The Only Person You Can Change

I’m sure we’ve all had someone in our lives whose attitude or actions made us frustrated or annoyed, even angry. It could have been a family member, a loved one, a friend. In fact, it could have been anyone. Possibly even someone you only met once.

They were probably doing or saying something you just couldn’t understand. Possibly even something destructive and not just to themselves. Maybe you couldn’t fathom how someone with an apparently logical and reasonable human mind could seem to rationalise their contradictory attitude or actions. How they could be so blinkered to reality.

It’s easier understood for someone with an addiction. Like an alcoholic for example. They can be keenly aware of the issue they have but that impulse, that drive to drink, seems to override that common sensibility they have where they know what they are doing is harmful, even destructive, not just to them but those around them also, but they just can’t control themselves when it matters the most.

When it is a belief system you might be challenging. That’s something else entirely. Especially if it is a belief that has been ingrained since childhood. Where the person has basically been indoctrinated into thinking a certain way. Firstly by their parents, then their friends, then the society in which they live. I think there is no hope of changing that.

You see whilst it is possible to educate, encourage, influence, even inspire someone. It is impossible to change them. You cannot change the way a person thinks with words or actions. You cannot change a person at all. Change can only come from one place and that’s from within that person.

I had a heated debate with someone this week. I allowed myself to get frustrated at the fact they were completely unwavering in what they believed. Even when presented with a logical argument. It was like the thought that argument presented wasn’t even considered. Like they had their view on the matter and that was that. End of story. The shutters were closed. Elvis hadn’t just left the building. He was on another planet.

In my head I went off on a rant about how that is one of the problems with this world. How people have the ability to completely shut out anything that might make them question who they are, what their belief means to them, what actions they take, and how it affects the people around them.

Then I remembered my soon-to-be ex-wife. All the times she wanted me to change certain aspects of myself. All the times I simply ignored her. Even when I knew she was right. Coincidently all the things I have since changed about myself. By myself.

It made me realise that even though someone might be trying to explain something to us which in our own best interest, to encourage a change, a change for good, that influence is not necessarily going to make it happen.

Change can only come from within despite any efforts you make with that person. They have to want that change. They must seek it out for themselves. They have to have their own reason why such a change is actually what is best for them. No one can do that for someone else.

In reality the only person you can change is yourself. There’s no point butting heads with anyone else trying to prove otherwise. You can debate, or inform, or encourage, all you want. At best they might listen to your words or see the actions you take. They might let some of that sink in or ignore it completely. They quite possibly won’t even give it another moments thought. Their response can range from apathy to ire.

They most certainly won’t make a change at your insistence. If anything that may only reinforce their belief or idea, no matter how antiquated it may seem, especially if it is an idea their entire foundation as a person is based upon.

All you can do is politely put forward your case in a measured way. Getting frustrated doesn’t help, neither does raising your voice. If anything the more energy or forcefulness you put into your delivery the greater the barrier you will encounter. To hope for someone to recognise what may be easily seen for most requires subtlety, a softness in approach, where an idea isn’t forced upon someone but allowed to formulate in their own minds.

Then all you can do is hope that someday that idea will grow into an action. That they will recognise the need for change themselves. And then make that change.



24 thoughts on “The Only Person You Can Change

  1. You always speak the truth. I agree with you. No one can change a person if he or she doesn’t really want that change in themselves. I have faced this too. Thank you for this amazing post. 😊

    1. Thank you Ramyani. You always say such kind words 😊
      Truth is something I always strive for no matter how uncomfortable it may be.
      We can only hope for change in people by leading by example.
      Much love to you and I hope you have a great weekend πŸ™‚

  2. « Change can only come from within despite any efforts you make with that person. They have to want that change. »
    This says it all! But it takes us sometimes a life time to realize this, unfortunately for us and for the people who are struggling with our bas attitude or habits.
    I used to be frustrated like you when I hear others speaking nonsense and spend lot of time speaking to myself: how they can’t see! How! Then I realized it’s all perspectives, they have chosen what suitable for them and I have chosen mine and if I don’t like theirs, I just go away.
    Great share Chris, your words always authentic and straight to the point πŸ‘πŸ˜Š

