I was thinking the other day, — always a dangerous event — and my mind started wandering towards how it can be hard for a preacher to lead a church in their hometown.
I’ve never asked any of the friends that are pastors, but maybe I should. My best guess behind that reason can be that some people will never see someone as they are now and what they’ve become, only what they remember them to be.
People can be guilty of doing that regardless of your profession though, it’s not just limited to preachers. There’s a tendency to pigeonhole people into those certain roles they had that we remember.
The wild child.
All of those labels that we’re given when we’re young, foolish, and most importantly, still finding our way in this world.
Those labels can stay with you, no matter what you do to overcome them.
We get them from our families, we get them in school, and we get them from our friends.
And sometimes, we let those labels that others put on us become what we believe.
Those words only serve as a cage of sorts, to keep us limited in our abilities and possibilities.
No matter what we do, we find it’s hard to shed those labels that have been stuck on us. We can try to better ourselves, go to school, change our habits and lifestyle, but some people refuse to acknowledge it.
What’s so upsetting is it’s usually those closest to us that do this.
For some people, their family can have a hard time recognizing they’re different people, choosing to continue to see them as the mistakes they made in the past.
Or keeping them stuck in the ‘baby’ role and never seeing them as a capable adult, able to make decisions or take on responsibilities.
Some people don’t want to see you grow, because it will make them have to change how they see you, and they don’t want to admit you’ve changed. They want to keep you in that small space because they don’t want to think you’ve changed, because they want to continue to think they are better than you.
This truth is something I’ve encountered with someone I once considered to be a friend, especially when it comes to my career. Now, I am the first to admit I have had lots of jobs over my lifetime, so I can see how that may lead people to think I don’t have a career path, but I do.
I’ve never been one to care about what my job title was, and am the first to admit my resume has a lot of variety on it. I’ve job hopped over the years for either more money or more time with my child.
But, I realized when I turned 40, I needed to go back to grad school so I could maybe have both. I worked my tater off, earning my master’s and then going into my doctorate program.
Never once did this ‘friend’ acknowledge what I had achieved or what I was trying to do.
She never once said congratulations or asked what my goals were, maybe because she didn’t care or think I would ever do anything with my life.
Then one day, it hit me.
This person that I had once thought of as a dear friend was not recognizing anything I had done or accomplished along the course of our friendship.
She wanted to continue to be elevated above me. In her mind, I would continue to putter along, from one job to another, and she could maybe pity me for my lack of direction and consistency.
It hurt, it stung.
Even more so, because I had always cheered for her and celebrated her achievements. But it taught me a very important lesson and gave me the opportunity to see a bitter truth.
There will always be people who refuse to look for your growth. Who don’t want to see you do better in any aspect of your life, not so much out of jealousy, although that is sometimes it, but more so because it changes their perspective of you. And that terrifies them. If you change, they may have to change, too.
We’re not meant to stay the same; we’re supposed to change, evolve, and improve ourselves. The fact that we do should be welcomed by those we love, who are supposed to love us.
Surround yourself with those who celebrate you, and clap when you win, and especially when you get back up after you fail. And go where the changes and growth you make is respected and honored, because that’s the very least you deserve.
Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist residing in the North Georgia Mountains among the bears, deer, and possibly Sasquatch. You can connect with her on Facebook at Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Humor, and Deep-Fried Wisdom. Her recently published book, ‘Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Wisdom, and Deep-Fried Humor’ is available in paperback and Kindle download on Amazon.