More likely than not, you want to change them for the wrong reasons — selfish reasons.
I don’t care about most people. I don’t care about how ridiculous some of their beliefs or views of the world are.
I don’t care about how dumb most people’s actions are, or why most people never bother to give much logical thought to anything at all.
It used to bother me — a lot. But I got over it as soon as I accepted that changing all these people isn’t in my power.
Instead, I just let things slide in order to avoid conversations that I don’t wish to have.
Yet, there are some people — those closest to me — who I almost feel a need to change. We all have at least one or two individuals in our lives we wish we could “fix”; they are individuals we wish we could improve and help. The problem is that you’ll never be able to change them.
You’ll never be able to change anybody. Anybody other than yourself, that is.
1. Although many will argue otherwise, people can change.
In fact, we all change all the time. The stagnancy we think we experience is only an illusion. However, guiding that change in the desired direction is another story entirely. As living things, we change regardless of whether or not we wish to.
With every experience, every thought, every emotion, we become — if only slightly — different people. The change in our lives is an unstoppable force. It is, however, redirectable.
With enough focus, courage and strength, we can guide the changes in our lives anyway we wish. Creating such desired change in your life isn’t easy. Guiding someone else’s changes in a way that you see fit is basically impossible.
2. The way people see themselves is different from the way you see them.
No matter how good you are at reading people, no matter how well you know someone, or how long you’ve known them, you can never know exactly what it means to be them. You just can’t. You can guess.
You maybe can even somewhat imagine. But you will never know someone completely.
Now, the problem is that you are trying to change a person who doesn’t even exist. Changing a person on a deep level requires finesse — you need to understand all the details, all the bits and pieces that make a person the person he or she is.
Unfortunately, that knowledge is forever out of your reach.
3. More likely than not, you want to change them for the wrong reasons — selfish reasons.
Be honest… you’re not wishing to change this person because you believe that he or she needs to change for his or her own sake. Sure, the changes you have in mind may be beneficial to them, but at the end of the day, you want them to change so that it makes you happier.
Assuming this is someone close to you, you must feel that changing their lives will better your own. Of course, some people genuinely want people to change for their own good.
Unfortunately, most people won’t see it as such. Most people, when told they need to change, feel attacked.
Sure, you may have their wellbeing in mind, but they probably see you as being selfish and haughty.
4. Few people want to change.
Most people are happy — not with their lives, but happy with not going through all the trouble of making changes. Making changes takes effort. It takes work.
It takes energy and focus. It takes a whole lot of things we don’t want to do.
Humans don’t like to exert themselves. We like to be comfortable and relaxed. Change agitates us, and we end up dreading it. Most people will avoid creating change for the better as long as they can remain comfortable.
5. Those who do want to change don’t want to be changed.
People like to be the supreme rulers, the decision-makers, of their own lives — and each and every person ought to be.
People don’t want someone else to come in and tell them how to live their lives, how to change their lives and how they are currently screwing up their lives. Nobody wants to hear that.
Nobody wants someone else butting in and trying to change us according to his or her design. We all feel that we, ourselves, should be the designers of our lives. Even if we end up worse off, we feel a sort of pride for doing it on our own.
People almost always want to change their lives. Yet, most end up either never bothering or simply avoiding doing so out of spite for those closest to them trying to change them. It might be silly, but it is what it is.
6. Creating significant change isn’t easy.
In fact, it’s one of the most difficult and uncomfortable things an individual can do in his or her life. What few people seem to understand is that creating change requires changing your perception of the world around you.
You have to see the world differently in order for a change in your actions to make logical sense. Changing your perception isn’t like flicking a switch.
It’s more like chiseling away at a stone in order to reveal the beauty within. You’ll need to work slowly, patiently and meticulously — it’s a very time-and-energy consuming process.
7. Because we can change, we can change back.
If we don’t maintain the changes we’ve created, then were likely to regress to a lesser, and unwanted, version of ourselves. If you manage to keep the changes for long enough, they can eventually become second nature.
It takes years for us to adjust our comfort levels in such a way.
That’s why the process is so tricky… even after you’ve created the changed you wished to see, the battle isn’t over. Most people forget that and end up losing all their progress.
8. No one changes for the sake of changing — everyone needs a reason.
I understand that you have a reason, and I’m sure you think it’s an excellent reason at that. But guess who’s more than likely disagrees with your reasons or doesn’t find them to be reason enough? Yup, the one individual that needs a reason.
You’ll never be able to change someone the way you wish because it isn’t your decision to make. Your reasons don’t really count — at least not enough to motivate that person into creating the desired change.
The best thing you can do if you want to help someone you care about is to help them find their reason.
9. The only way people can really change is if they themselves decide to do so.
You can’t change for them. You can’t force them or convince them to do anything they don’t believe they need to do because it just won’t work.
I’ll let you in on a little secret, one that you may not be especially happy to hear: Creating significant change requires significant pain. It requires significant struggle.
It requires changing you on the deepest of levels; the only way to do that is for you to collect your battle scars. Only the experiences that make you feel more alive than you’re regularly accustomed to remain with you for long enough for you to make permanent changes in your life.
We never feel more alive than when we are in pain. Our bodies are designed in such a way as to throw our senses into hyperdrive when we are being threatened or feel hurt.
This means that in order for someone to find a reason to make changes, they have to have felt tremendous pain — pain they believe they can comfort only by making the necessary changes.
Thankfully, those changes are likely to be painful themselves. Which means that just trying to change will change you. Hopefully, for the better.
by Paul Hudson
This post originally appeared at Elite Daily. Reprinted with permission.
A young writer, philosopher, and entrepreneur, Paul Hudson (@MrPaulHudson) has been writing for Elite Daily nearly since the start. He primarily addresses the successes and downfalls of love and life.
Photo: Antoine K/Flickr