Sometimes, familial relationships can account for quite a bit of stress in a persons life. In my personal experience, there's been a large amount of guilt at not being able to "fit in" like I perceived everyone else must have been doing. There's also been external pressure from family members to "go along" with what everyone else said was right.
That's all changed and, ironically, it's conjoined with the feeling of a huge weight being lifted off of me. I like this feeling and I'd like to see where it's going to lead me.
I find, the hard thing about dealing with some people (family, friends) who knew you way back when is that they have preconceived notions about who you are based on what they think happened a long time ago (filtered through their own perceptions). So while you've grown and changed, they are still treating you like the snot-faced kid who was shy in school or whatnot. I don't have answer for this...just an observation.
I completely relate to this posting because it's been part of my experience, but I don't think that's anything new. I agree with Stephanie--there can be pressure to conform to this vague idea of who you should be, based on the person you were years ago. When you spend time away from home, it can be difficult to translate the fact that you've actually evolved a lot and deserve to be treated with respect.
Understanding is gradually achieved over the years, I think. Our family members have misconceptions about us but we're also guilty of not allowing them their own interior lives (for example, kids' inability to accept the fact that their parents have a sex life--what's that about?). With patience and acceptance, as well as forgiveness, I've found that most obstacles can be surpassed.
It seems as though the weight has been lifted in more ways than emotionally. I've been noticing a physical health benefit now that my body has caught up with my mind. I haven't weighed myself recently, since I made a personal promise not to do it obsessively, but I am noticing a change in regards to what I can fit in as far as clothes.
I'm also able to walk/run for longer periods of time. Thanks for your comments. :)
*scream* Parents with a sex life?!?!? Nooooooooooooooooooo!
Kidding, just kidding.
To me, every experience is an evolutionary stressor that changes a person. With each experience, a person becomes a little different from what they were before and it's something that should be taken into account. People normally focus on the big things that might happen; a change in careers, the birth or loss of a loved one, or the reaching of a milestone in life but those aren't the only contributions to the full body of what a person is. The little things do their bit of nudging as well, and sometimes they have a more powerful impact over the long term.
If there isn't one now, there should be a meditation taught from an early age regarding treating people as individuals in the here and now rather than the past or future. The future hasn't been determined and a person can hardly be judged based on something that hasn't happened yet. As to the past, people don't always stay in the same groove. Some change and, with the exception of a few people, the past can't really be held up to them as a glaring indictment as to who they might have become in the intervening time between the prior aquaintance and the present.