The Desire To Change Those We Care About
Posted June 14, 2010 at 10:18 AM by Ben Nadel
This morning, I was all set to write a bit more about Safari's SQLite support; but, last night, I had a couple of nightmares where I was being viscously attacked (thanks in large part, I assume, to having seen Splice before bedtime). Then, on the way to work, the first song that I happen to listened to was Ani DiFranco's, "As Is." Being in a post-nightmare, emotionally-heightened state already, the song really got me lost in my own thoughts. Specifically, as the title of the song indicated, thoughts about accepting people the way they are (As Is) or trying to change them.
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I don't drink; I don't smoke pot; I don't do drugs; I can't dance to save my life; I always go to bed at bedtime; I have no interest in going to bars; and, the idea of being rebellious for rebellion's sake has no appeal to me. So as you can image, I've had people trying to change me my entire life. I can't even hazard a guess as to how many times I've heard things like:
"It's cool that you don't drink, but you're definitely drinking tonight!"
"I can totally dig it that you don't smoke - but you be getting hiiiiigh tonight!"
Now, these are the kinds of phrases that I hear from friends - when it comes to romantic relationships, things start to get more extreme. It seems, ironically enough, that often times the more that we care about someone, the more we actually want to change them. As someone who has always been a bit of a loner, I have become very sensitive to the desire to change those around us - both in others and in myself as well.
When it comes to being mindful, there is a thin line between what is actually mindful and what is simply ridiculous. For example, I was once dating a woman who had absolutely no interest in my life. She had no desire to read my favorite books or to watch my favorite movies; if I ever mentioned to her that I had had the most interesting conversation with a friend, she wouldn't even ask me what it was about. The complete lack of desire that this woman had in getting to know me in a holistic sense really ate me up inside. But, rather than try and force my life upon her, I took it as an opportunity to practice mindfulness and self-control.
I told myself that this is who she is and that if I really cared for her, I shouldn't need to change her - that I should be able to accept her the way she is. And, to some degree, it worked. But, it was a Pyrrhic victory; the only way that I was able to continue on in the relationship was by slowly shutting down all the parts of me that cared for this woman. Sure, we got along just fine, but with the kind of emotional connection that a rock might have for the tree it lies beneath. One could say that we "cohabitated effectively" - a phrase certainly sterile enough to fit the situation.
Eventually, our relationship ended; we simply weren't compatible in a romantic sense. I tried as much as I could to change myself and the way that I felt rather than changing her; but, that failed in a way that one can never fix. This thought experiment, however, was not a total loss. After concentrating so much on my own feelings and about how this woman made me feel, I think I came away with a deeper understanding of the desire to change those around us.
Not surprisingly, it's all based in Fear. Though perhaps not so immediately tangible, I believe it comes from a fear of being alone. This is why the desire to change someone becomes more intense the more we care about them. The more we care, the closer we are to being in a place where we don't have to be alone. And, the closer we get to this place, the more devastating incompatibilities can become. Whether consciously, or more likely subconsciously, I think that when we see an incompatibility in someone for whom we have feelings, we raise a red flag. And, rather than embracing that red flag as maybe we should, we try to change that person into someone with whom we are compatible.
And, if it's not the fear of being alone, perhaps it is the fear of love lost. Love is an amazing thing. And although all love is great, the best love - the most satisfying love - is the love that you can share with another. And when you meet someone that you think maybe, just maybe, you can share love with, I have to image that you would do whatever you could to remove the barriers between you and that requited love. Even, if that means changing who that person is because at that point, it's not about them - it's about you and the happiness you so desire.
In all relationships, platonic and romantic, there must be compromises - that is simply how people get along in society. But, I think perhaps we have to be much more cognizant of how we ask people to compromise. Ultimately, one cannot compromise their being and remain happy in the long term. So, the next time you ask someone to change something about themselves, take a moment and think about why you're doing it - the answer might just change the course of your life.
What Other People Are Searching For
That is very deep and to read with the song playing in the background makes it simple like a story from a book.
