Have you ever tried to change someone? I have.
The thing is, I have always thought that I’m the kind of person who would always accept people for who they are.
When I realized I actively tried to change several people in my life, the ones closest to me, I was very upset. I didn’t take it well.
This bubble of acceptance that I thought was a part of my life burst right in my face.
I believe that every human being has a right to be whoever they want to be. I honestly do. So, what happened?
In my everyday life, certain things that people in my surroundings were doing made me feel like my needs weren’t being met.
What actually happened was that I was too selfish to see that people were just living their lives and just because something else would suit me better it didn’t mean they were doing anything wrong.
I became a selfish control freak who had one mission only: make other people adapt to me, my needs and my schedule. Awful… I know, I’m still ashamed that that’s who I was.
I lied to myself that I cared so much about other people and that’s why I was trying to ‘inspire’ and ‘motivate’ them to become the best versions of themselves, while I was actually trying to make them into something I thought they should be or needed them to be.
4 Reasons Why You Should Stop Trying To Change People
1. It isn’t possible
You can’t change anyone. You simply can’t do it. Even if someone wants to change, only they can do it.
There’s nothing you can plan, say or do that would make a person truly change until something happened in their mind that triggered their need to change.
It might seem for a while that a person has changed because someone who loves you will probably want to humor you and try their best to be the person you want them to be.
Still, that can’t last forever. There are many elements that come together to make a person who they are and you can’t simply change something that’s already a huge part of your personality.
See also: 6 Signs He Will Never Change
2. It’s frustrating and exhausting
There’s enough negativity in your mind from judging someone, so trying to change them and failing will cause even more.
I know that you’re thinking you have it all figured out and that you have a perfect strategy that will help that one person change.
When you try doing what you had planned, it might seem to work for a while. However, as already said in the first reason, there’s no way it will last. Enter frustration.
You will be so mad and for what? You’ll be mad at that person who only tried to change themselves to suit your needs but failed.
There will be so many mixed emotions and there will be nothing you can do to stop the situation from going from bad to worse.
After you do this a couple of times, you’re going to be so exhausted. Give it up, it doesn’t work.
3. You need to focus your energy on working on yourself
One crucial step in learning to accept other people is learning to accept yourself. All the extra energy you’ll have from not trying to change others should be focused on trying to improve yourself.
Use all that time and strength for your personal growth, rather than wasting it on something that was never even a possibility.
Stop pointing out everything that’s wrong with other people and take a good look at yourself. Everybody has things they could change for the better.
Channel your energy into helping yourself become a better person, instead of forcing it on other people.
When it comes from a place of kindness and love, change can be amazing. Every idea about how one person can change for the best should be applied to yourself instead of others.
4. You wouldn’t like someone to try to change you, would you?
Change isn’t easy. It takes a lot of work, even when you want it. Imagine if someone else, a person you love, was forcing you to change because you didn’t fit their idealized image of who you should be. Sounds awful, right?
Treat others the way you want to be treated. It really works.
Don’t push your beliefs, attitudes or opinions on others. Everybody has their own and they aren’t pushing them on you.
Break up with this vicious habit by asking yourself one simple question: What right do I have to force anyone to change?
None, the same way no one has a right to force you to change.
10 Ways To Accept People For Who They Are:
1. Respect their individuality
Every person is a unique human being. The beauty of this world is in the fact that everyone is different, a combination of different virtues, flaws, character, upbringing…
There are a lot of things that make us who we are. Loving someone means respecting who they are, with everything that makes them that way.
You can’t accept one part of someone without accepting the other parts. Everything you see is a part of a whole—their interesting, unique personality.
Everyone sees the world differently and their perspective affects their behavior tremendously and most importantly, everyone has the right to behave according to their beliefs, wants, desires and needs.
2. Let go of your ideals
There’s a certain image in your head of what other people should be like. The more controlling you are, the more you force this image on them, pushing them to become who you think they should be.
The thing is, why would you even think about what or who anyone else should be but you?
The biggest part of your acceptance of others is realizing you don’t get to decide what the best possible version of anyone is but yourself.
You absolutely need to let go of that image and those ideals. Not only for others but for yourself as well, because accepting yourself is crucial in learning how to accept others.
3. Put yourself in their shoes
Have you ever argued with someone and at one point in the argument started to think of everything they could say to you to prove their point? As human beings, it is natural for us to be empathetic and compassionate.
The best way to truly understand where your loved ones are coming from is to put yourself in their shoes. If you seem to have a problem with accepting people for who they are, you should try to do this.
