Why You Need To Stop Trying To Change People
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For those of you who don’t know the story of the scorpion and the frog – allow me to enlighten you. A scorpion needed to cross a river, so he approached a frog to ask for help. The frog denied him, saying “Why should I trust you? You could easily sting me.”
The scorpion assured the frog he would be safe because if he were to sting the frog during their trip, they would both drown. The frog, figuring this made sense, agreed to transport the scorpion. Half way across the river, the scorpion stung the frog, and they began to sink.
When the frog asked why, the scorpion replied, “Because it’s in my nature…”
This raises the question – can people really change, even if they want to? I believe there are certain aspects of a person’s nature that are instilled in them, but I also believe that you can create yourself, as well as the reality around you.
If you are trying to change someone who doesn’t want to be changed, you are fighting an uphill battle. One of the hardest things in life is to want better for someone you care about, when they don’t want it for themselves.
I can relate to the innate urge to always want to help others, but there is a tipping point where you get diminishing returns, meaning you’re putting so much effort into trying to help someone else, you are actually hurting yourself.
How many painstaking heart-to-hearts do you have with someone, virtually to the point of tears, where you are waiting for them to snap into the person you want them to be? Where you are looking for a spark to light up within them and they finally accept your words into their heart and change? Will they, ever?
This is a fine line to walk, and terribly conflicting to the individual trying to do the helping. There is no easy answer, some people just don’t (won’t) listen, and you’ll have to accept that they need to learn on their own. It is not your job to change them.
I fully believe we should all live our lives trying to help and support others – but only until it begins to hinder your own progress. Some people just are not in a position to love. They are not in a position to accept the light you can offer them into their life, and the harsh reality is – there’s nothing you can do about it.
To continue to try to change a person so they will want to be with you, or to treat you better, or to love you, is to willingly become the frog.
Consider the story. Is either character really to blame? The frog was doing his best to help another, even though he knew he was taking a risk. The scorpion made a promise but could not keep it because of his unchangeable nature. Can either be blamed, or must they just be sympathized for? In theory, their intentions were good, but that does not always mean the result will be.
There comes a time where each of us has to decide when to cut the chain anchoring us to negative people in our lives. This means change, and change is hard. Change is hard because we think we are losing something (usually people) from our lives – but in reality, you’re just discovering who is meant to stay, and who is meant to go.
Don’t be the frog that falls for the scorpion. Be there for someone, support them, and help them where you can. Maybe someday you will inspire them change and become better. But if it happens, it will be because they decided to.
Care for others, but live for yourself.
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