You Cannot Change People

They say that people can’t change, but I disagree. People change all the time.

People grow and develop. People learn new things and change their minds and take on new and better habits. People apologize for their own wrong-doings and try to make amends. People change their entire lives and use their mistakes to help other people going through the same thing.

Change isn’t just possible; it’s common. It’s a daily occurrence that comes for us multiple times in our lives.

But what isn’t always possible is changing someone else.

Sometimes, the people we care about don’t want to change. Maybe you see something wrong with them, but they don’t. Maybe you want them to become a more outdoors-y type person, but they’re perfectly satisfied staying indoors – in fact, they might even prefer it. You might be succeeding only in making them uncomfortable by encouraging them to do otherwise. Maybe you disapprove of a specific habit of theirs, but they see absolutely nothing wrong with it, and don’t understand why you’re trying to take it away from them.

Sometimes, when we try to make people change when they don’t want to, all we do is create a strain. We make them want to do the forbidden thing even more, directly because it is forbidden. Sometimes, when we try to make people change when they don’t want to, all that we are really doing is getting mad at them for being who they are. And from time to time, we seem to take this opinion that, especially if we’re in a romantic relationship with someone, we should come before everything else in their lives, but that just isn’t the case. I’m not saying that our loved ones shouldn’t value us highly, but it is important that they value themselves, their personalities, their likes and dislikes and the way they were made.

And it’s important for us to value all of that too. Maybe not like it; no one is going to like absolutely every tiny little aspect about someone, but so long as what they are doing does not hurt or disrespect anyone, then all that making a big deal out of it does is hurt and disrespect who they are as a person.

And no one should have to shave off important parts of themselves in order to be with someone they love.

And if what they are doing is hurting or disrespecting someone, and you want to stop them from doing that because you truly do love the better sides of them… you still might be disappointed. Like I said, people can change, but you can’t necessarily change someone.

If they are going to change, then that change needs to come from them. This is true of small changes, like encouraging someone to go to the gym once in a while, and this is true of larger changes, like dissuading someone from engaging in behaviour that is bullying or abusive. You can try to help them out, you can try to be there for them, but if you choose to do that, then you need to remember who they are, and that they aren’t going to change unless they make the decision to do so. And they might never make the decision to do so.

And if you don’t think that you can handle that, then it’s okay to decide that you can’t have that person in your life anymore. It’s okay to value your own well-being.

Because change comes from within. You cannot enforce it on someone else. And if you choose to try, you run the risk of pushing them away or forcing them to give up pieces of themselves. So end of day, you can choose between two options: you can love them for who they are, flaws and all, or you can decide that they do you more harm than good and leave them. There is no shame in either choice, but you need to make the one that you can live with end of day.

 

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This Is Not Your Life Forever

I’m not going to lie: I’m not entirely where I want to be right now. But, to be fair, I’m twenty-two years old; how many people my age are?

Right now, I’m still living with my parents, but I have my eye on a cheap apartment in the town where I actually want to live, the town where all my friends live and where I actually stand a chance of getting the sort of job that I want. However, I cannot currently afford aforementioned cheap apartment after four years dedicated to university, and so I’m working retail jobs until I can. I’m single, I don’t have a lot of friends that I see on a regular basis, and I’m not very good at making new friends. All of this sort of adds up to a general feeling of “meh” about where I am right now.

And I know I’m not alone in this.

There are a lot of people out there who aren’t exactly where they’d like to be. A lot of young adults, still trying to figure out what sort of life they want to live and how they can achieve it, as well as a lot of older adults who really don’t feel “settled” yet. To be honest, it’s sort of a human condition, because very few of us are lucky enough to be born directly into the place where we want to be.

We all have goals we want to achieve.

We all want to find ourselves and become comfortable in our identities.

We all have places we want to go, things we want to see, stuff we want to do.

And sometimes, when we’re stuck in that place where we don’t want to be for long enough, it becomes easy to think that you’re going to be there forever.

It’s easy to lose hope, and to think that the things that you want are never going to come to you – either because you aren’t good enough or strong enough to get it, or because the whole cause feels hopeless.

But here’s the thing: you aren’t at the end of the race yet.

After all, change is the only constant in life. And maybe it won’t always be the change that you expect, but it will be change nonetheless. A year from now, you will be an entirely different person. Ten years from now, you will have an entirely different life, hopefully a life that you’re more satisfied with.

And I know, change takes a long time to come. It can be frustrating sometimes, it can be disheartening, but where you are now is not where you will always be. Time passes slowly, but it passes, and it brings with it many beautiful things. It brings with it your dreams, a new love, new friends, new family. It brings with it an endless array of possibilities, so many that you can’t even imagine them all now.

So don’t get stuck in today. Don’t keep dwelling in this idea that this is your life, this is forever, because it isn’t. People come and go. Dreams come true and evolve into new dreams. And along the way, even in times where you are not satisfied, there are still many things that should not be taken for granted.

I may not be satisfied living in my parent’s house, but at least I have a place to stay. There are too many people out there who cannot say that, and I know that I am incredibly privileged to be able to. I may not currently have the life or job that I want, but I have the means to work toward it. I am grateful for that.

