I was always of the opinion that, come what may, you shouldn’t change yourself for anybody. And no one should try to change you. For me, that was always a deal-breaker - to try to fit into someone else’s image of perfect.
Back in 2015, I was going through a rough phase in life. For starters, I was very unsure on the career path I wanted to follow in life, my relationship with my family was a mess and my frustrated, irritable demeanour was even distancing my friends. And to top it all, I knew that I had never been a pessimistic, temperamental and irritable person. I missed the happier times when life was jolly and everything seemed to be on track.
Amidst a tricky time like this, I met him. His name is Harry. He was a lawyer that my family was consulting on a court case and I met him for the first time with my father in his office. Contrary to what I had always thought (stereotypically lawyers had a serious-no-nonsense-let’s-talk attitude), this 30 something man was a happy-go-lucky funny chap. And you’d expect a man of his age and reputation to have certain proud air around him, but nada. Also, you wouldn’t expect a man named Harry to be a lawyer. Yes, my stereotypes were overpowering my senses in that moment.
Since my parents were travelling for a week, I was in direct touch with Harry regarding the case. I used to spend a substantial amount of time at his office discussing the details and understanding how we were going to proceed with it. I would never admit it, but I did actually enjoy being around him. He had such a happy calming vibe and I couldn’t even tell why. Over the course of that week, our conversations unexpectedly crossed the line from being professional to personal. I learnt that he had undergone serious hardships in his life; the loss of a parent, a near-death accident, a career that took 4 years to take-off and so on. Yet he had this ‘live in the moment’ attitude that seemed to grow on me and I found it extremely attractive.
When it was my turn to talk about my life and my past, I reluctantly talked about the negatives, all that was wrong and how I wished it was all different. Instead of consoling me, Harry had a very sharp reaction to it. He told me that the sole reason behind my suffering was that my entire focus was on fear. The fear of not making it big, the fear of not finding love, the fear of losing my friends and the list went on and on. Since I was paying so much attention to all the fears, I was empowering them to take control of myself and my life and consequently moving farther and farther away from being content and fulfilling my desires. He told me that to be happy, I had to change.
Change myself? It was everything I hadn’t believed in and yet, it made complete sense.
His harsh words pierced through me and before I could speak in my defense, I broke into tears. It was true that every person had their own share of hardships and it was their response to it, that ultimately decided the course of their life. So I decided to deviate from my beliefs on changing oneself and made an effort to alter my perspective of life, to live fearlessly. It wasn’t easy, of course. And I don’t think I have aced it yet. But I still try everyday. It is funny what one random conversation can do for you. Things didn’t immediately start falling into place but they gradually did.
I never met Harry again as the case got resolved in our favour sooner than we expected, but he did teach me a valuable lesson on being fearless that will stay with me for life. Thank you Harry for teaching me the age old lesson that change can actually be good.
*Name changed to protect privacy.
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