Day 45 – Don’t Try to Change Me

11 Aug

Yesterday, someone posted this on twitter, and it looked interesting, so I explored the link: 88 Important Truths I’ve Learned About Life. I’m not sure there was anything there I particularly disagreed with, but there were a lot of ‘truths’ that I thought could use some explaining or further discussion. These would be fantastic writing prompts for my students. Many of these ‘truths’ resound with us because we have life experience and we’ve learned them along the way, perhaps without even realizing it. I might even go so far as saying that if you disagree with one of these ‘truths’, perhaps it’s just a truth about life that you haven’t experienced yet, so you don’t realize how true it is.

But wait, if these would make great writing prompts for my students, why not for me? So, here we go. Where else is there to start but with number one: You can’t change other people, and it’s rude to try.

This was a hard lesson for me. It took a marriage failure for me to truly understand that you cannot change someone else. I went into the relationship with the idea that he was young and would change. Even more foolishly, I thought that our love would be the cure. If you’re in a similar situation, please learn from my mistakes. If you’re in a relationship and you’re not yet married and you think that time will bring maturity or that you can be strong enough for both of you, think again. If you can’t be happy to live forever with your significant other exactly the way they are right now,  then you should seriously consider the authenticity of the relationship. Hell, I really think you should get up and run fast in the opposite direction. But, it doesn’t matter what I think, because experience also tells me that most of the times this is a lesson one must learn ‘the hard way’, through one’s own experience.

While it did take me a long time to learn that you cannot change someone, it has been much more recently that I’ve come to understand that it is in fact rude to try to do so. I used to think that my intentions were pure. I tried to change those closest to me because I knew if they’d only change things could be so much better for them, and everyone around them. I knew if they’d only change they, and I, would be happier. I told myself that I only wanted what was best for those I cared so much about. Now I can look back and see my own ignorance. How narrow minded must one be to think that they have THE answer that everyone else must assimilate to? How rude and ignorant it truly is to try and change someone else.

Having said that, there are some behaviours that I do think need to be changed. If someone is abusive in any way, or suffering from some self-inflicted pain or addiction, these things need to change. I think if we care about another adult who puts themselves or others in harm’s way, it is up to us to lovingly offer our help to that person in whatever way is best given the set of circumstances. It does not mean that we should bear the burden of, or be so ignorant to believe, that we can, or should, try to force them to change.

I have learned that I cannot change anyone else, and not only is it rude to try but it brings self-induced stress that is really not my problem. I will no longer try to change the people I love, but I am in control of me and I can still see a lot that needs changing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: