You cannot make someone change. Let this sink in. Think about how hard it is for you to change yourself. To develop an exercise routine, to eat healthier, to watch less TV, to stop biting your nails. If you do not want to make these changes for yourself, you won’t. You have to really want the outcome. It has to be of your own volition. Yet ironically, we think changing someone or helping them change is going to be easy. We completely ignore all of our own life experience in the pursuit of changing theirs. And maybe, just maybe, we are so quick to focus our attention and energy on someone else because it’s easier than doing the work on ourselves.
We often find the faults in others that are mirror images of our own. But eventually, we become exhausted, defeated, and frustrated. We start projecting our insecurities onto their lack of change, making up all these stories in our minds about how if this person loved me they would change for me. If I was enough, they would want to change for me. But it isn’t about us… Well, at least, not in the way we think it is.
Yes, you can inspire someone to change themselves, but this is different than making someone change. All of that time and energy you’re investing in those who aren’t growing with you is wasted. When we invest in ourselves and do the inner work, we can inspire those around us to do the same. By being so whole and happy in who we are, we inspire others to seek out ways to achieve their own happiness, their own sense of wholeness.
Not everyone will grow and change with you, no matter how inspiring you are. The harsh reality is there will be people close to you who want nothing more than for you to shrink yourself to make them feel more comfortable. Seeing someone else grow and achieve their dreams makes even the best of us uncomfortable; it strips us of all of our old excuses as to why we could never change, why we could never have the life we want, why we could never be the person we’ve always dreamt of being. And if someone isn’t open to this kind of self-analysis, they will resent it. They will make you feel like you are too much of this or not enough of that or both simultaneously. But that doesn’t mean you should stop. It means that you must let them go and move on, you must keep investing your love and energy into yourself, because the biggest loss of all is losing yourself trying to love someone into their full potential, trying to love them into loving themselves when they aren’t capable of it.
And when you walk away, do not leave weighed down with guilt for giving up on them. Walk away feeling lighter. Walk away feeling proud that for once, you chose yourself, you chose your personal growth. That in this moment you are proving to yourself that the person you want to be is worth more than anything in this world. Walk away, thanking yourself for making the hard decision, for knowing that you are worth your own love and energy.