Change for Your Best!

What do you think about the idea of change? This thought was recently introduced in my Toastmasters club. And of course, it got me thinking about the times in my life that I needed to change.

Usually I speak about change during the High Holy Days where we celebrate the beginning of a new Jewish year, and we have a conversation with God about allowing us to enter the new year with new resolutions and some tweaks to our behavior. What I realize is that change doesn’t naturally happen just because time passes. Change happens for two reasons. External change-one that is imposed on us without us wanting it, for example, from our employer. And the second reason is internal change—when we realize that we must change. In both of the cases we have to forage a new reality for ourselves. Wanting it or not, we are presented with new reality.

A friend of mine just called and was emotional about a change that she needs to make in her life. Most of the time, if we think about it, when we decide to make a change, it is because something is not 100% right with the way our life is at present. Otherwise, why would anyone change, right? If we’re happy with the way we are, why change? The word “to change” in Hebrew is very revealing. The word is l’shanot לשנות. And that word shares the same root as the word for a “year”—shanna שנה . What does that mean? It means that every year we are invited to reflect on our habits, our lives, our reality, and analyze what needs to be changed. Have you gone through a change in your life? I bet you did! How did it change you? Why did you go through this change? What did you learn about yourself doing so?

Sometimes, when we go through “the change” it is extremely difficult because the older we get, the harder it is to change who we are and what we do. But just as the path is hard, the reward is greater and more fulfilling! Most of the time, we change when things are not going well in our lives, and we may fear what the future holds for us. I know I have been there many times. What keeps me going is the belief that better things are ahead. Though there may be darkness now, the light is not too distant in the future. All I need is to continue using “my flashlight” (= my immediate actions) and hope for the natural light (=a new reality) to “wash my space with color.”  Think of all the biblical characters who had gone through change and see how it affected them. Avraham, who had to leave everything he knew and go to a new land; Jacob, who had his name changed to Yisrael…and by that changed the course of history; Moses who had to change his journey to fit with God’s message to return to Egypt…Change is inevitable, friends. Make “this change” to be the best you can be!

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