A lot of women (and some men too) own clothing that doesn’t fit. We hold onto it out of hopes that one day,some day, when we fit into it. For some of us, it’s our goal and we work towards it little by little until we fit into it.
For me, it was a pair of Cavalli jeans that I ordered on eBay. I had never owned Cavalli jeans and I wasn’t sure about the sizing but figured I would go for it. And when they arrived they were even cuter in person!
But, when I tried to put them on I couldn’t fit the damn things up over my thighs.
Yet I couldn’t seem to sell them or trade them or give them away. So in my closet they sat for two years and occasionally I would pull them out and try them on and they didn’t fit.
Eventually I lost weight and the next time I tried them on they fit and, man, I was so happy when I could wear them. I wore them all the time. I wore them for years until I couldn’t fit them again.
Sometimes we want to do the same with people. We want to hold onto them thinking that one day they’ll change and they’ll fit. But, we can’t change people and here are ten reasons why.
1. They Don’t Need to Change – You Do!
I think this one is huge which is why I’m hitting that first. Sometimes we want to change someone because we feel that they should be doing something different. We project our ideas about who they should be on them and we might be frustrated when they’re not. For example, to this day my dad still thinks I should have gone to law school. In fact, he said this year something about me being a lawyer. No lie. As much as I love and respect my dad, that’s just never going to happen. I don’t need to change.
2. You Can’t Even Keep Your Own New Year’s Resolutions
Have you noticed that every January gyms are packed? People are clogging up the lines at Whole Foods with their new promises for a healthier life. People resolve to do a bunch of things that they almost never do. I know that’s been true for me and I’m sure it’s been true for you too. If you can’t even stick to a positive change in your own life, how astronomically hard do you think it will be to make a change someone else’s?
3. Free Will
We all have free will. We can all do whatever we want. The thing with free will is that we can’t impose ours on someone else. Well, sometimes parents can impose their free will on kids. If they didn’t how would rooms ever get cleaned or teeth brushed? Aside from that, everyone can choose what they want to do. Free will = people can do what they want.
4. People Don’t Change Unless They Want To
This is pretty obvious but it’s one of the harder concepts to grasp. In romantic relationships I’ve thought I could change people. That my love would be enough or that I was so special or so great that someone would change. The reality is that sometimes people will change because they love someone, but the reason that they change is because they want to. Unless someone has a burning desire to change, any change to appease someone else isn’t lasting change.
5. They Have An Addiction
I believe addiction is a disease. It doesn’t matter if it’s drugs, booze, sex. I think it’s a disease that can be treated but I also think it’s not quite that easy. Of course, people only change when they want to (see no. 4) but sometimes it’s not as easy as simply wanting to. Addictions of any kind can be hard to overcome without help and support. Sometimes therapy is needed in order to get to the root of why the addiction started.
6. You Don’t Really Want Someone to Change Unless They Want To
While you may think you want someone to change, the reality is that we don’t want people to change just for us. We want them to change because they want to change. If someone makes changes because we want them to change but isn’t really invested or doesn’t want to change, it’ll just pop up in some other way. Sometimes forcing someone to change can build resentment, or cause the person who made the change to feel bad. We don’t want someone to change to please us if it makes them feel bad, do we?
7. Change Happens On Its Own Time
We are all constantly changing. When I was in elementary school I liked certain things that I don’t like anymore. I love things that I never thought I would love, like avocado and mushrooms. At one point in my life I thought “da club” and the party life was where it was at, and now I don’t. I thought I needed to find a Prince Charming to save me and now I know that I just need an equal partner to navigate life with. We change our fashion, food tastes, hobbies. Change is natural and it happens when it’s supposed to and not a minute before.
8. They’re Too Set In Their Ways to Change
Some times you just can’t change a person because they’re set in their ways. In high school I dyed my hair red. Not a punk rock red but a natural red color. My grandmother hated it. She said she couldn’t wait until I got over my “punk rock” phase. I wasn’t into punk rock and my hair wasn’t even a crazy color, but for her it was “punk rock.” She was set in her ways and although my grandmother was super hip and fashion savvy, the colored hair thing just didn’t jive with her because she was set in her ways.
9. You’re Not Clear On What You Want Them To Change
I’ve seen this a lot with friends. Women will complain that they want their boyfriend or husband to change, but they have a hard time figuring out exactly what they want them to change. “Help around the house more,” or “be more romantic” is very vague. Maybe their partner would be happy to help around the house more if they were given a specific example, like “do the dishes Monday, Wednesday, Friday.” Or the person who wants more romance could ask their partner for a weekly date night and provide examples of dates that they feel are romantic. If you can’t tell someone what you want them to change they’re not going to be able to do it unless they’re a mind-reader in which case they probably knew before you did what you wanted them to change!
10. The World Would Suck If We Could All Change Everyone Else
No, but really, how bad would the world suck if we could all just change everyone else? One of the things that makes us all so amazing and beautiful is that we’re all unique. There is only one me just like there is only one you. If we could just randomly change people at will (and vice versa) then no one would be who they are. We’d all be versions of who other people thought we should be. That would be no bueno.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Ghandi which is, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Rather than looking to change others, the best we can do is work on changing ourselves and the way we react to others. Ironically, when we change ourselves and the way we see and do things and the way we interact with others, they change as well.