How to Change for the People You Love

Other people see things you don’t.

  1. It is a widely-held romantic belief that if we should love someone, we must love them as they are. There is no room for change — one must accept the other, flaws and imperfections included. This implies that romantics believe that human beings are split into two: the body and the soul. For “true love” to be experienced, one must only love the “soul” without caring about how the body looks like. It is a deep and noble yearning for something immortal and unchangeable.
  2. Romanticism wants to believe that love will defeat death. “Til death do us part” implies that if death did not exist, we would not have to part. But all physical things are temporary, and are therefore changeable. Anything that can be corrupted will soon be corrupted with rust, age, or weathering. Human beings are not exempt from this.
  3. It is easy and amusing to box people into MBTI categories or Zodiac signs, but when one is in a real relationship, one will see that any person at close range is more complex than what their Buzzfeed personality test claimed they’d be like.
  4. I agree that we must be loved as we are. But who are we? People can change precisely because people don’t have one personality. Aren’t we different people when we are in different crowds? People are capable of changing themselves if they genuinely want to grow. There are many ways to change. People go to therapists, gym coaches, and spiritual directors. We can change, and if we want to grow, we will.
  5. When your friend suggests that you try something new, it is with a basic understanding that you have already been accepted you as you were. Friends notice things you don’t, but it is up to us to decide if this is worth doing something about. This is the same in a relationship. If a person ties another person down, or if that person does not care for one’s growth, won’t we feel resentful? We change because we can and we must, and if our partner does not gently suggest changes or support our growth, then we must begin to wonder if they deserve us at all.