Really like this post! (Retweeted!)
Change this line:
I can't even hazard a guess as to how many times I've heard things like:
I can't even hazard a guess as to how many times Simon Free has told me things like:
and you'll be a little more accurate.
Well written post though. I believe that while we "shouldn't try to change those that we love" is true in the purest sense, it's not realistic. Everything that exists in this world happened because someone wanted to change something: about something else, or someone else, etc.
I don't think it's bad to want to change someone, but it IS bad to expect them to. We all wish our friends or family were more like X, or less like Y...that's just human nature. True relationships come when both parties try to change the other, realize it might not happen, and they're both still okay with it.
Wow! Deep stuff.
I think that perhaps the desire to change is also driven by the difference in perception between 'who' someone is compared with how you 'think' they are. It takes a long time to really come to understand someone. But to fill that space, we tend to overlay our impressions of them. Of course, these impressions often fail to meet the mark, and that is where the trying to change someone part comes in.
I suspect true love is accepting someone for who they really are, and loving all of them. I'm lucky enough to have had a relationship with my girlfriend for 20 years, and I know that if I changed anything about her, that could impact on other aspects of her personality. That's not to say that there aren't things about her that annoy me! No-one is perfect and all that, and I'm sure she would say the same. But, we are who we are.
Thank Jon! I like to get deep every now and then :)
I 100% agree. All things require a meeting in the middle to some degree. That is how we manage to all get along. But, I think there is a spectrum of things that can be changed and there is a line that should not be crossed.
Absolutely - and throw hormones into that grab-bag of excitement and it gets all the more difficult to see the forest for the trees (is that cliche even appropriate??). If I remember correctly, there are three distinct stages of love and I think getting from one stage to the next is where things can really get rocky. I am very happy to hear that you have someone special :)
I think you're mixing ideas here, Ben. Those people that are asking you to do things you're uncomfortable with are the people who do not care about you. And part of acceptance is accepting that they are going to drink, smoke, and do other things that you do not, but each of you has the choice to accept and respect the decisions the other makes. It's easy enough to say 'no' if there is mutual respect. Yes, they may dismiss you initially, but if they're a true friend petty things like drinking won't really matter for either of you.
As for relationships and the people who do care about you, it sounds like you are talking about control issues being the basis for the desire to change. Did you show interest in your partner's hobbies and interests? Did you communicate your concerns explicitly and not merely internalize them? Your actions are the things you can control, not someone else's. Not everyone views sharing their favorite media as a representation of who they are, and not everyone needs to feel like they won't be accepted if they don't like the same media. Both people in a relationship deserve to be happy; if you're sitting around mentally 'putting up with' another human being, it's not fair to either of you, and they deserve better just like you do.
If you haven't yet learned that the more you care about someone, the less you want to/try to change them (not the other way around), then I'd recommend taking some time to look at your expectations of others and of relationships, and figure out how you can be a better partner.
I can assure you that the people who have asked me to do things they know I am not comfortable with are some of the closest people in my life. That's part of what makes it unfortunate. If they weren't, it would be easy enough to just wash my hands of them.
As far as everything else, I think we are on the same page. I think you're just coming at it from the other side - I'm talking about the symptoms of trying to change someone that is not right for you and you are talking about not having to / wanting to change someone that you truly care about. I think we're on the same page, just looking at it from a different angle.
And yes, I agree that both people deserve to be happy; which is precisely why it was not a good relationship - we couldn't be happy together. As far as "sharing media", that was just some examples to indicate basic interest. There was very little interest in any way. I'm a very independent person, and the disinterest was enough to bother even me :)
Cool post Ben! For my two cents, I think that in a healthy relationship, one in which we have sought out that balance of compatible and complementary, we don't need to change people, but we can help them fulfil their potential and lead richer lives.
For example encouraging someone with wavering confidence to try new things can be great (for both parties, because it comes from a place of respect and altruism; and it's this sort of encouragement that is part of the synergetic benefit of being in 'the right' relationship.
