People change over time. Often this is a result of relationships that affect them, unusual events in their lives, or accumulated life experience. Sometimes I will be talking with a couple and one of them will say to the other: “You’ve changed!” This can be an accusation or an appreciation. But often it comes with some sense of surprise. Even though we know, really, nothing stays the same.
People evolve. They think about things. They have loses. They have gains. They succeed at overcoming challenges, expected and unexpected. Or they fail at something that matters to them. They get clearer about who they want to be and they try to move toward that vision. They grow to love people and they outgrow other people. They change professions, locations, and whole identities.
With acceptance of the inevitability of change, and equanimity in the face of unfolding reality, we can remain curious, even about people whom we believe we know well. We can allow the space in a relationship to discover new versions of ourselves and for our friends and families to discover and create new versions of themselves.
Our own desires for the people we know to be predictable, emotionally reliable, and transparent can bind us in ways that prevent growth that could happen–for them and for us. We don’t even know what we are missing when we create limits. We operate out of a fear of loss, and we believe we are seeking reassurance or insurance.
But each living being has a will toward movement and growth, however that is imaginable and possible. We can be an obstacle or a facilitator. There is no standing still. And here we stop and reflect on who we want to be in our lives and in the lives of other people–our own ideals for ourselves–and how we can move toward those ideals, gradually becoming more like the person we want to be. How do we want to relate to the people we care about? What kind of impact do we wish to have in their own experience? What is our ideal about being a friend or partner? Because whatever we do, people change. They do and we do.