A tiger cannot change its stripes, they say.
Some people firmly believe that people in general are incapable of changing. I am here to tell you that this is bullshit.
ANYBODY can change. Period. The main issue is – do you want to change?
You may question why I am emphasizing want. That is because even if you need change, you have to WANT it to make it happen. It is only with a deep, emotional desire to change that you can make change in your life.
Like most of the things I explore while Pathwalking, you need thought, emotion and action to change yourself. But in addition to this, you need to be aware of how you judge yourself, because the process of changing who you are will have missteps, errors, mistakes and miscalculations abounding.
I talk a lot about outside influences in regards to Pathwalking. Since there are many who do not believe that people can change, there are many who will not see you for who you are, but who you WERE. It is imperative that you see yourself for who you are and not who you were as you make changes in your life.
I have written here many times before that change is inevitable. Everything changes, sometimes quickly, sometimes infinitesimally slowly, but EVERYTHING changes. Part of what I explore here week after week is taking the driver’s seat and directing and controlling change.
Because everything changes, people cope differently with this notion. Some do very well with rolling with the punches and shifting matters. Some, though, find change offputting, difficult, and distressing. They are constantly fighting to keep up or struggling to hold onto what was instead of what is.
When a person desires to change, it is not for anyone but the person making changes to judge. This can be an especially difficult concept to grasp, in particular when the change you are seeing is not something you comprehend as a good change. What I define as a positive change you may not see that way, and vice versa. What matters is that the person making a given change be doing as they desire.
So why do people believe that people are incapable of change? I think this is largely fear based. Change, while inevitable, can be scary. It is the end of the status quo. It is the unknown. It is different, it is uncertain. When change is about a person this can be particularly scary.
We all put people in specific places – some refer to them as boxes, buckets, even spoons. We have categories and subcategories in which we lay them. And then we like when we have it all figured out and arranged. It is ordered, it makes sense. Until they change. Now we have these definitions and beliefs about a person that are outdated and incorrect.
I am guilty of this myself. There are people I see a certain way, some from my own experience and some through the eyes and experiences of my friends. I place people in that particular box, and that is where they reside.
This is something I need to approach differently. I am not the man I was just a few years ago, yet there are still people who see me and judge me based on data that is nearly two decades old. I do not appreciate that they do this to me – so why do I do it to others?
Cliché though it may be, do unto others as you would have others do unto you. I cannot continue to judge people in an unfair manner based on outdated information lest I want people to continue to judge ME in an unfair manner based on outdated information. People change – I know that I have, and still do. So how come it is so hard for me to see it with and in others?
Is it human nature to judge people, or learned behavior? I don’t know, but I do know that I can change this. Change is not a dirty word, it is not something to be feared, it needs to be embraced, examined, explored and enlightened. Yes, some change is NOT good, some change is backwards or unfortunate or otherwise bad – but change will happen, and cannot be stopped. It can only be directed.
Human beings have the unique ability to make our own destinies. We can be whom we want, we can live where we want, we can do what we want, and we always have choices and options before us. Life is not meant to be static and unchanging – change is growth.
One more very important note – I am sure I have written this before, but it cannot go without saying – NO ONE can change anyone else. You and you alone can change who you are, how you think, what you do, and every other aspect of your life. I cannot change you, I can only influence you for good or ill or not-at-all in regards to change. When you realize that everyone changes, all you can do is decide if it changes for YOU how you regard them or not.
A human is not a tiger, and though a tiger may not be able to change its stripes, there is very little a human cannot change about him or herself.
This is the one-hundred thirteenth entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Thank you for joining me.