What do you do when you know you’ve changed but the people in your life who used to be close to you don’t know you anymore? Furthermore, they don’t know you but they also don’t realize they don’t know you. You want to scream at them and make them see but they are blind and deaf, it seems. Then they act in the same way they’ve acted your whole life and you realize you are suffocated by their way of doing things. This has happened to me recently and it is a most anxiety-ridden state of being. So how do you embrace and love the person you have become despite the people that are supposed to be close to you not even noticing the change?

1. Separate yourself from the people who judge you or do not embrace who you’ve become (assuming what you are doing is healthy and not hurting others). I live in LA and was at home and felt a lot of anxiety being around these people. Once I came back to LA, to my apartment that I love, I at once felt my muscles relax and was able to breathe again.

2. Have grace. Accept that people grow apart and that the people whom you are used to always understanding you may not in the future, or may not now. This is okay. Do not judge them or think yourself better than them. They probably love you very much but are staying the same as you are evolving. Love them back. Everyone changes at different times. This does not make you better or worse than anyone and visa versa.

3. Return to your breath. Any situation that pumps stress hormones into our bodies must be dealt with. Too much cortisol (the main stress hormone in our body), as we all know, has negative effects on our bodies and in my opinion, souls. Returning to your breath when you are frustrated, angry, or stressed can help a lot. Many times for me, returning to my breath gets me through until I can go to yoga or go for a run.

4. Marvel at the possibilities for learning all around you. Understand that everyone will not always understand you and furthermore, many people won’t even try. This is okay! “Seek not to be understood as to understand” an old song I learned when I was a kid at church (a place of my past) describes this aptly. Go forth into the world accepting yourself (if self-acceptance is difficult for you I suggest reading Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach), forgiving those who don’t, and moving on.

5. Meditate! Forgiveness and clearing your heart and mind of negative emotions only open up space for love, a divine gift, and something we are meant to experience in the world. When you accept the negative emotions that you are feeling, you can move on from them. Not that you will stop feeling these things! That is not meditation’s purpose. Instead, you will acknowledge that you feel them, see why you feel that way, and move on.

Namaste, Jenna

photo courtesy of h.koppdelaney