Is it really possible for someone to change? Absolutely! But they are not going to change because we want them to. While most people know this to be so, it doesn’t stop them from trying to force the change anyway.
Changing others used to be my mission in life. I used to think it so important that people be/do/act/think as I wanted them to.
Many of my relationships were with those that I felt I could mold into who I thought they should be. There was a turning point; however, and it came at the hands of a dear friend.
He was a recovering addict…14 years clean; however, he was still struggling to establish himself career-wise and could not figure out what path he wanted to take. In my mind, he was taking far too long to establish himself. He was juggling a full-time and part-time job, but barely getting by. I was constantly telling him that he needed to step up his game…that he needed to get his money right and I would be the one to help him do so.
He was good at sales and I (yes I) decided that he should work in real estate. I went as far as to find a mentor for him and enroll him in real estate classes. Although his heart wasn’t really in it, he decided to give it a try. Eventually, the pressure of it all became too much and he feel into a deep state of depression. His therapist feared that this may ultimately send in on a tailspin back to drug use. The guilt of began to consume me.
I removed myself from the situation and prayed that he would be well. But I also acknowledged that it was not only he who had some things to overcome. I had to figure out some things also.
I realized that a part of the reason I had been drawn to this relationship and many others was because helping them gave me a sense of control. In this case, I didn’t see my friend as being genuinely strong nor did I trust him to figure out things on his own. What I also realized is that pushing him to make something work for him that truly was not meant for him caused him a tremendous amount of suffering.
We must stop trying to force others to change. We need to embrace who it is we see in the moment and accept them as they are. If it is THEIR desire to change and we are able to help them in some way, then and only then should we involve ourselves.
We are not here to fix or to change each other. Sometimes the best thing we can do for another is to let go and trust them to handle their journey on their own.