Neon sign of the word "change"

Embracing change for personal growth

By X-51 | Miscellaneous Debris | 18 Jan 2020

I'm running a bit late on posting something again, and I'm going to step away from what I planned to post again anyway. This has been a very crazy week, in some ways positive, in some ways negative, but in all ways a chance for me to learn or re-learn something about myself.


Every challenge is an opportunity for growth


Sometimes change can feel like the enemy. Definitely under the influences of depression, and (in my experience) even more so with anxiety.

With routine being a necessary part of handling mental illness you could almost think that the messing up your routine in any way would be detrimental. Definitely the wrong types of change or too drastic a change can be bad for us, such as me moving half way around the world by myself to a place I barely speak the language has definitely been a factor in my anxiety.

But there is also a necessity for change in our lives, to step outside of our comfort zones sometimes. Small doses of chaos are fuel for our brains, and our minds thrive on new and different circumstances which make us think, react, learn, and adapt. But depression, anxiety, and some other mental illnesses often force us to shy away from the types of change that are good for us.

Even beyond mental illness, a certain amount of change is beneficial to us in our everyday lives. Have you ever stopped and wondered just where the last week/month/year disappeared? One of the ways to combat this kind of extreme perception of passing time is to inject change and challenge into our lives. The more sameness you have in your life, the less substance you will perceive in life - the more variety you have in life, the more you perceive there to be substance.


For me personally the necessity to embrace change has recently come up again in my life because I have started trying to date after almost 3 years of being single, and about 10 years in a relationship before that.

For the last 3 months I have been on dating apps, just slowly finding my way around them - the pitfalls and problems with the apps themselves, the different culture and age in which I am now trying to date and, most importantly, how my depression and anxiety are affected by, and affect, my interactions on these apps.


In this case my anxiety was definitely working hard to force me into not succeeding. It sometimes kept me from sending messages to a woman because I perceived her to be far more attractive than I was worthy of, even after they had pressed that "like" button on my profile. For a while it really felt like nothing would come from it and I was just wasting my time - the usual bad feelings that create a cycle of depression, inaction, depression, inaction.

But instead of giving in to it, I worked with what I had - I made myself be receptive to potential changes, considered how I could change to better enable myself to achieve something, and I adapted my approach slightly. In more solid terms in this case I tried to stop being so invested in not messing up and in finding the "right one" immediately, and instead started just working to find "one", whether I messed up or not.

So I started talking to a woman who I probably wouldn't have spoken to otherwise. I honestly didn't really like her profile pictures (yes, that sounds shallow, but on this app you really don't have much more to go off than a small selection of photos and some generic personal info), but she seemed nice enough.


So we planned a date.


Admittedly she asked me out, not the other way around, but I did not say "no". I had done that to someone else in my first week on dating apps due to nerves or anxiety (sometimes it is not so easy to tell the difference) and I definitely knew I messed up that time, but it was part of what led me to not messing up this time.


By the time the date was over I could count myself as having succeeded on five fronts:

First, I acknowledged the need for a change in myself and my situation after analysis and reflection.

Second, I targeted a specific anxiety trigger, which I overcame in small steps and successfully made a change in myself.

Third, I proved to myself I could handle something that part of me was dreading for so long, where my anxiety had truly made the proverbial mountain out of a molehill.

Four, I was forced into handling another potential anxiety trigger in the first few minutes of us meeting - her profile pictures did not do her justice and she was significantly more attractive than I expected. If I had let it, this probably could have destroyed the date. But instead I accepted that this was entirely out of my control, and understood that it really did not change any possible outcome of our time together.

And finally, I think it actually went quite well. Not perfect by any measure, but after our meal she quite easily could have said goodbye and disappeared, but instead we walked around the city for a while and talked.


So regardless of if I ever hear from her again, the date was absolutely a success - a success brought about only by pushing myself a little beyond my comfort zone and accepting the opportunity to grow from a situation.

This is something any one of us is capable of if we just allow small changes in, process them logically instead of emotionally, and grow to embrace what these changes can teach us.




Ok, next time around I will definitely get back to my planned content, hopefully early next week since I have a full weekend planned.

More specifically I will be talking about our perceptions of failure, which oddly enough links in with some of the sentiment of this post anyway!

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Software developer, musician, photographer, traveler, crypto enthusiast

Miscellaneous Debris
Miscellaneous Debris

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