    1. Thanks Huguette πŸ™‚
      It can be so easy to get worked up…but it’s pointless really. You only make yourself feel worse.
      You’re right. It is all about perspective. Walking away seems like a good solution. No point wasting energy or breath.
      Hope your day is going well πŸ™‚

  3. I can relate to this post so much! Me & hubby are complete opposites so the amount of times we have different views is unbelievable! He’s extremely stubborn so never backs down so I’ve learnt to put my case forward & not try to change his mind… It’s not worth it… 😩

    1. It can be very difficult in those situations. Unfortunately I used to be quite stubborn also so I can understand the difficulty you face. I have also learned that is not always a good thing. Whilst we can’t change people I think it is important to at least listen to the other person especially if they are your partner. I hope your husband is wise enough to do so Suki! Much love to you and your family.

  4. Good afternoon, i stopped to debate with people long time ago, if someone believes, that the ground is flat, just smile and let go, whats okay with me, but they want to know more, all the facts, if they want a change, i will be happy to help. Well written, enjoyed my read, have a productive and positive weekend,πŸ€—πŸŒΈπŸ‘©

    1. Thank you very much. Yes, all we can do is be there with the facts if they want them. If not…that is their problem not ours.
      Glad you enjoyed the post. I hope you have a productive and positive weekend yourself. Much love to you πŸ™‚

      1. Yes, i didπŸ€—. I like to read the articles and stories, which ones comes from real life and real experiences, is always more interesting and feels more real, i have read many articles on word press, but some of them was really dry, i still appreciate it of course, because people took their time, but i believe we all have our preferences, i was reading yours from the first day i found you here, but sadly my comments were taking a nap in your spam box, i thought you didn’t liked them and deleted, so is stopped writing the while😁

      2. I am flattered that you have been reading my words 😊 The fact your comments were sitting in my spam box is still a little cause of embarrassment for myself. I’m really sorry about that as I like to be respectful and reply to anyone who has taken the time to comment. I do check it on occasion now just in case πŸ™‚
        You have some very interesting and real posts yourself. I think, like yourself, that some are a bit more engaging when based on real life and real experiences. You can feel it through the writing.
        I do love the variety of information and experiences that are out there. They can be so interesting.
        Pardon my ignorance but is ilonapulianauskaite your full name? I like to be a bit more personal when talking with someone and with you I have been purposely not saying it in case I was wrong ☺

      3. My name is iLona, Pulianauskaite is my family name, have nothing to hide, so i just go real, i believe you are nor Porter are you?😁 about spam box, i think when i started my blog i was just commenting everyone everywhere, i have read, that if you write a lot of comments in short time, the program can put you in spam box automatically, i have contacted word press about it, so they explained me the situation very wellπŸ™‚

      4. Ah very good. Thank you! 😊 My name is Chris. Porter is my family name. The J part is from my middle name πŸ™‚
        Well not to worry. I’ll keep checking my spam in case you end up back in there.
        Hope you are having a lovely night πŸ™‚
        I must go. Bedtime for my boy.
        Goodnight Ilona. Talk soon πŸ™‚

      5. Nice to meet you Chris🀝, goodnight guysπŸŒ›πŸ€—i checked you out a bit, i know you are a single father and i believe you are doing wellπŸ™πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘¦

      6. Nice to meet you too 😊
        I hope it’s as beautiful a morning where you are as it is here 😎
        Oh I appreciate you said goodnight to my son as well. I like people who do that 😊

  5. Hello this is kind of of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

    1. Hi. Sorry for the late reply. I’m fairly new to blogging myself and would love to help in anyway I can. However I have no experience with what you have asked. I even had to google WYSIWYG editors to find out what that was. I just know that this platform (WordPress) has a lot of that type of thing build in. Personally I have never done any coding on this site. I have just used templates and availed of the options provided.
      Sorry I can’t be much help. Best of luck with your blog!

  6. I have to point out my appreciation for your kindness for people that actually need help with in this concept. Your very own commitment to getting the message all through has been unbelievably interesting and has constantly permitted most people much like me to get to their aims. Your new helpful key points indicates this much to me and especially to my colleagues. Thanks a lot; from all of us.

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