By Cameron Siefkes
It happens when summer turns to fall. We receive it from a cashier. We do it every morning. Sometimes it is the hardest act to complete. I’m talking about change.
Change can be so many different things. I always hear people say they are ready for a change of scenery or want to change their diet and exercise. I want to share my personal experience with a deeper kind of change.
I have heard for my entire life that change is good, but I never wanted to believe it. I am a creature of habit and was content to stay the same for the rest of my life. Not only was I determined to never change, but I didn’t want my family or friends to either.
That attitude quickly went away after this semester.
I was asked in one of my classes to look at myself and the way I was communicating with others. Then I had to make an effort to improve on certain aspects about myself. What I learned was improving on those things ultimately has led me to change.
I decided my first task was to work on my self-confidence. It begins from the moment I get out of bed. I try not to think about the million things I have to do. Positivity is the key. I thought I sounded crazy the first couple of times, but it really works. When I need a boost of confidence, I look in the mirror and say something good about myself. Believing in yourself, as corny as it sounds, will get you a long way.
My next improvement was to start disclosing my feeling to others. If you can see my face, chances are you know how I’m feeling. My facial expressions tell it all, but I would never tell you. Ask me if I was okay and my answer was usually, “I’m fine,” even if I’m not. I was also the queen of saying “I don’t care.” But I did. I have worked on never using those sayings and being truly honest with people about how I feel in situations.
The most difficult of all was to try and become more assertive. I’ve always been afraid of losing people. I was constantly monitoring everything I was saying or doing for the fear I would make someone angry or drive someone away. However, in doing so, no one was ever hearing my thoughts or opinions. I wasn’t staying true to myself.
Now I’m saying things I would have never dreamt of saying. I’ve made decisions which have been difficult. I’ve stepped up in my leadership positions. I’ve improved on being more assertive. I still have a long way to go, but it has changed me.
Finally, I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that people in my life are changing. Those changes have meant either ending a relationship with someone or strengthening one.
Letting other people change and letting them go is a concept I have yet to grasp but am committed to changing.
Now I’m heading into my final semester a different person. I look back to my freshman year and remember who I was. The Cameron from four years ago is still here, but with a few improvements. I’ve changed.
So, I submit this idea to you in the hopes that you will be willing to make a change. You may have all the confidence in the world. Sharing your feelings may be a piece of cake. Assertive might be your middle name. But surely there is something about yourself you are willing to change. If you aren’t ready, at least be able to accept the idea of others around you changing.
Trust me, I know it’s difficult. We get comfortable and stuck in the same routines and roles. Not only do we put ourselves in those roles, but we place other people there as well. We expect them to stay the same forever.
Don’t be like I was, and if you are, it’s okay. Just remember, change is scary, but it’s good.
Cameron Siefkes is a senior majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.