You Cannot Change People


Today, I want to write about something everybody would have come across before. I want to share it in my own perceptive.

When I was in Goethe Institut (German School) in Victoria Island, I had a German lecturer. She was a perfectionist, and a core believer in nature.

I decided to write about this today because, something happened over the weekend and that reminded me of what she said years ago.

She said, ‘’you can’t change people. If you are trying to change anyone and they won’t change, just leave them for that is their nature.’’

That word is deep, I never really reflected on it until recently when I started coming across certain kind of people.

She said that because, in the class (we were about 20) there was a boy called Andy (not real name).  Andy was a dullard and a slow learner.

The German lecturer had to teach every topic she taught the previous day again every day because of Andy!

We were not comfortable with it because we felt he was bringing us backwards and wasting our lesson time.

Even though we didn’t expressly say it to the lecturer, she already knew the grudge we were nursing.

So, one day she came to the class and told us a story (I can’t really recall) about how you shouldn’t expect everybody to be the same.

She said people differ in everything. At this point we were wondering what she was hinting at. It was almost at the end we got to know she was referring to Andy!

Andy also spoke little English. He invariably found it hard coping with the German language. Maybe he was one of those children whose parents forced them to always speak native languages at home.

Maybe he was one of those children whose parents do not know the essence of the English language at home. So how could he understand German if he couldn’t speak English!

The lecturer pleaded with us to be patient with him. If having to learn slowly is his nature then we can’t change that. And that we should not try changing him, if he won’t change.

Leave him the way he is, ”it is trying to change people that bring about misunderstanding between two people” she said.

It landed like a thunderbolt on my head. I recall thinking ‘’ that’s it.” For like three minutes, I was lost in my own world trying to assimilate what she had just said.

She had just taught me something I never really thought about in my whole life. She couldn’t have said it any better.

Ever since she said that to us, I have come to realize that truly you cannot change people. Everybody is unique in their own way.

I have in the past tried changing someone close to me. She never changed. I felt disappointed. She was angry I was being manipulative.

We ended up having issues. Eventually we went our separate ways. I was sad because I only wanted the best for her but lost the friendship in the bid for that.

It is not worth it trying to fix things that can’t be fixed. Or trying to play the ”I-know-it-all” game with people around you and expect them to agree with you!

Don’t persuade people to do your bid. If after once they still go back to doing the same thing, then you should let them be.

Almost nine out of ten times, the reason we fall out with people is because, we expect them to be like us. We want to change them at all cost.

And when they don’t change, trouble sets in. There will be peace and harmony in our lives the moment we take people they way they are and share in their struggles to overcome their challenges.

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