Imagine that you’re them. Try to think about as many details as you can that are a part of their life and think about how you’d act in that exact situation.
More often than not, this will make you realize they’re doing great, given the circumstances. Understanding people will help you accept them.
4. Focus on their good sides
It’s easy to notice someone’s flaws. Everybody has them and they are usually pretty obvious.
If you want to move in the accepting direction, you’ll have to put less focus on people’s flaws and focus more on their good sides.
There are many little things that can be annoying about a person but let’s be honest; there are many more beautiful things about them.
We usually take for granted everything someone does well and accentuate everything they do wrong. If you stop doing this, it will be so much easier to accept people.
Keep in mind that the person you’re judging is probably doing a lot of work to do everything they do well. They can’t be perfect, as no one is.
5. Be grateful to have them
That being said, practice gratitude. Make a conscious decision to start having more gratitude for everything those people represent in your life.
When you think about everything that’s positive about them and all the positive ways they affect your everyday life, start having and showing more gratitude.
Focusing on people’s flaws is not only the wrong way to maintain relationships but it keeps you from recognizing them for everything beautiful they give you and every wonderful way they improve your life.
6. Be compassionate
There are no right/wrong dichotomies. You should avoid thinking about the world, the people in your life and everything they do or don’t do in black and white. It’s never that way. There’s always so much of a gray area.
Don’t only notice the aftermath of what someone did; instead, try to be compassionate toward their circumstances.
Have empathy toward what your loved ones are going through in their lives because a lack of acceptance usually comes from a lack of compassion and understanding.
7. Stop making comparisons
Everybody has their own way they like to live their life. In most people’s minds, there’s a certain idea of who they want to be and what kind of people they like.
If you constantly compare the people in your life with the idea you have in your head of who YOU should be, they will probably never pass that test.
There’s no reason for anyone to fit the way you believe you should live your life.
Stop comparing other people to yourself and also stop comparing them to anyone else. Again, everybody is unique and each has unique life circumstances.
8. Accept them and everything they do
The only way to live your present life filled with positivity and love is with acceptance. Self-acceptance comes first and it’s directly related to your self-esteem.
People who accept themselves can be more open to accepting people for who they are with everything they do in their life.
We may think that we are an accepting, loving person but our daily interaction can show otherwise. Pay attention to listening, understanding and truly accepting the people you live, interact or work with.
9. Remember why you wanted them in your life in the first place
There’s a reason why you chose someone to be a part of your life. They attracted you with something that made you want to make them stay around. Think about this when you decide they should change.
You liked them for who they were at the beginning, even though you realize now there are things that bother you but remember everything that drew you to them in the first place.
If they are your family and so you were bound to spend time with them, then remember what importance they have in your life.
10. Watch your thoughts
Nobody ever decides to become an unaccepting person. Those destructive thoughts creep in slowly, one by one, building up in your mind until you find yourself being overly negative toward the behavior of your loved ones.
If you start to get overly critical, remember that criticism toward others is usually the result of our personal criticisms. The judgments of others often come from the judgments of ourselves.
Block negative thoughts by instantly thinking positively, remembering everything you’ve learned reading this article.
The first time you do this might be weird for you but once you get used to jumping to positive conclusions instead of negative ones, it will become a regular part of your thinking process.
It all comes down to this…
You need to allow others to be different. The world would be incredibly boring if we all had the same beliefs, interests and behaviors.
No matter how uncomfortable you may be with a certain way someone chooses to live their life or certain things they do that you don’t find to be the best possible choice, you still have to let them choose their own path.
If you’re anything like I was, you’re trying to make people see things your way.
It constantly feels like there’s no way to get through to them, it feels like you can’t reach them and you keep looking for ways to do exactly that.
I hate to be the one to break this to you but there’s rarely only right and wrong and nothing makes you competent enough to decide what someone should or should not do.
It’s not your job to control how other people feel, what kind of vibes they get from the world or the choices they make in order to live their life the way they see fit.
No matter how much you love someone, it doesn’t give you the right to try to change them.
The only right choices are to accept people for who they are and motivate them to live their best life by loving them and caring for them and not telling them how they should live it.
Important disclaimer: Bullying, harassment or verbal or physical abuse aren’t things to be accepted.
If someone is intentionally ruining your self-esteem, endangering your psychological or physical well being, that’s not something to be accepted.
Not only should you not try to change that kind of person but you should also run away from them as quickly as you can and as far away as possible and seek necessary help and protection.