Should you change for someone?
Have you ever had the desire or even felt the utter necessity to change parts of what you are to please someone? Have you ever wondered whether he or she would love you more or finally see you, if you were to change your attitude, parts of your physical appearance, or the way you speak or think? Have you ever forced yourself to give up old habits, assuming that it would make him or her accept you? In other words, have you ever chosen to give up bits of your own self to accommodate another individual? Have you ever decided that you needed to change for someone? What motivated you to do so? Was it the result of a conscious awareness? Or was it your response to a demand that had been expressed, either implicitly or explicitly?
::: Are most relationships entrapping?
A great majority of relationships function from places of total unhappiness, where manipulation, control, competition, resentment and boredom prevail. If you do not believe me, just look at those relationships around you. I challenge you to find more than one that is truly blissful. And I am not interested in the pretenses of happiness, where façades in front of which cars, kids, savings and investments, houses and other artifacts hide tremendous sadness, emotional baggage and abyssal voids. To create a dreadful relationship, it takes two individuals, who each bring their personal insecurities into the mix to generate together intense mediocrity. Since the need to be involved in a relation and to conform at all costs supersedes everything, what matters is to expedite the dating process and land the deal, so this masquerade that I call “the normal relationship” can begin. But what does it mean to be part of a “normal relationship?” It signifies seeking minuscule pieces of happiness here and there to convince oneself that this life is worth living after all. The problem is that this kind of happiness barely ever comes from within. Instead, it must constantly be sought from the other. Now what happens when the other refuses to be happy? A destructive dynamic commences, and it consists in systematically finding ways to change oneself in an attempt to make the other happy, without any assurance of success.
When your mate is not joyful and satisfied, do you have the ability to be joyful and satisfied, or do you believe that, somewhere, you have failed? Most people have one mission in life, which is to make sure that they make others happy, so they can finally allow themselves to be happy. If they dare showing signs of happiness, they are likely to be rejected, since misery loves company and consequently despises joy. A person who is ready to do whatever it takes to ensure the happiness of his or her mate exposes himself or herself to unbearable levels of pressure and to high degrees of vulnerability. Since control and manipulation are two core-elements that define most relationships, the need to please the other can generate an abusive environment. It is an open door for any control freak to exercise his or her thirst for control by making successions of demands that continually and increasingly dismiss the integrity of his or her partner. Have you ever been the recipient of an ultimatum that left you no other choice but to comply with what was expected of you? Did you do it thinking that it was the only solution to salvage your relation? However did it salvage it, or was it solely intended to have you surrender and abandon another part of you? All the “I would love you more if…” and “If you love me, you will do…” are absolutely appalling, and yet they rule the lives of most relationships out there.
Since repudiation is not an option, there are folks who elect to conform to whatever is demanded of them. Others simply assume what they need to change about themselves to bring a pretense of peace and happiness back into their relations. While the former is highly abusive, unilateral, and at the same time explicit, the latter is much trickier. It involves the constant need to guess what the other wants. Nothing is ever spoken. There is no discussion or exchange whatsoever. The wife who has decided that she had to alter what she is to please her husband instantly puts herself in a position of inferiority. In other words, she hands all her powers over to him and becomes totally insignificant and absent inside the marriage. And the more she chooses to divorce herself in her relation, the more she ceases to exist. How may people do you know have ceased to exist in their relationships? For most, it is as good as it gets. There is no other alternative. The problem is that it creates succession of messed-up generations that continually duplicate such insanity.
::: Do you want to change for your lover?
If this thought crosses your mind, I would invite you to immediately assess the pertinence of staying in your current relationship. Do you truly think that there is anyone on this planet who is more important than you? If you answer positively, where do you place yourself in the equation of your life? Are you the one who counts the most, or do you put others before you? People who are in a relationship to push a hidden agenda give themselves no other choice but to give up the totality of their integrity to see it realized. All the unspoken, “I want this and that out of my relation” are agendas. “I want happiness” or “I want financial security” or “I want a family” or “I do not want to be alone” are agendas. To succeed, the instigator of the agenda has one tool of choice, which is to change oneself to entice the other and hopefully control a situation. So what do you absolutely need to get out of your relationship? And do you believe that you need to divorce bits of your own self to fulfill this need? “I have to dress sexy, so he stops looking at other women!” does not work. Don’t you think that this is a form of beauty like any other? But more importantly, why would you choose to take it personally and, consequently, make yourself feel that you are less attractive than other women? “I am going to stop playing golf on Saturday morning, so we can spend more time together during the weekend.” does not work either if playing golf brings you joy. What brings your mate joy should also bring you joy, regardless of what it is.
To change for someone else cannot work because initially it creates a lot of resentment and, ultimately, a lot of anger if the result that was expected does not happen. This is when the infamous, “After everything I have sacrificed for him!” kicks-in, and it is not pretty. Moreover, how can an action that is based on resentment be productive? Whether you want to acknowledge it, each time you elect to give a piece of your own self up to accommodate someone or a situation, you can only be resentful. The need to accommodate becomes an obligation that you enforce on yourself. And I have never heard of an obligation that has the potential to bring joy into people’s lives. Therefore the motives that you use to justify your need to change are a total negation of what you are. How often have you chosen to negate your own self in your relationships? What are the ramifications? There are folks who pretend to change, so it gives them some leverage to control and manipulate their partners. Others constantly struggle to do what they think is “the right thing” to make it work. A few revert back to their initial selves, covertly and secretly, so they can never be unmasked.
Productive change can only occur when it is between you and your own self. No one else should be the reason for your desire to change. It is also crucial to remember that anyone who asks you to change in reality wants you to alter what you are, so he or she can control you at his or her discretion. You must never embrace the childish, “I need a better job, so she finally sees me,” the destructive, “If I’m more obedient, maybe he’ll stop hitting me,” or anything that lies in the middle. Any viewpoint that belongs to this wide range of insanity is deemed to fail miserably. You can definitely allow others to empower you to change, but only you know those changes that are required to enhance your own life. No one else knows you better than you do. If you do not believe that, it signifies that there are aspects of your personality that you utterly refuse to acknowledge. And to become fully aware of that you do not want to see about your own self is the answer to lifelong and lasting transformations.
As trivial as it may sound, change always comes from within. There is no other healthy way. And if no one ever sees that you have changed, so be it. To seek others’ approvals of your choices is dangerous, especially since most people resent the idea of walking away from the status quo that rules their lives.