“I Thought I Could Change Them.”

Does the saying “you can’t change people” ring true? Often times we hope our efforts change the way someone behaves, thinks, or acts in general. This happens a lot not only in intimate relationships, but personal relationships as well. I’ve been there before, hoping my words of encouragement brought someone out of a depressive mood, or stopped them from making bad decisions, or having hope that within my intimate relationships just being of support and playing my role would be enough to keep a man on the straight and narrow. The only thing worse than being in a really bad relationship is being in a relationship that’s only half bad. When things are bad it’s easier to walk away but if you feel like it’s not entirely wrong and that person would be good for you if this or that changed, that’s where it gets difficult. You start falling for their potential self and convincing yourself that everything would be great if they only changed, so what do you do? Try to get them to change.

The truth is, you can’t change people. No matter what you do, what you say, you just can’t. You can influence them yes, it’s possible to make some sort of a difference but when it comes to changing, ultimately that person has to decide that they want to change. There’s no guarantee that because you’re a good man or woman your partner won’t cheat. There’s no guarantee that because you give good advice, your friend or colleague is going to listen. We make our own choices, we make our own decisions, and in a lot of cases there’s nothing you can do or say to change someone or their behavior.

In regards to intimate relationships, there’s nothing you can do to stop your partner from leaving or cheating on you. They have to make a conscious decision to want to be with you and not want to cheat on you, period. You can cook 5 star meals, clean, go to school, work your ass off, have amazing sex, give them unconditional love, be of support, be everything they want in a person, be loyal, the whole 9. It means nothing because ultimately none of that is going to stop them from making their own decisions. Sadly, being a good person and having amazing qualities isn’t going to keep someone, it literally comes down to that person wanting to be loyal and making a decision not to cheat or do you wrong in any way.

One thing that’s important to be aware of is those who try to convince you that they’ve changed, especially if it has the potential to end the relationship. They put on this act, they alter the truth, and manipulate. The best liars are the ones who can look you straight in the eyes while doing it. The best liars are the ones who don’t want to lose what they have. And don’t be naive, people know the consequences and risks of doing wrong but that wont stop them from testing you. And once they see that you’re buying it, it only gets worse. When you accept the bare minimum, that’s the only thing you’ll ever get. It’s like going through your partners phone, reading text messages, their private messages on social media, email, etc. and finding something, just to continuously stay. Now instead of trying to change the behavior you’re unknowingly enabling it, especially it if begins to be a reoccurring issue.

The focus is on intimate relationships because people really have this thought process that they alone, can change a person. You have these posts on social media glorifying women for staying down because their man finally changed after years “Only a special kind of woman can change a man“, come on sis it’s possible in some cases but don’t fall for the hype. And guys stop the bs, after years have passed, she had little to do with that. Yes, he probably finally came to his senses and realized what he had at home but quite frankly he just decided he was tired of entertaining other females, living the street life, etc… You can give someone an ultimatum, threaten to leave, cause a scene, talk things out, give twenty chances, whatever. It still doesn’t guarantee that a person will really change for you, they have to want to change FOR THEM. Some people stick around long enough to see that change manifest but know that it wasn’t you alone who changed them because if you had that power, they would have changed long ago.

You can get down to the bottom of things and figure out the root of the problem if there is one. Some people cheat because they’re unhappy within the relationship and instead of leaving they seek what they’re missing elsewhere, and some people just cheat or do wrong because they can’t help themselves. You know, the “it’s not you, it’s me” way. Quite frankly, when people just want their cake and to eat it too, there’s nothing you can do. Attempting to change a cheater into someone who sincerely wants to stop cheating and is willing to succeed at that goal is slim to none. Then you have those who go “my partner changed my life.” That’s awesome you’re giving them props and they’ve helped you, but you decided to change your life in the end, they just influenced you because no one can make you do anything. I don’t believe you alone can change people because they have to put in the effort to change as well and it’s them who ultimately has to make that decision. So no, it doesn’t take a special kind of woman to change a man. But it takes a special kind of person to be able to influence someone into changing for the better. Sometimes people need that extra push and support while others just have to come around to doing the work on their own. Be aware that sometimes it really isn’t you, but them. There’s something prohibiting them from wanting or being able to change, sometimes it’s just coming to terms with making that decision, and other times people truly need professional help.

You can lead a horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink. People who are engaged in destructive behavior have to be ready to listen and be helped by others. Key word “ready”, in the words of Tao Te Ching, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”. We have to realize that people have to pull themselves out of behaviors alone, with the support of others, but with their own strength. We also need to keep in mind that we never know the purpose of someone’s self-destructive behavior. Believe it or not, some people actually like to suffer and are always looking for situations or surround themselves with people that set them up for “failure” or “suffering” in some way. Some people self-destruct as a cry for help or want to be loved and even when they are given love, they don’t know how to handle it. Trying to change people who aren’t ready to be changed or who simply don’t want to change ruins relationships. Know when to step back, walk away, or insert yourself.

Overall, people will not change until they are ready to. They will not heal until it is time. There is no ultimatum, no threat, no promise that will make them shift their behavior. It has to come from their own will and genuine wanting to change. Nobody has ever changed their mind about something because they were shut down, shut out, humiliated, insulted, threatened, retaliated on, or even corrected. It is an illusion that we’re capable of making change in anyone’s lives but our own. Change is a choice, a self-generated choice. The only person you have full control over, is you.

You can’t change people, you can only love or care for them and sometimes that is enough.

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Thanks for reading, Be Blessed & Stay Humble. As always Choose You Always!

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