I’m on the fence here.

How often have you tried to change somebody or have them try to change you? Know how draining that can be?  You can spend a lifetime trying to do this and the only thing that changes is your frustration level (and often whether you stay in the relationship).

I was with a friend yesterday and she was talking about her partner who won’t seem to change a behavior that she’s continually addressed with him.  I suggested to her that maybe he just doesn’t want to change.  And, maybe the more she brings it up, the more he digs in.   When I asked her if she thought he could change, she said, without hesitation – YES!  But yet, two years later … no change.  Why?

Later I thought about that conversation … can people really change?

On one side of the fence, I believe that we all have innate characteristics and traits that make us who we are. And, I believe that the sooner we come to terms with that, the easier it is to change some things on the margins and to find ways to compensate for our shortcomings.

On the other side of the fence, I see people with addictions change their entire lives when they get clean.  I also have seen people who, when they hit rock bottom, find a way to create change in their lives to pick themselves up and move forward in a new and better way.

I guess my real question is, can people change their fundamental personality or just their behavior?  

Sometimes people don’t change because they think they’re “stuck.” But no one is stuck.  Sometimes it’s just that we don’t trust ourselves enough to make a change.  We’re afraid to fail.    Sometimes people don’t change because they don’t want to or haven’t found an internal reason to change.  

One of the biggest challenges for couples (certainly true in my marriage) is learning to live with your partner’s annoying habits rather than trying to change them. Your partner may be the love of your life, but they’re also human. And they (as well as you) have things that might not be the most appealing traits!  Trying to accept may be easier than trying to change them.

Although I’m on the fence here, I’d like to think that we can change personality for the better.  But who knows? I’ve been trying to change some things about me for years and I’m still a work-in-process. 🙂

“You can change only what people know, not what they do.”  Scott Adams

Have a wonderful weekend!

One response to “I’m on the fence here.

  1. depends on the desired change. If that change is blatantly hurtful to other people, then, it’s a fair request to ask for greater sensitivity. If the person thinks it’s “ok” to be hurtful, repetitively, regardless if he/she knows the source of their compulsion, then clearly not ok…agree, however, that the behavior needs to be understood in order to reasonably expect a change.

    For the most part, we can’t or shouldn’t “change people.”….but if there is opportunity for personal growth or shared growth in a relationship, then up to each individual party to change, or exit (:

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