If someone pushes another to do things to simply make themselves feel better, justify their own choices or to exercise control (consciously or not), then clearly this is not something that will prove healthy in the short or long term. Think if we're not sure where the line is - then just back off a bit and listen is a good rule of thumb.
In short, some people need to chill out a bit, listen to understand and accept that just because you love something, doesn't mean it's going to blow someone else's hair back!
Are you sure you're not high right now?
Wait until you have kids. Changing the behaviour of others behaviour takes on vast new dimensions. Especially if there are behavioural problems. With our (formerly) autistic son the screaming matches were frightening and very upsetting and at times it is tempting to back off and allow bad behaviour to continue. You have to be very sure of your motivations.
There is a good book on changing behaviour called 'Whale done', which basically teaches the best way to change behaviour is to encourage good behaviour with rewards, and discourage bad behaviour with distraction until you can set up another reward situation. This is based on how they train Orcas at seaworld - you can't punish a killer whale, they'll just eat you.
With whales rewards are easy - fish. With people they are much more complex. There is another good book called 'the 5 love languages' which covers this. People express and 'hear' love in different ways - gift giving, words of praise, quality time, acts of service, and physical touch. A lot of people have relationship problems because they express love differently, not that they lack the love. So one person tries to express love in their language, like giving gifts, and it is not well received by their partner who might prefer acts of service, which causes 2 way tension.
I could go on, and often do...
God yeah, children throw a totally new light on the discussion for sure. That said, since they haven't got fully developed personalities - they are still works in progress if you like - I think it's a slightly different issue. Children need their parents to teach them the way to behave in specific situations, whether that is by explicit instruction, or simply through observation.
Personally, I've noted that the latter seems to have a lot more weight. My children learn as much from watching how myself and my partner act and behave as from any amount of 'instruction'.
Sure; there are friends who test our boundaries. Sometimes it's a matter of intent though; do they feel like they're doing it to make us better people (because they care about us), or for their own selfish reasons (i.e., is their motive good or bad?). It's not a bad thing to have friends that want to broaden our horizons or get us to try new experiences (i.e., things they are into), so long as they respect your limits (and that they are a part of who you are). As long as their motives are good, there's nothing wrong with 'agreeing to disagree' with your friends' suggestions. 99.2% of my friends aren't into many of the same things I am, but I find that I'm always the one compromising for them and focusing on our common areas only; that's an unhealthy balance.
Really, being a good friend means compromise - not compromising your values, but finding that middle/common ground instead of trying to control others to be what we want them to be. And of course, every romantic relationship really hinges upon being able to be good friends as well.
@Will S yeah monkey see monkey do with kids. It totally sucks.
i think about where we reflect and dimentionalise our fears and if we do how that affects others
You make an excellent point! My life has been hugely improved by those around me that have seen untapped potential in me and have challenged me to better myself. 99% of the time, that is awesome and I am thankful to have people like that in my life. In a romantic relationship, having that would also be fantastic and I think is, born, to some degree from two people that are passionate about life in general (how can one push you to be better when they themselves are not passionate).
I imagine that children kind of change the rules across the board :) I have 4 nieces and nephews and I am in awe with my my brothers can do! Sounds like an interesting book - Whale Done. I'll try to check it out.
Absolutely - re: intent. I think you and @Cate touched on that well; I forgot to even bring that up. It reminds me of a line from The Shield - "If you were really their friend, you'd pull them up instead of letting them pull you down." Ok, maybe not the most apropos, but I always liked that line.
"...being a good friend means compromise - not compromising your values, but finding that middle/common ground"
Care to expand on that?
I remember reading a book, most probably written by Osho, who says, the main problem is that we depend on the partner for our happiness. We have 'dreams' of a romantic future with that person. We 'expect' happiness from the other person. And when we see it doesn't work like that, we get disappointed. That's the way it works for all... unless for people who learn to find happiness WITHIN... for whom happiness from others are a 'bonus'.
There must be some deep spiritual meaning there I guess!
