Mark looked on at Sally, confused, and emotions pouring out in reaction to what Sally said to him. He never thought Sally could think of him in this way. Sally made an ultimatum; either he changes how he behaves or she’s out. What should Mark do? Is Sally using one character moment to base their whole relationship on this? Could she really make such an ultimatum at the expense of a relationship they invested in? How many of these such situations occur every day and yet people’s lives change because of what someone else expressed to another in order to get them to change, either to only make them feel worse for themselves or compromise for short term happiness and suffering in the long run.
I can’t help but notice recent observations of how many people are concerned about wanting to change because it would allow them to be invited into the sphere and space of another person. It’s a trend I seem to find more often because people just feel the need to be accepted by certain people so that their social fulfillment is satiated. Some will jump at the slightest criticism, thinking that they should change a certain trait or behavior because a particular important person feels that it’s not good for them; there is a subconscious fear that this important person will not accept them unless they change. Whatever happened to the good old adage that you as a person are unique and only you know what’s best for you?
There could be a number of reasons why this trend seems to be occurring recently. I mostly blame it on the progress of social media and how it is diluting relationships at all levels. To clarify, when I state ‘diluting,’ I am referring to the process of where people used to engage on a face to face level rather than instant messages and profile posts to each other, so much so that the depth of relationships are no longer what they used to be. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big advent and believer of social media and the many benefits it offers on other aspects such as growing a personal brand or keeping in touch with long distance friends and relatives. But social media seems to influence the popularity of a person in a certain social circle so much so that even sometimes what we reveal online socially and how others perceive it becomes an abiding passion for some.
What I do need to ask is where are the priorities of people heading? If someone wants to criticize you for a particular behavior or trait, understand by all means this will happen because humans in general want to express their opinions just to be heard and to get some form of attention. Sometimes these same people criticize you for such behaviors because it can reflect the very same behavior or trait they inherently contain at some point during their lives and it touches a chord too strong to ignore for them; the only option for them then is to obey their ego and ‘attack’ you at some level.
Here is what I believe: you should NEVER ever change yourself for another person’s approval or acceptance; it’s probably one of the most absurd things you could possibly think of doing. On the contrary, change yourself only if YOU truly believe that such a change is for your own good. Read that line again! If you feel that as a person you will grow and become better by changing a behavior or trait, by all means do that, but not for the sake of making person X or Y your new best friend because now you ‘obeyed’ their request. What makes each of us different are these different behavioral characteristics which is why trying to standardize a level of behavior will make our society robotic. The uniqueness of such a person may dissolve over time which is what made them interesting in the first place. Some behaviors though that are common place may be observed and expressed as genuine concern for you, such as anger. The pitfalls of anger are obvious and should be looked at seriously for your overall personal benefit, and not because someone is trying to make you look bad.
Personal experience has shown that you will arrive at a point in your life where you want to change something about yourself because YOU have a yearning to do so. This is when you begin to recognize a part of you or your soul wants to evolve. Like many people before, I have also fallen into the trap of trying to change to make someone accept me for who I am; it’s a futile exercise because it’s like a band-aid procedure which just covers the actual scar or wound the person has inflicted on you. The saying that words can be harmful are so true in these situations so it’s imperative to take people’s opinions of you with a pinch of salt. Observe what your critics say; but YOU decide in the end if it’s worth your growth to change. Change for Yourself ONLY!
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Disclaimer: The opinions in this piece are solely those of the author and in no way reflect any person, institution or theory, nor is the author associated with any specific publication or institution. This article is purely for business and informative purposes.