We were talking last night about whether people “really” change. I am a firm believer that people can change because I’ve witnessed it. All change, unfortunately, isn’t a positive change. I’ve seen people better themselves and damn near kill themselves.
I had two people in my life (my father and brother) die without changing. One was evil the other way too kind-hearted. One walked over and destroyed people with his selfish ways and the other endured needless pain jumping through hoops for people who didn’t appreciate him. One spun words like a dealer shuffles cards to get what he wanted and the other said words with the care of a poet writing a poem meaning each and every one. One you knew you could never count on (if he was there best believe there would be a price to pay later) and the other you knew if it was in his power, he was there for you.
But I also know there has to be a balance to know when to be stringent in holding someone to their words and realizing they aren’t going to make their goal. When it comes to someone else changing, IMO, it isn’t about them living up to their word(s). It is about whether or not one can deal with the person not changing. People change, if they change, when they are ready. When they are ready to leave the old self behind and emerge as the new one.
My cousin “wanted” to be a lawyer but he couldn’t pass the bar exam. Took the sucker I don’t know how many times. I asked him why he didn’t do what he “really” wanted to do? He swore up and down it was be an attorney. I said okay but thought to myself if he “really” wanted to be an attorney passing the bar would be the least of his worries. Last thing he needed was someone talking about those failed bar exams. He eventually passed the bar…and worked in construction…what he was doing all along. Didn’t ever really do the attorney thing.
I was once told by someone when he doesn’t know what to do he hides. Ironically he was talking about a change I needed to make in my life. He was, in a confrontational but very effective way, bluntly saying how things were. He explained and said one day I would understand everything he was saying but asked when would that day be? When would I figure it out and put it all together? When would I embrace what I already knew? Essentially he asked when would I change? I “changed” that night because he was right, I couldn’t deny he was right, and I had to let my fears and insecurities go (during a time when everything scared the shit out of me due to what I was facing at the time). Simple decisions took mass amounts of thinking back then because my world had turned upside down. Life as I knew it just wasn’t like that anymore. That’s no excuse because I was making bad choices, I knew I was making them, but I was stuck in an awful loop.
But I did change.
And that’s the other side of change. When someone “really” has changed or is sincerely making strides in changing (no half-ass stuff here) and those changes are ignored. Ignored because the people in their lives are so busy holding on to the past they don’t see the present and the possible future. Holding on to the pain and emotions caused during that time instead of letting it go so see how things really are. A lot of people make serious attempts to change and because those attempts are ignored feel like “why bother?” and slide back into the old ways they wanted to change.
Since this is the season for change, make sure when you look at the people in your life you see them as they really are. Not stuck on how you’d like them to be or what they once were.