Avoid Staying Loyal To Old Versions Of Yourself

Mar 09, 2021

Do not stay loyal to an old version of yourself; you are not the same person throughout your life nor should you be. Sometimes people can spend a lot of time feeling guilty and confused at different seasons of their lives, feeling bad about not being as interested in what they used to be interested in, not caring as much about what they used to care about, not wanting to spend time with people that they used to spend time with, and not wanting to do the things they used to do - because they are changing, yet they have not been able to perceive this correctly and provide language for it. 


If you are a growing, flourishing human you will not stand still as a person, you will constantly have reinventions of yourself because you are committed to becoming the best version of you you can possibly be. This means you have to shed the skin as it were of the old version of you, that was good in its time, but it is not good for who you are becoming next.


I think what happens is we do life with people who love the version of you that they have always known. As a result, it gets difficult to reinvent yourself, because the people who have known you the longest are the ones who most resist wanting you to change! This resistance from them can be due to their perceived fear that the next version of you will not give them the same space in your life.


You may know as well as I do, the people that know the version of you that you have been for a long time are the ones that ask “Um, what did you just say there? What was that again that you are doing now? Why are you reading that book? Oh...I have not heard you say that before. Gee, I didn’t know you listened to that kind of podcast” and so this self-improvement that you are involved in becomes a threat to them. Because this self-improvement is changing how you think and how you speak and it is shifting your values around, it is shifting your behavior, your habits, and your time allocation, and it is a threat to people who feel they may be pushed out of the space they have occupied during this current version of you. They do not want you to become another version of you, yet you know internally that you have to adopt this upgraded model of yourself because each version of you has its own sell-by date. 


So when you are seeking new opportunities, new relationships, new ideas, new expressions of life, new things you want to do, it will require you to upgrade you to pull these events off and to be able to do those things well.


It is kind of like being upgraded to first-class on the airline yet keeping an economy mindset. This can happen when people are upgraded to an opportunity they desire in their lives, but then fail in that opportunity, fail in that space, because they brought the old version of them to the new opportunity. And you know as well as I do that getting a new opportunity is not just about a skillset, it is about adapting to the new space, it is about adapting to the new culture. Quite literally, this new opportunity you find yourself in could be a completely new culture, a new city, even a new country.


So, the challenge is not so much about whether I can do the job, but rather can I be the person that is a good fit for this job and role. And the people who can do that the best are the ones that are committed to constantly reinventing themselves. So it becomes vital to not stay somewhere mentally that you left physically a long time ago. If we make the mistake of doing that, if we remain parked mentally and emotionally in a version of us that was 10, 20 years ago, even a year ago, then we find ourselves living in the present with this mixture of who we once were and who we are trying to be and it becomes a mess. 


So, do not stay loyal to an old version of yourself for the sake of anybody; I think the most flourishing, progressive growing people have figured that out. I have committed myself to never stay loyal to an old version of myself. When I left the Air Force I left behind a version of me that had served me well for over three decades, but I had begun to feel like a size 10 foot in a size 9 shoe. I knew the path I desired to follow required big changes from myself in order to grow and develop and flourish and lead my family well. A vast majority of my identity underwent major identity surgery if you will, and there were quite a few good people who did not understand or endorse the changes I chose to embark on. But this decision I made was not democratic - it was not open to a vote. The new version of myself was more compelling to follow rather than remain loyal and comfortable to a current version that no longer fit me.


Some of my reinventions have been rapid, so my not staying loyal has been a constant choice that I have made several times throughout the period even of a year. I have known where I was at, what I desired to become, I have reinvented and I have changed.


These are sometimes small uncouplings, small resignations, and divorces I choose to make from the old version of myself. They are not always massive life shifts; they can be so small, almost imperceptible, and unnoticeable to others but very noticeable to yourself how you are constantly moving on and not remaining static, no matter how good that old version was.


Where have you made the decision to upgrade yourself? Did you experience the tug of the familiar against the calling of the desired new you? Was there resistance to your decision, from coworkers, friends, or loved ones? Even though you may have experienced resistance, maybe even from yourself, are you happy you made the decisions you did to upgrade yourself and experience life on a new level?


Your old version is not who you are anymore. It was wonderful for a time, it served its purpose, but life is not static. Don’t stay loyal to an old version of yourself. 


I hope you enjoyed this and as always, best to you!