You can’t change the people around you…
I first heard this phrase on a podcast a little while ago and it stuck with me. It’s a clever play on English, and probably one of the many reasons why this language is so hard to learn;
You can’t change the people around you, but you can change the people around you.
I’m not going into the grammar or syntax of that statement, only the fact that when I heard it and thought about it, I got the gist of what it was trying to say. This was my interpretation and it might not be for everyone. I’m not out to change the people around me, but I do know I can change the people around me. It is humbling and empowering at the same time, and you need to have both qualities to be effective. When people don’t want to change - especially when you see the need for them to do so, it can be frustrating and even annoying. When it is harmful to themselves or hurtful to others it becomes particularly difficult. The only person you can change is yourself, so if they don’t change, there’s not much you can do. Despite this, do what you can (because that’s what you can do) and move on with your life.
That’s where the second part of the phrase kicks in. Change the people around you. Who are they and do they support and encourage you? The people around you should literally mean just that… Social media does not count. This is about being real, not being popular. Make and keep good friends, create deep and meaningful connections and go for quality over quantity every time. Some people were meant to be around for a season, and others for a lifetime. You won’t always know who it is going to be, so be prepared for both!
So when even when you can’t change the people around you, you can change the people around you!