“My sister is behaving horribly!” my friend complained the other day. “She is unbearable. Rude, arrogant. You see, I know she loves us, but those manners! Terrible… Thankfully, we are going away for one week, only two of us. I have that one week to fix it.”
One may think that my friend doesn’t love her sister and therefore will be patronizing her for the whole week. The truth is the opposite. My friend loves her sister a lot, but her behavior, arrogance, and rude manners are something that she cannot tolerate. She thinks that her sister is one hobnailed, ill-mannered, misbehaving being that needs constant fixing. She is often disrespecting their parents, rebelling, and refusing to clean her room, stealing money, lying…
It made me think, though. My friend is not the only one trying to fix someone she loves just because she believes she knows best. There are many people telling others “I love you, but…”
How many of us are trying to change whoever we are with, and not respecting who they are? And, can we even truly change someone? Is it possible?
Nobody can fix anybody. Whether you like it or not, you cannot change people. They are the way they are because they think they should be this way. You can change your attitude towards them. You remember, there is an old saying – “You cannot always choose the tunes life gives you. But you can choose the way you are going to dance with them.” It is the same for people around. You cannot choose how others behave. What you can choose though, is your attitude towards this.
If you love them, accept who they are. Brothers, sisters, partners… how many times did you say to someone “I love you but…”… But what? Either you love someone the way they are or you not. It doesn’t mean you have to accept their rude manners, it is quite the opposite. You have to value yourself enough to walk from any behavior that doesn’t respect who you are – but that doesn’t have to do anything with your love for the other person. The truth is that you may love someone and don’t have to agree with everything they are doing. And it is ok, it is not your job to agree anyway. The journey every one of us follows is exclusively our own. Other people may come along to give us a helping hand if we need it, but they can’t walk our path for us. Trying to change anyone shows that we don’t respect who that person is and don’t respect the path they’re walking. Yes, they might behave horribly in your eyes. They might do this or that and they might do it wrong. Love is an admiration of another being without any need to try to change them. Unless they harm another living being, you need to let them be. You can’t change who people are, you can only love them. Love, unconditional love (we will speak about this soon too), is respecting fully who the other person is, including their flaws and mistakes. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be around them if their behavior hurts you. It also means, however, that you will not try to change them to be something they are not.
Help, without judgment. We should try to help people we see falling from the track – especially more so if we love them. This is part of our role in their life too. Trying to help, give a hand… But be aware – they might accept you helping them, or they might not to. Whatever the reason for their rejection should be – pride, blindness, inability to accept someone’s help because of their ego… whatever the reason is, accept if they say no. Don’t judge them, and don’t shame them for that. It was your choice to offer your help. It was their choice to decide whether to accept the offer or not…In many cases, inappropriate behavior is merely hiding low self-esteem and insecurity. You may not be able to resolve those issues, regardless of how hard you try. Let it be.
Leave if you have to. If someone’s behavior does hurt you, avoid them. You are not a tree, you can leave. You don’t have to have an active part of anybody’s life if you choose so, even if it is a close family member which is usually the most difficult case. If someone is driving you mad, just leave – even if mentally. Choose ignorance if you can’t leave physically. Ignorance is bliss and in many cases, will lead us to acceptance.
Love them. Yes, it might seem like a ridiculous thought, because – you already love them, it is just they do this wrong and then this wrong too… you see, when we try to fix someone, judge someone, that person knows it. They pick it from our energy, vibrations, body language. This usually doesn’t improve their behavior—more often than not it will worsen it. Therefore, whenever you catch yourself judging someone, and feel compelled to try to fix them or change them—stop that very same moment. Breathe in, breathe out… and fill your mind instead of with loving thoughts. This might improve your relationship with them rapidly. You will be amazed—the moment you change your thoughts toward someone, they feel it.
You cannot change people. You can only love them.
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