How You'll Realize People Can Change Just By Looking At Yourself In The Mirror

By Alivia R.
People don't change.

I've been hearing the above statement from others way too often, and I'll admit, I used to agree with it.

For example, if a friend of mine's boyfriend cheated on her, I would console her by saying some of the most common and supportive phrases, such as "once a cheater, always a cheater," and "you deserve better, he will never change."

However, now, after growing up a lot and even dealing with my own experiences of heartbreak and loss, I no longer agree with it. Instead, I believe that people can change, but only if they want to change for themselves.

I have seen change firsthand in myself. Throughout my childhood, I was incredibly shy, self-conscious and unsure of myself. I suffered from extreme anxiety during preschool and part of middle school, to the point where I would start screaming crying every time my mother would drop me off at school.

I also refused to speak in school for the first couple of years. I entered high school with a little more confidence, but still was unsure of myself, shy and body-image-obsessed. I would refuse to eat lunch at school or even eat in front of my then-boyfriend, whom I spent most of my time with, even though I was already borderline underweight.

I cared way too much about what other people thought of me and I made it my mission to get everyone to like and approve of me.

I couldn't be anymore different today; it didn't happen overnight, though. I still remember to this day the exact moment when I decided I wanted to change for myself.

I was pacing around my tiny freshmen dorm room, overthinking absolutely everything that happened that day, as per usual, when I suddenly thought in my head, "Enough is enough."

I didn't want to live my life the way I was living it, and I didn't want to feel the way I was feeling. I had enough and I was determined to change. I picked up my iPhone and Google searched for a counseling center in Boston. I called the first number I could find.

The minute I heard someone pick up, I immediately hung up. I waited another five minutes, gathered up some more courage and called again. This time, I stayed on the line. I talked to the therapist for a while, and then set up an appointment.

I have been in therapy ever since and every session changes and affects me in one way or another.

Each session teaches me how to live life in a better, more fulfilling way. Ever since my first summer in therapy, I began on my journey of self-love and happiness. I am not the person I was in preschool, middle school or high school.

I have changed dramatically and I know that my driving force of change was pain.

Pain of leaving my life behind when I was 5 years old and moving across the world. Pain of not feeling comfortable in my own skin. Pain of being bullied. Pain of self-hatred and anxiety. Pain of insecurity. Pain of unhappiness. Pain of feeling lost. 

Pain changes people.

You might be saying that I changed simply because I grew up and experienced life more. However, it isn't that simple. I actively sought out help in order to fix the negative perception I held about myself.

I wanted to be different and to think differently. If I didn't actively seek out help, I wouldn't have learned how to do so.

So, if you happen to be one of those people who thinks people can't change, stop for a second and think about how much you as a person have changed. Think about how certain friends have changed. Change is enviable; people can change for the worse, but they can also change for the better.