Anyway, great post Ben... this is something that I didn't expect... retweeted :)
I believe exactly just that - we cannot put our happiness in others. Our happiness can be "enhanced" by others, but it should never be the source of happiness. That is why one of the most important "quality" that I look for in another is that they be passionate about "something". I don't care what that "something" is - art, music, dance, jogging, dog-walking - whatever. As long as someone is passionate about something, I think it's much safer to assume they will be independently happy which creates a solid base for a mutually beneficial relationship.
Wow, pretty deep stuff!
I can't believe this was brought to us by the same guy who used porn actresses to illustrate how coldfusion structs work ;)
Good old Ben :)
As my friend Sabrina recently said, "[I] am an enigma wrapped in a burrito" :)
@Ben Nadel, your friend Sabrina is most wise, and rather witty. :) My apologies in advance to her for stealing that quote.
agreed! this post and comments put me into some deep thinking too :) thanks.
To be fair, that quote has been around for years, so it would be safe to use it w/out attribution to that person :)
It was the first time I had heard it.... Mmmmmm, burritos :)
Many things about us change and some things never do. Many things we can't change about ourselves. Some things we want to, some we don't.
But what about those that say we can do/be anything we want to: all we have to do is believe we can. I think they are wrong. I'm sure of it although positive thinking is big big big. But to the degree they are right (which they must be to some "degree"), then perhaps we have hope in influencing change in others about many things. After all, isn't this what these positive thinking promoters are trying to do to us. Help us. But why doesn't it work more often, on ourselves, and as we wish on others?
Those are my way down random fleeting senseful thoughts.
I think sometimes people aren't changing to change those around them but rather trying to share something that brings them joy.
For example, when my wife and I had been married for a while but not yet ready to have kids we would frequently encounter couples with kids who would urge us to have them. I don't think they were trying to "change" us to be more like them (the behavior was the same among people we saw very frequently and very rarely). Rather, I think they got a lot of joy out of kids and wanted to share that.
Living in Oklahoma, I get the same pressure to go to church. Again, I think from people who get a lot of joy from church.
You share your love of ColdFusion and jQuery because you get a lot of joy from those.
Your friends want to share their love of getting drunk and/or high. The challenge is that it is difficult for many to realize that they are assuming that others will get joy where they do. They are just trying to share their joy.
That doesn't necessarily remove the frustration from their behavior, but I still think it is a helpful perspective.
Even the things we want to change about ourselves can be very hard to change. Change can be easy, it can also be very difficult; I think a lot goes into it and depends hugely on what kinds of change people are trying to create in themselves.
This is an excellent perspective to bring to the conversation. Ultimately, no one wants to push anything on you that they themselves find poor, with the possible exception, "Eww, this tastes gross, try it". We are all just trying to share that which makes us happy. As you are saying, however, the problem is when someone diminishes or dismisses what might bring you happiness if it doesn't correspond to their own set of values.
A few comments:
I was going to comment and tell you that if you ended up in the Philadelphia area sometime soon, I would buy you a beer. But I suppose, I'd buy you a club soda now that I know.
Secondly, I appreciate a post outside the coldfusion world on occasion. Thanks for breaking up my workday.
Finally, its kind of a nebulous concept, changing people. No matter what you do or say, you'll be changed and you'll change other people. So...I'd argue, don't bother stressing about it. I tend to just do what I want to do (not in a hedonistic sense, but in a sense of what I believe to be right and wrong). To a certain extent, you're going to change because of the people you care about.
Club soda is where it's at! :) But seriously, I am not advocating that one should not change. I think change is an essential part of the living and growing process; without change we cannot improve ourselves or our situation. And, as others mentioned, some of the best change comes from those around us helping us to "see the light", so to speak.
I think what's important is to be mindful of the change we actively seek to effect in others and to ask ourselves to what end is that change desired?
I came across your blog while searching for a SQL Alert solution.
Reading it was such a treat! So thank you for the mini-break!
You are the male version of me...almost...I do like a glass of wine every now and then.
