn, through change.

Keep in mind, if your “situationship” was worth all the trouble in the first place, you would never have considered change.
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The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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