Change is first and foremost internal, not external.
Herein lies both the bright side of change and the dark side, or the heaven and hell if you will.
The fact that change is first internal means that you do not need to rely on external factors to change before you can change. By making a decision, to modify your internal processes of focus, words and the way you use your body, you can make a change in an instant.
What we need to be aware of though is that because you make the change internally does not mean it has yet happened externally. When you are surrounded by people, at home, at work or elsewhere there is an amazing beauty in that you can mirror each. Acknowledge each other by respondig to each other so that you know you exist and have meaning.
However, each and every one of us has a past, a present and a future. The way these interact is that we move from our history through the present moment into the future.
So, you make a choice to change in the present. You have a history that you are now enough fed up with that you desire a change. Perhaps you also associate your potential future if you were to continue with your old behavior with so much pain that this causes you to decide to change.
Whatever the reason, you look back at your history and then make a change in the moment with the intention of changing your potential future to a more rewarding and pleasant one. This is all good if it were that your life was only an internal process. In a sense maybe it is, the quality of our life is not created by the events that occur in it, but rather by the meaning, internal process, that we give those events.
But humor me for a moment and lets face it, most likely if you are not a hermit living in a distant cave your life will also consist of a major external component.
So with your new desicion to change you go out and meet your colleagues, friends and/or family. They however, have a history also, a history of your relationship with them where they have experienced your old behavior and which is most definitely influencing how they perceive you in the given moment.
When you come along with your wonderful new decision to change, to move away from your old story and instead script a new story of your life, your fellow human beings might still be living your old script or story so to speak. They may treat you like your old you, they may even impose your old story on you by reminding you of what can of person they perceive you as, i.e your old story you, not the bright shiny one you wish to see.
This may cause pain. It sure has a times for me. I have had behaviors that have had negative effects on my relationship and I decide to change those. However I was reminded several times by people in my surroundings about my old me. They would talk about how many people I hurt or how often I ended up in conflicts with people.
And the most painful part about this reception by people in my surroundings was that they often came when I felt I had had a victory. I remember especially one time where I had stayed calmed in the interaction with another person who was clearly upset, even emotional, and had a different view than me.
I was proud of myself for not loosing my temper like I would in my own story, only to in the next conversation be reminded by my wife that half of our neighbors thought I was an asshole, or something along those lines. To say the least I was deflated in that moment, clearly tempted to retreat, to go back to my old me where I knew what to expect at least, where in a sense I felt more safe.
What can be learned from this? Well, one of my teachers, Anthony Robbins, says that every time you set a goal an opponent will arise. In other words your resolve will be tested. In this case we could translate that to; every time you decide to change an internal process, an external opponent will arise. Equally ready to test your resolve.
How do we handle this? I think a major part is just the awareness. That even though you have changed in the moment, how you relate your past and what this specific part of the story of your life should mean, others may still be so influenced by the old story that they will not initially embrace your change as a great change for the better. As you probably most like feel that it is or should be.
So hang in there, your greatest challenges I believe are in many ways your greatest gift if you choose to stick around long enough for them to transform. Remember that change happens in two realms. It is decided internally, but need to be manifested externally.
And in the external manifestation you will need to convince your surroundings that you mean business when you are rewriting the story of your life by being fully in the moment with all of you and fully embracing the new future that lies beyond that moment.