Last week I finally took the plunge and did what I'd been contemplating doing for what feels like forever: I dyed my hair pink. In the past, I was either too lazy or too worried about the repercussions (pink hair at a corporate office? I don't think so!). But last week I got bold and did it. And I'm glad I did. Doing so was not only fun (I now have pink hair!), but it also taught me some valuable lessons about change (especially change of the physical kind).
Over the past few years, I've done a lot of changing as I strive to live a more positive and present life, but something about changing something drastically and immediately, something that people can see, really brought to light some important insights about change -- and the impact of choosing to make a change. Obviously there's a big difference between choosing to make a change and having to make a change. Here are some of the lessons I learned after choosing to make a change:
1. Change can be exciting (and scary). No big news flash here: change is exciting and scary. But dyeing my hair reminded me that doing something I'd always wanted to do (no matter how frivolous or possibly crazy it was) was a lot of fun. Sure, I'd been a little nervous to do it, but after I did, I was excited. I wanted to show everyone. I smiled every time I caught sight of a pink strand out of the corner of my eye. I'm sure the novelty of it will wear off, but for now, the pink-ness makes me happy. And isn't that one of the great things about chosen change? It brings a little bit of excitement into your life, giving you a chance to switch up what's routine and embrace what's new.
2. Not everyone will approve of the change. When my sister and her husband came over to check out my new 'do, they literally started laughing when I opened the door. Not exactly the response you want after you just drastically altered your appearance. My mom, ever the positive one, exclaimed, "Oh! It's so pink!" when she saw my dip-dyed locks. Needless to say, not everyone approved of the change. What matters most in this case is whether or not I approve of the change, but my approval (and the approval of many close friends!) doesn't always counter the Negative Nancys. I've learned (quite quickly!) that not everyone will embrace my changes -- but that's okay. What matters is how I feel about the change.
3. People might treat you differently. So far, I haven't noticed too many curious looks or received many comments, but I did notice one thing: in one of my favorite stores (one that I often felt a little too "mainstream" for), the sales people seemed much more receptive to my new look. Almost every single one of them spoke to me, and I even felt as if they smiled at me a little differently too. Perhaps this experience was in my imagination (or maybe I just felt more comfortable in the store with my new hair), but something felt different about the experience. Either way, making a choice to alter something physically does impact how others see (and possibly treat) you.
4. Change will impact how you feel... Right after I dyed it, washed it, and styled it, I felt differently. Something about the pink made me feel wilder, bolder. I chided myself for feeling this way, telling the mirror, "You're exactly the same person as you were before!" But I couldn't help feeling a little changed somehow. Maybe it wasn't even the color itself, but more the act of doing something I'd always wanted to do, something different, something new. Maybe it was simply the act of initiating a physical change that made me feel more empowered, as if by making a choice to embrace a bold trend, I, too, was somehow made bold. Whatever it was, catching sight of a flash of pink when I walked past a mirror made me feel changed.
5. ... and yet it won't change anything at all. Since I dyed my hair, there's been more than one occasion where I've spotted a wisp of it out of the corner of my eye and thought, "Oh! I have pink hair!" Though my physical appearance has been (temporarily) altered, I haven't changed. I'm still the same me (though, admittedly, I feel a bit wilder), and I think that's one of the most important lessons I've learned since dipping my hair in the dye. Though how you look can impact how you feel, it doesn't necessarily alter the essence of who you are. You can change your hair, your style, your weight -- but, deep down, there's a part of you that always remains the same.
When I first started writing this post, I thought, Is this a silly thing to be writing about? Who but me cares about my new pink hair? But the more I started writing, the more I realized that, trivial as dyeing one's hair might be, when we choose to make a change (physically or otherwise), we're faced with a much different scenario than one we might face if change were simply to befall us. We are responsible for the outcome as well as the repercussions in a way that we might not be otherwise. The lessons I've written about here might be based on my personal pink hair experience, but they can be applied to almost any change we actively choose. Choosing change is a bold move, but it can have wonderful (and, in my case, pink!) results as long as we're positively prepared for the potential outcome.