“You’re different. Your not like you used to be anymore… you’ve changed.”
A sentence I started to hear quite often a year or so ago. Mostly from my group of friends I had at the the time. Basically what they meant was, they preferred the ‘old’ me. The one who would go out and get drunk every weekend, who would waste my Sunday hungover in bed and who had no motivation or drive in life. I was so uninspired by everything.
I was a completely different person to who I am now.
At the time however, I found it quite difficult being told that I had ‘changed’. It was an abrasive statement and I always took an insult to it. I had decided to start making positive changes in my life. I wanted to be happier, healthier and goal-driven. I wanted that energy and passion I saw in other people – the love they had for their life and all the possibilities it held. So, after deciding to make these changes it came as quite a shock to hear somebody being unsupportive of my change for self-improvement.
“But, I’m not doing anything wrong?” I would always think. I didn’t become a horrible person nor was I offending these people. I couldn’t help but think, if my friends have a problem with my change then my changes must be bad… right? Was I strange for suddenly wanting a healthier lifestyle?
I have to admit there were times when I considered giving up and going back to how I used to be because of how people were now judging me. “Why are you a fitness freak all of a sudden?” I would hear. Or, “You’re boring” would be thrown at me quite often. Looking back now I wonder why I even gave these people a second of my time. But truth be told, it hurt me. Quite a lot. I’ve always been quite an accepting person of others choices and I found it quite difficult to understand why it was so hard for other’s to accept that I no longer enjoyed getting drunk every weekend. It just no longer appealed to me.
If anything though, the main reason I lost touch with my group of friends was because of this factor. Alcohol. I decided at the beginning of my fitness/healthier lifestyle that I would no longer drink (only on occasion). This was mostly due to personal reasons but also because I didn’t like the person I turned into after a few too many. I no longer wake up the next day cringing about the night before, or immediately text a friend to see if I done anything embarrassing. I wake up with energy ready for a new day day ahead and guess what… I love it. However I learnt that other people – those fond of getting drunk every weekend or having a glass or two a night do not particularly like people who don’t drink. It’s fine if you’re ill or pregnant, but it’s not fine if you are someone who used to drink and has chosen not to. “You’re boring” or “You’re no fun anymore” I would hear quite often. Apparently if you don’t drink alcohol you’re seriously incapable of having a good time. For me though I didn’t think this at all. I was happy with the changes I was making with my life, whether people liked it or not.
Unfortunately, I would love to say that my friends got used to the change and accepted me for who I was, however that was not the case. I lost quite a few friends, sad but true. I found that friends and other acquaintances felt confronted by my personal changes, that they often became quite petty or nasty to me. Of course, the natural reaction was to question myself and my choices but I soon learnt one important thing: You can’t control people’s opinions. I either had to accept their decision of not accepting me or to allow the thoughts of others to control and diminish me. Those people trying to control the choices in your life aren’t really thinking about your best interest. Instead they’re considering themselves and how your changes affects them. I knew there and then that I no longer had the time for people like that.
If there is one thing about friendship I’ve learnt then it’s this: If they only liked you because of how you acted, thought and behaved then they’re unlikely to remain your friend.
So really is the problem that your friends/family have with your new ‘change’ really a bad thing? If it’s for the better and for yourself then no and here’s why:
When you make the decision in life to change or improve yourself, this impact is taken through the circle of those included in your life. For me, I’m changing the way I think, behave and act and this change is also going to interact with those around me. Even those i’ve been interacting with for years on end. Therefore, this means that those people will have to change the way they interact with you. This process is called life.
It happens. It will happen or it probably has already happened. Either way if there is one constant in life then its change. We’re all changing, growing and evolving – every single day. However, for some reason many people cannot accept this notion in life.
So, my advice would be to learn to accept the fact that you’ve lost those kind of people in your life – they wouldn’t have lasted forever if they were only friends with you concerning the likes of your behaviour and such. Instead, focus on the new friends you’ll make through your new interests in life. Because trust me – you will!
I’ve made so many friends through this community, especially Instagram (as strange as it may sound). I can’t tell you what it feels like to now be friends with people who have the same common interests and just get me for who I am. I couldn’t recommend it more than getting yourself involved with a community filled with similar interests. It really is amazing and the motivation you receive daily is incredible!
I’ve definitely learned and grown from the experiences I’ve faced over the past few years and to be honest, I’m grateful. It wouldn’t make me for who I am today (as cringy as that sounds!)
But remember, we all change, and that’s ok! Don’t apologise for changing. Don’t apologise for doing what you love and don’t stop doing what you love.
I hope this has helped a little with anybody whose gone/going through a similar experience. I would love to hear any comments!