I will quickly quote a wise man: 'I am what I am and that's all that I am'
Ha ha, glad to break up your day :)
To some extent, I agree. It's important to see the end goal of the change, otherwise its pretty pointless.
I still think change is an idea that's hard to wrap your mind around: Are you truly changing? Maturing? Is it an active choice (some change isn't)? Is it manipulation? Do people truly sit down and decide they want to do X and then do it?
Essentially, when people choose their decisions, they do so on their point of view and what they value. And I think real, tangible change occurs when those values are changed (EG I don't do cocaine anymore because I have a child). In order to change those values, you have to essentially change that person.
And if you really care about someone, do you want to change their beliefs?
As I said...nebulous concept. Easier to deal with <cfif> tags...either they fire or they don't.
Thanks for the blog, you've given me tons of insight.
I have been told, and I also believe that all change must come from within. You can provide someone with information, with explanation, with means, but ultimately, that person's change must come from within. For example, Clark Valberg, who has helped me to grow a lot, will tell you that I definitely push back against or even flat-out dismiss suggestions that he makes. But, when *I am ready* to make a change, that is when I am finally ready to listen (and most often his advices are spot-on).
As perhaps more than one has indicated, the whole subject is somewhat nebulous. Rather, there are many valid directions one can take it.
Here is an old concrete example that may fall well inside the problem: Suppose someone you care about smokes 1 or 2 or 3 packs of cigarettes a day. To what extent should you try to influence him or her to quit?
I think something like that has to do with when you found out that they smoke. Smoking is an interesting thing because it has a decidedly negative health consequence, which puts it in a different level.
But, I would say, if you are opposed to smoke, don't get involved with someone who smokes and then try to get them to stop. That seems foolish.
That's kind of the whole thing, no? There are very few people today who smoke who don't know the health risks. I am a smoker. And I know the health risks. I know how expensive they are, etc.
But that was my choice. It is my choice to smoke. And its kind of my personality--I don't worry too much about the distant future. And I try to enjoy life. So, if I started freaking out about my future health, it would be a catch-22...would you want to be friends with a person who was so easily influenced? Well, then you wouldn't care, so why try to change?
Wow, and I thought you were only good for development questions. I have been hitting your blog for quite a while as a Coldfusion resource. Now maybe I should get my weightlifting tips and human nature tips here also! Good to see that very bright software engineers have feelings too! Stay cool!
Ha ha - sometimes my Emotional Subroutine runs afoul and I have to flush my output buffer :P
I came across your blog looking for some resources in the internet and I really enjoy reading you since then.
Why is it that I didn't meet you
before I got married??.. jeez!!
Ha Ha ha!! just joking :)
You are a good package Ben.
Not just smart but a very deep soul you are.
I remember my father telling me that:
<<We will know when the right person get into our life if everything they are is what we like.
If it is anything that we might want to change them on
then We are not in love with that person but with the person we wish they could be.>>
PD:If just we would listen to our parents advice before is to late eh ? Ha Ha Ha!!
Agreed. As they said in the Four Agreements, it is much easier to find someone you love just the way they are then to turn someone into a person you love.
This one touched me today ( I know its a few days old) but it did. It reminded me of something I wrote many months ago about friends, relationship and personal growth.
"I usually have a pretty good inventory of my life, and what is in it. What purpose items serve, what price they come with and what representation they have on my store front. The customers are typically random and vary in form, age, and background. Most of them seem satisfied with my product, and my prices. I usually never have to refuse business, and or refund anything.
I noticed that it was time to look at my inventory again, and filter out the aging products move some shelves around for the new lines that are coming in.
I have lived a life of random leisure and discipline, appropriate only to me, and the ones I love. With recent expansions though, I have to accommodate a new line of customers, that have a higher expectation and value to me, and the future of my store.
Am I changing? No. Change is such a relative term.
Am I growing? Yes. I am always growing in some way.
Over the past two years, I have had several new journeys, new experiences, and realizations along the way.
I learned what I needed and wanted.
What I could not live with, and what I expected. AND I have learned to settle for nothing less.
