Wednesday, February 20, 2008

the changling

"people don't change" my dad said to me a few months back. people are who they are, what they are, for better or worse, forever and ever amen. this is something i had not ever given much thought to. i have always assumed that people do change, are at least capable of change, if they really want to change. and that even if they don't try to change that at least they do anyway whether they want to or not because of growing older, wiser, becoming more experienced. but maybe those aren't the changes i'm really talking about.

i am all about change. i don't know how to not change. for as long as i can remember, i've changed my appearance to fit my moods. i've changed ideas and my point of view when i learn something new or different that makes more sense than my previously held view. some might call that simply "wishy-washy"...okay, if you like, i don't mind. but i've just always been open to change. never completely closing my mind to anything. i'll listen and learn, always.

one of the things that has been hardest for me to let go of in the last few years is my need to control things. my need to try to change people for their own good. oh my gosh, that just makes me laugh now to say it out loud (type it out loud??). that just isn't my job is it?

still, sometimes, i just want to shake people and say "open your eyes! stop doing stupid harmful things!" but since i can't do that, i turn that energy on myself.

i have found that sometimes, even when people ask for "advice" on how to change a particular thing that they really aren't looking for help. they are just needing an audience. i rarely give advice (and when i do, it is because someone has asked, which isn't often) and i rarely ask for it myself. i just can't think of anything that i really need help with that i can't somehow figure out if i really put some thought into it. every now and then i will think i need help with something. maybe blog about it or write on one of my email groups. but in the end, i know i'm not in need of any real help, i'm just interested in an audience or at least an interesting conversation. i sometimes think of seeking advice as the same thing as seeking attention. i mean, how often does anyone follow the advice they've sought out. so it only makes sense that they just wanted an audience, someone to commiserate with.

i like to read books about things i want to be better at. so maybe that's a form of seeking advice. some things i read i find useful and use that information to make changes in my life for the better. other things i read i find to be irrelevant to my life so i discard them. this is true especially with parenting books. i take what works and leave all the rest out. this is how most of my changes have come about. through learning new things, new ideas. i know for certain that i have changed for the better because of this learning.

i think what my dad was talking about though was personalities. can those be changed? i wonder. i think maybe they can, if you really learn to look at yourself honestly. if there is something that you don't like about your personality, can you change it?

well, time's up for today. i don't know if this is where i intended to end this. but it's all i have time for.Share


CG said...

about change, what I've always maintained is that people don't change. Except if they do, I believe it AFTER they've been changed for three years. I do believe people change, in big ways too, but rarely. And if someone is telling you they've changed, well, mostly they are playing you. Changing your mind or approach to or view of something or having evolutionary change is not what I'm talking about.

Have you changed since I met you, what?, seven years ago? I'd say not much. I'd say you aren't doing that much differently either. I think you've addressed and healed some of your issue things but are you fundamentally different?

Do you remember my friend who did the storytelling at SOFH that time, DonnaMarie? She was a vegetarian for FOREVER and isn't now and hasn't been for ten years and is she different for it? No. Has she changed? Not really.

as for advice, I often want to give it. And sometimes I do. Like you do not want to try to milk a cow that is half Angus. I guess that qualifies as unasked for advice. But sh*t. I often want to say even more than I do. I do not understand why people are willing to not change sometimes. Or to only pretend to change. Lip service to change.

Which is one reason I blog -- to say, I've changed and this is what my life is like and it is good. You can too -- but you well know that basically people don't want to. I'm watching Ren! LOL! I think she gets more than most people and I'm shocked honestly. (waving to Ren)


Ren said...


I've changed a lot in the last 10 years. I've changed my whole life. By change I mean ideas/views/methods. Basic personality is there, sure. But I think I'm a lot like Laura as far as being open to certain kinds of changes. I'm less willing for other changes at this point in life (like moving unless it involves a lot of property for growing things).

I think moving is a change. I think walking away from Christianity was a big change. I think transitioning to gentle parenting and unschooling is a delightful change. A lot of that was heartwrenching and challenging and BIG for me. Yes, it's change even if I'm basically the same person. Some of the changes I'm making now are quite challenging, yet necessary in order to truly honor my inner desires.

We're born with a certain set of traits. How those get expressed can be so drastically different depending on our awareness of those things and our willingness to change away from what society and parent taught us.

Life is change. To go with the flow of change is be the same basic person while going with that flow can be good too.:)

I like to give advice though.;) Sometimes I do bite my tongue. See it bleeding?

Ren said...

A drastic change I meant to mention, is my ability to trust myself. It doesn't just come with experience, it's partly an ability to shut off voices that were put in your head as a child. Voices that don't serve you well. THAT is a huge change that I don't see a lot of people able to make.

Being a rebel/misfit helps in that regard. It's possible that it's less painful for some people to be "different". Maybe that's why I get so damn frustrated with the boob-job, am-I-ever-good-enough mentality I run into all the time (yeah, retail sucks in that regard) because I see NO willingness to examine anything. Call it lack of awareness, willing ignorance..whatever. I think it's a fear of change.

tracy :-) said...

Hi my friend!! Interesting thoughts on change. Well...basically I *know* I have changed , and the people closest to me know what I mean ;-)I base my coaching around change...this is what I have seen; if people want to change, become aware and work towards it daily...over time there is true change! PeaceOut! T

laura said...

i find it so interesting. most people will say that they know they have changed, and i believe it, i do believe people change. i know that i have. yet those changes aren't necessarily going to be recognized by others. even those that are close to your heart. or maybe the changes aren't significant enough. but they are to me. to the person who has worked and is still working towards change. i've decided that it is okay though. i didn't at first. i wanted that validation. but it's just okay. it really is. so i'm working on my part two post on this idea of change. i'm still exploring what it is i feel it is i still need to change in myself. my personality. not just choices or habits. it should be interesting to see what comes of that.

CG said...

I think I understand la what you and Ren are talking about as “change”. I remember, for example, believing that I would never homeschool. I said, in fact, that I would never do that to my kids. But the information I had then was faulty. When I knew better, I did better. And it didn't take my kids getting to school age for me to figure that out.

I always wanted to live way out with lots of different animals, but our exact expression of that is influenced by a lot of different things.

I just think this is about seeing very different things as fundamental "change".

I want to read that book Crunchy Cons on your sidebar though! Thanks for that!

laura said...

i agree. i think that everyone has a different definition of what it means to change. what??? people having different ideas?? LOL!! i think it's really interesting though to think (really hard) about how we see other people. this is something i never thought was important enough to explore so much before. i'm in this place of big learning right now about myself and how i interract with the world around me (it is not pretty, but i never really thought it was. just didn't know it was sort of actually ugly). and looking at all that has forced me to notice how people have or have not changed. how i have and have not. and what it is people actually strive to change (or not). what is important enough for them to take notice of and do something about.