I've learned that You CAN change someone
by Alma Almodovar
I've heard it many times: You can't change anyone. The context of this affirmation is usually the topic of relationships (you cant' make your spouse be more affectionate or feel differently about something), or in terms of people's excesses and dangerous habits such as drug and alcohol addiction and other destructive behaviors. It's almost always followed by "they have to want to change themselves." I understand this to be true and that ultimately the decision to change and the act of changing has to come from within. But in my life I've experienced it- I have actually made someone change. Mind you, it's never been by force or intimidation. I learned a long time ago that ultimatums usually backfire: they are either disregarded completely and you end up redefining that line you traced on the ground, or you reach that "or else" point and it ends up you're the one making the change while the other person stays the same. The way I have influenced and caused change in another is by example and by being true to myself. I do not preach, but my friends know that if they come to me for my opinion they will get an honest one. I give each person I meet their due respect. Let me emphasize the word DUE, as in adequate and sufficient- never less but never more than what they've earned. I live my ideals and my values; they're not just abstracts in my mind but determining factors in my moment to moment actions. I believe most people to be intelligent enough to learn from mistakes, be either their own or someone else's. Just like everybody else I've made a bunch of little mistakes in my live, but thank God never a huge one that's cost me my soul. I have had people come to me and tell me "You made me change" and the funny thing-I wasn't even trying.