I have a high demand on the situations in my life now. I smile more than I ever have. I cry real tears. I love with what I remeber that emotion to be, when I was young. I trust only those worthy.
I let go easily, I forgive quickly. I have standards now that I can't retreat from.
My store is expected to be clean. I promised myself that it would remain that way. I am not ignorant to the occasional spill, and disruption, those are expected. My methods for attending to those however have changed. The priority I apply to the spill, gets the 'red light' and is delt with in a timely fashion. "
I'm glad this post got to you. Thanks for sharing your comminque with your friend.
And here I came onto this post curious about SQLite :) What an excellent post, and great song too!
Overall I agree with the "see the light" philosophy. In my opinion there's a middle ground - especially in relationships with close friends or significant others. And the desired change has to be a positive one. I wouldn't be who I am today if my friends or my wife didn't try to change things about me - or, to word it differently, help me change for the better. I would say the same thing about things I try to change with close friends as well. Sometimes it's necessary - and maybe even your responsibility.
When it comes to drinking and smoking though, I stay off limits. Kudos to you or anyone for not drinking and smoking - but if you did, it wouldn't be my place to suggest otherwise ... unless I was your best friend or brother.
Enjoyable post Ben.
I came to your site searching [ "Way of the Warrior" - Bushido -Japan ] looking for publications by the More To Life Foundation.
Much of what you have written is covered by the courses they put on regularly - have you done one?
I would highly recommend the Week long course called Way of the Warrior (WoW) - it fits with your company ethos of "Obsessively thorough software design".
(too bad that their web site needs some real TLC: http://moretolife.org/ but you shouldn't judge a book by its cover . . .)
Those courses sounds very cool - I have never heard of them before. Thanks for the link; I'll be sure to check them out.
After writing this post and specifically thinking about the book stuff (trying to share favorite books / movies), I got to thinking about my friend Azure Rae. When I moved to NYC, she was pretty much the first real friend I made in this city of 15 million people. Being alone here, her friendship meant a whole lot to me (probably more so than I ever expressed).
Anyway, at some point soon after I met her, she wanted to exchange favorite books with me. I don't remember what I gave her (probably either Muscle, or It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It). She gave me, "The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint" - http://www.amazon.com/Miracle-Life-Edgar-Mint-Novel/dp/0375719180. To this day, I still have the book on my bookshelf and every time I see it, I think of her.
Reflecting on it now, I am simply amazed at the obvious impact this exchange had on me. Now, almost 8 or 9 years later, the desire for this one person to express an interest in the "deeper" me continues to enrich my life and the way I feel about her.
She is the only person that I can remember ever asking to read my favorite book. And now that I think about it, I feel ashamed that I have not asked this of others. I have been in several romantic relationships over the years and not once have *I* asked to read someone else's favorite book.
Going forward, I intend to make this a tradition in my relationships.
What an intriguing thought. Sometimes we are so wrapped in the me me me side of things, the thought of paying attention to someone else's likes and dislikes escapes us. I likewise have never asked to read someone's favorite book, or watch their favorite movie. I believe I should follow suit.
I think we all get wrapped up in our own little worlds. Glad to help provide a little bit of perspective; I felt this was most recent thought was a real growing experience.
Another thought-provoking post! Thanks, Ben! And I'm sorry for dragging this up out of the ashes and being so late reading it. It came as one of the suggestions at the bottom of another post I was reading.
As sometimes happens with your deep, thought-provoking posts, I was going one way in my mind when I first started reading the post, and about halfway through, the writing took me in another direction.
Change - this has been a very difficult and confusing topic for me. I appreciate the insights of yours and of the comments below.
The direction that surprised me is this: When you started talking in the beginning about how you are, it really surprised me that anyone would want to change that. Or at least that part of you. When you hear people talking about people changing something about someone they care about, it's not change in that direction, if you know what I mean. As I am writing this, I am realizing it probably sounds a bit convoluted, so I will attempt to explain myself better.
