Recent conversations with friends has me pondering the concept of personal change – if it’s possible, how it comes about, when it should happen, if it even should happen, etc. I’m constantly bombarded with people complaining (me included!) about the habits and behaviors of others: “Why does he have to be this way?” “Why can’t she grow up already?” “It’s not that hard to quit!” “Why can’t you just do it the way I said?”
I realized the problem isn’t solely the bad habits and vices of others but the expectation that the behavior has to be corrected in the first place and then done so within a set time frame. You’re approaching it the wrong way from the beginning and setting unrealistic expectations on others. I think before you start to demand change, you should consider the following first:
- Have you looked in the mirror lately? Ever stop to think if the problem is you? No, you’re perfect beings and the whole world is wacky? Sure…. Just don’t project your imperfections onto others as a smoke screen and figure out if your own life needs fixing first. You know, glass houses and stones and all that.
- People are who they are. Either accept them as is or choose to separate yourself from them. People don’t have to bend and twist at your say so. Social chameleons exist, but it’s an art form, my dear. Simply put, you can choose to not associate in the first place.
- Love me even at my worst. If you accepted someone with all their flaws and scars when you first met, who are you to say suddenly it’s not enough? Because if you love them, you must love all of them – even the darkest parts. Because maybe, just maybe that love is all they need. You can be the one to save them, but not everyone wants to be saved (nor are they ready)
- More importantly, not everyone needs to even be saved! That alone could be the root of the problem – thinking you’re some knight on a mission. Maybe I know the road I need to take and it’s a path I must walk alone. Sure, pace behind me a few steps if you really want, but I really need to make this journey on my own.
- You can’t just change a person on a whim, nor should you expect them to change FOR YOU. It took me 30 years to become the person I am and I’m still evolving. I have my fair share of vices – some I’ve overcome (5 years smoke free!) and some I still battle with. But at the end of the day, I’m still me. And I LOVE me! (You should too). That should be enough. I obviously cannot become someone else over night just because you wish I would. And you shouldn’t want me to – that’s a lot of awesomeness to dull.
- Change must come from within and with a desire to do so. Otherwise, old habits and vices find their way home again. This is why I’m against forced rehab and believe relapse is more likely in those cases. Someone needs to recognize their flaws, realize it’s destructive and believe they can modify or overcome it. These are tall mountains to climb here.
- Accept that eventually you may have to let a person go. Not everyone will fit into your life the way you want them to. After walking down that road with them for a while, you just might have to stop walking altogether. Let them go – wish them well and let them go.
- Changes you should make: workout routine, undergarments, sheets, negative attitude, that dated hairstyle (yes, yes I know the poof on the top of my head needs to go!! I’m working on it!), what is considered music these days, that guy who you’ve been “dating on and off for years”.