On accepting people as they are

We have a tendency to want to change or help others become better versions of themselves. I suppose that’s just a human thing and part of our internal wiring.

Life is an ongoing process of learning, discovery and understanding. As I grow older and I become more receptive to understanding and accepting people for who they are and not what I feel they can become, I’m coming to recognize the danger of trying to change others. I’ve come to the place where I realize the importance of just letting people be who they are. It is good for them and also good for me. It safeguards me against hurts and prevents that person from becoming resentful to me for trying to push them into someone they are not, do not desire to become or was not created to be.

And its a dangerous and problematic thing, too. I’ve seen it. It breaks relationships, breaks hearts, it breaks lives. Because at the heart of it, we are signaling to the person we’d like change a sense of ‘not being enough’. Whether the change is valid or not, many walk away feeling flawed or inadequate. That’s why some people lose themselves in relationships because they try to fit a mold they were never made for. They morph into a personality they feel will satisfy the person they care for and in the process, they slowly lose themselves. The end result of this is always some sort of resentment or bitterness.


As I reflect on my life, I am mindful not to repeat mistakes. In my last relationship, I never asked my partner to become someone other than who I thought he was. To me, he, as he presented himself, was enough. I loved him for him and to the best of my memory, I never communicated to him in any way that I felt he needed change. I thought he was enough as he was and I loved him because he was he. Nothing more, nothing less. Somehow, signals got crossed to him, and from the very moment when friendship crossed into love and there was a desire to be more than friends, he felt that there was things he needed to suppress in order to gain my acceptance. I guess he never realized that he was already accepted as he was. It was only when that relationship ended I learned that there was so much of him he held back because he felt that certain parts of him was not good enough. We both hurt because of this. Because he felt he had to become this person he thought I would love, he stifled who he really was. Consequently, he acted out his resentment through the course of the relationship and it manifested in physical and verbal abuse. Not only did I suffer this but I was deprived of the experience of  truly knowing all of him. No wonder the relationship felt so disjointed at times.


Let people be who they are. Don’t try to change them. It’s frustrating, it leads to them either rebelling; because they feel you’re not accepting of them as they are, or to comply to satisfy, faking the change because they know that the change is important to you.

Maybe instead of trying to change others, we can decide to love and accept them as they are. I’m not suggesting that we should give up on the people we care for, not at all. We love, pray for and encourage them, if even in our hearts. But at the end of the day, we only have control over our personal choices. Not those of others. So, perhaps we should shift the focus to spending our time bettering ourselves, being positive role models and being the best versions of ourselves. And who knows, those people we’d like to see changes in may just be motivated and inspired to take the steps needed to become better versions of themselves, too.

Remember, change is a personal choice and individual process. Instead of trying to change someone, work on your personal development. What’s your take on the above? Chime in below and let’s get a conversation going.



  1. June 15, 2015 / 4:40 pm

    Yes, I too can relate to the morphing into something other than who we are, to please the one we are with. “Let people be who they are.” That is a very profound yet compromising statement. I once took part in a workshop with Terrance Buckmire, who said , and I have always remember that statement, ” People spent all their lives being who they are. We can’t just change them, just like that.” We have to let people be who they are, but this means that we may not be able to be with this person, not be suited to this person because of who they are. What we have to do, instead of fighting a losing battle to change them, is to recognize and be able to either adjust and fit in or be prepared to take a different path. Having a right to be who you are doesn’t make what you may do, because of who you are, right.

    In relationships, whether man/woman, parents/children etc…we have to learn to give and take and to compromise. Often you spend all of your life compromising, because of one thing or the other. You put yourself last. You sacrifice what you want, how you want to live, who you really are, because it doesn’t fit into your partner’s or the other people’s way. And yes, you begin to lose yourself, your true self. Then you end up with regrets. Big ones. And the thing is, you know you will, you are looking down the road and you could see them as clear as day, but you also know that you don’t have the access to that road. Or to gain access to that road, you will have to go through some real prickle bush, climb barbed wire fences, fall in zootie (nettle)….so you stay put and let fate…

  2. Carlana
    June 15, 2015 / 5:37 pm

    Hi Cindy. Thank you for the comment. Buckmire shared some wise words. It is a hard thing, but who are we to want to change another person? Everyone is constantly evolving, no one really stays the same. We can always just pray for them and subtly encourage them but people must find their own path. As we won’t want to morph into something that we don’t want to be or was not created to be, so they too.

    You’ve added much to the conversation and left me additional food for thought. Thanks for sharing and just be Cindy. Undiluted.

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