Change is a certainty in life, we can always rely on this! But what about personal change?
Well there is a saying that goes something like this, 'You cannot help those that will not help themselves'. So personal change, personal growth or whatever you want to call it, has to be down to the individual. I guess the idea is that all the changes we make (and stick to) are born out of our own desire to change and not because we think we should for someone/something else or because someone/something else is pushing us into it. Admittedly I think another person/situation can be instrumental in us wanting to change, their desires, thoughts, needs and wants can guide us in our decision. However to truly change, to alter your life or who you are, that has to come from within. So regardless of what other people may think or say or want, unless you think, express and want all those things too then you are (it seems) eventually doomed to fail and revert back to past behaviour.
So what happens when a person really does change, when this change comes from a place of self-awareness and an understanding of who/what they want to be? Well it should be acknowledged of course! Society, I think sometimes has a tendency when a person makes a big, life altering change to look around for someone else to congratulate. And as I said before I believe other people can be instrumental in us wanting to change, they can guide us and support us but ultimately the responsibility falls to us and thus so should the praise too. To heap praise onto others or to make them responsible for change in another, is to take away from that person what it is they have achieved. Personal change can be a challenge full of endurance, introspection, self-sacrifice and at times even self-deprivation or humbling of the spirit. It is a battle of wills, between the old and the new, the DEVIL you know and the ANGEL you don't.
So when a person has made this huge change, rather than looking to the people around them, look to them. Congratulate them. Because to do so is to validate everything they have fought, struggled and strived for. In heaping praise on others, for another's choice, is to undermine everything they have done. And yes we are all adults but we all still need validation from time to time and especially from the people that matter the most to us, our loved ones. Besides the thanks and gratitude for support should come from the person who has received it, not from the people around them.