You often hear of the drunk, or the person who is on drugs getting high and being irresponsible, blowing all kinds of money. And then you hear of the person who cares about them doing an intervention and trying to change them...trying to get them to do something that will help them be responsible, keep a job. Oftentimes, you don't hear of it going the other way...of there being a person who is responsible, has a job, etc., and there are people who care about them who are trying to get them to be irresponsible and do things that could really mess up their life.
Granted, I have admitted that I have many times had people trying to get me to drink (etc.). However, those people had ulterior motives, and I never really felt pressured. There were some who were more insistant upon it, but I still stood my ground. And it never really got to be annoying. And I also didn't really view this as something so much where they were trying to change me. I think some good points have been made about manipulation and control, and I think those things had a lot to do with what was going on in my situation.
When it comes to change, I have come to view a dichotomy that exists between changing the core of someone is and who they are, and changing something about someone that is more insignificant and/or superficial. I believe everyone has a core system of values, and I think that as you age, that core becomes less changeable. It's not that it can't change, it's just that this is the foundation of who you are. Then, there are all of these outer-lying characteristics of who you are. Maybe bad habits...maybe good habits. I don't know. Things, maybe, like the way you pick your nails when you concentrate. Maybe even this can extend to the way you drive...you may get road rage. You may be impatient with dogs and/or children. I don't know. Just different things. Things that aren't necessarily at the core of who you are, but may be implications of deeper characteristics you have. These outer-lying things, I think it is easier to change, and I definitely think that it is not so much of a big deal to change those things. I will add that those things can be difficult to change, but it still isn't the same as changing something at the core of your belief system.
Changing these outer things are typically the changes people can make to become a better person. They can work to become more tolerant of this or that. They can work to not do a certain habit if it just really gets on the nerves of someone who is near them. But oftentimes, it's the core of who you are, that belief system you have created, that defines who you are...and it is changing those things that really changes the person you are.
I could see myself possibly falling in love with someone who had some really bad habits that got on my nerves, sometimes even to the point of where if they did not change those things, I might not be able to sustain the relationship. But I don't know if I could fall deeply in love with someone who had things at the core of who they were that I highly disapproved of. (an example of this would be someone who would walk around in stores with me and snatch stuff and shoplift. I really could never see myself falling for a person like that. I would be on pins and needles and on edge all the time, and wouldn't be able to enjoy myself. Plus, if they did something like that, I think it would color my opinion of them to the point to where I woudln't think that much of them and therefore wouldn't be able to sustain a deep love for them)
And I apologize to any shoplifters or people on here who steal if I have offended you. That was just an example.
One last point. I was in a relationship once with a person who wanted to change certain things about me. The thing is this: sometimes, we may want to change something about a person, but we may be making it VERY hard for them to change in the process. So I would say it is good if we want to change someone, to try to do everything to make it easier for them to change instead of constantly doing things to make it hard for them to change.
Example: Let's say I was diagnosed with diabetes, but had a huge sugar addiction. And I was trying my hardest to stop eating sugar, but as anyone with a serious sugar addiction knows, it is very difficult to stop eating sugar, especially completely. Say a guy was dating me, and he wanted me to stop eating sugar too. Maybe it was for my own good. Maybe it was because the sugar was making me fat and embarrassing him with his friends, and he wanted a skinnier chick to impress his friends with. I don't know. But let's say, for whatever reason, he wanted me to stop eating sugar too. Ok. This is a goal we both want. But, then, say, he is constantly bringing an entire tripple dark chocolate cake in front of me and eating it, right then and there, in front of me. And then, he would get up and leave half the thing sitting right there in front of me and just leave and go somewhere. Now...that's not making it very easy for me to change, is it? He wants me to change. I want to change. But his actions aren't really helping me change at all.
Ok, that was just an example. I gotta get back to my programming. Cf. yay. Jquery. double yay. database interaction. Yipee!
The truth is that I don't care about others trying to change me or discover my potential, what I do care about is my view on myself, how I see my confidence and abilities rising.
Of course, I'm highly grateful to all the people who have helped me grow and evolve.