And though I don’t know what your circumstance is, whatever it is, I am sure that you can think of something in it that makes it at least bearable for now.

That’s a problem with being dissatisfied with today; you run the risk of taking things for granted. It’s not the only problem, of course – just a problem.

Enjoy life while you can, but keep working toward the life you want. Stop and smell the roses, and then charge ever forward. But whatever you do, do not give into despair. Do not give up. Your life can be exactly what you want it to be, just so long as you do not give up hope.

10 Everyday, Simple Pleasures

1. Eating delicious food

Whether your taste is pizza, ice cream, or salad – I think we can all agree that those first few bites of something we love are transformative. Your first thought is simply, oh, yeah, this is delicious, and you realize that you have to take your time, have to savour it. As you enjoy it, you might close your eyes even, because it is delicious.

Oh, food. How I love you.

2. Finishing a good story

Whether it be a book, a movie, a TV series, or a video game, the last moment is always the greatest pleasure.

It’s a little bit sad, yes, because now, it’s all over. Those characters that you love are gone. Maybe they met a good end. Maybe a bad one. Either way, their struggle is over, and chances are, it all came to a fitting end. Because in order for this to be a pleasure, you must be left satisfied. You must be left happy to have had these fictional lives intersect, even briefly, with yours.

And in that moment, you are both peaceful and overwhelmed with emotion, clutching the book or DVD case or maybe a pillow close to you as your mind slowly comes back to you after spending so much time in this other world.

3. When your pets (or somebody else’s pets) are affectionate

There’s something particularly satisfying about being accepted by an animal, because animals are just so pure. There’s no fear of appearances with them. They don’t know to fake anything to protect you or your emotions – they just do what they feel they should.

So when an animal walks up to you and sits by your side, or crawls in your lap, or falls asleep with its chin rested on top of you, you realize in that moment what it feels like to be loved and accepted completely.

4. A big gulp of a nice, cold drink

This is especially nice on a hot day.

It’s always a surprise when it happens, too, because drinks aren’t always cold enough for this. For you to take a nice, big gulp and feel the cold liquid spread throughout your chest, leaving you feeling fresh and crisp and satisfied.

5. Weird weather (when it isn’t dangerous)

Storms can be absolutely terrifying when you have to walk or drive through them – regardless of the kind of storms. Wind, rain, snow – it doesn’t matter what kind. They’re all terrible.

But when they’re mild enough to not pose a risk, and when you don’t have to leave the house or watch anyone that you love leave the house, they’re also brilliant.

How fascinating is it to sit in the window and watch as flurries of white snow conceal everything from sight at a certain distance? How cars become little more than shapes that turn their glowing, yellow eyes upon you. And then the day after, if the storm was strong enough, you can walk around and take a look at the destruction it has caused (hoping, of course, that that destruction was caused only to trees and the like, not to homes and humans).

6. Changing something about your appearance (and really liking it)

Maybe your hair has needed cutting for a while now. Maybe you get a new tattoo, or you change out your wardrobe, or maybe you just try out a new make-up style. Either way, there is something very satisfying about changing your appearance.

It has the power to make you feel like an entirely new person. With it come silly little resolutions that you may never keep.

“I’m different now,” you think to yourself. “And this different person will be stronger, better, and more driven than ever.”

Or maybe it just makes you feel more confident. You leave the house with a bit of an extra bounce to your step that day, walking down the street with the knowledge that everyone is looking solely at you because you are fabulous.

It might just be a small, outer change, but it most certainly can come with a huge change internally.

7. That moment when you realize that you really like the company you’re in

Maybe you’re just sitting in the car after a long day of spending time with people. You’re talking, laughing, or listening to their stories, and it hits you in that moment: I really like these people.

You’re suddenly filled with affection for them. For the way they speak, the way they think. You’re glad that you’ve spent this time with them now. Because whether you mean it in a friendly way, a familiar way, or a more-than-friendly way, this person means something to you, and that’s awesome.

8. Finishing something you didn’t want to do (but had to)

Maybe it was an essay for your class. Maybe you had to attend some sort of dull or nerve-wracking event. Maybe you had to have a conversation with someone that you really didn’t want to have. Either way, that moment when you finally realize that it’s over brings such a relief. You did it, you can be proud that you did it, and now it’s finally time to move on.

9. Discovering that you have a shared experience with someone

Nobody likes being alone. And nobody likes feeling like they’re the only person who’s going through something. So when you discover that someone you know – even someone you don’t know particularly well – has experienced the same thing as you, it is sort of nice to be able to revel in that familiarity.

And maybe it isn’t necessarily a positive experience that you share. Maybe it isn’t something that you would have wanted them to experience. But just the same, you feel closer to them now that you know that you have something very deep and very personal in common, and even if you never speak to them again, you suddenly hold them closer in your heart forever.

10. When an old friend reaches out to you

Maybe it’s someone you knew in high school, or elementary school, even.

Maybe it’s someone you were really close to at some point, but you’ve since drifted apart.

And maybe they don’t reach so far out as to ask you to get coffee sometime – maybe they just post a little joke on Facebook and tag you on it, or send you a message asking what you’ve been up to.

Either way, it’s always nice to know that someone you used to know or care about still thinks about you from time to time.