I'm grateful that I learned the only person I could change was myself. This hard truth has saved me so much time, energy, and effort over the years.
When I became an adult, most of my relationships were built on wanting to be the reason someone changed. It was almost like I took immense pride in taking on a person's weight—a task that I just couldn't pass up. I often used to put myself in the role of savior in my friendships and romantic relationships. For me, that was an act of love that I now see wasn't very healthy. Doing that led to many unhealthy connections and a lot of frustration. The more I tried to change people, the worse things got.
Many years ago, before I met my husband, I was dating this guy and wanted things to work out with him. Despite the many red flags that emerged during our relationship, I carried the hope that he'd change eventually. His poor behavior and our combined emotional immaturity created a lot of chaos and dysfunction. And even though I was trying so hard, I had to come to the truth that: There is nothing we can or can't do to impact a person who does not want to/isn't ready to change.
We dated on and off for way longer than we should have, and he never evolved. A part of me wanted to do everything right to please him in hopes that he would change for the better and our relationship would improve and last. However, what I realized was that as I was growing, he wasn't. That was the bottom line. And even though I wanted him to grow with me, attempting to force people to change never works.
No matter how much we love someone, there's nothing we can say or do to get them to be better if they aren't ready. Change happens on a personal and introspective level.
Over time, I started to understand that the best gift we can offer someone we care about is to allow them to see how we're changing and growing. We don't have to say a word. Their bearing witness is often enough to get them curious about their own healing, journey, and path.
I'm grateful that I released the idea that I had to be the facilitator of other people's evolution. I do not have to take that burden on.
It's nice to put the weight of pressure down and let go of the stress. My job is to change myself. My job is to stay centered and grounded in my truth. My job is not to force but to accept people for who and where they are in life.
Leading and healing by example is all we can do.
Focusing on our personal growth and emotional development is necessary.
Growing and changing is an act of community care.
I'm grateful that I see that now.
Community Questions (leave a comment):
What does change look like for you?
What are you letting go of as you grow?
What are you grateful to have learned about not trying to change anyone?
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This is the journey I am currently on, accepting people as they are and not trying to make things the way I feel they should be. I see that me constantly trying to control the way others show up in my life has continually caused me pain. My fear of rejection and abandonment are the underlying issues I am working to resolve. I can’t make people change, I can’t make people stay and I can’t make people love me. But I can show up for me 💜
Thank you for this one! When I was younger, I would take someone's unwillingness to change as a personal hit, thinking there was something in me that wasn't enough. Learning that we can't change others has made life much more peaceful 💛