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There is one sentence that both amuses and confuses me every time I hear it. The amusement part is because I know very well that it is simply not true, and the confusion because it is believed by too many to be dismissed as harmless. You've probably heard it numerous times too: “People don’t change.” Hmmmm, says who? Sometimes I do wonder who comes up with those cliche statements that go on living for decades in people's heads. But it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we blindly accept them as the truth that is influencing our lives for years to come. Isn’t it ironic that the main reasons of our existence—growth, learning, transformation, evolution—are pretty much contradicted in one short sentence? Boom! Just like that, seven billion people are given a diagnosis. And the greatest excuse of all time. To stay small and powerless over their own nature. Because inability to change equals losing in this game of life. Not in the eyes of ego who has all kinds of goals that feel good short-term, I’m talking about the bigger picture here.
I mean, there you are—a modern human, a result of billions of years of evolution, having overcome multiple obstacles in his way, adapted to ever-changing conditions, made it here despite wars, famines, plagues, ice ages, asteroids, wild animals, and natural disasters, to name a few. A survivor no less. And yet, supposedly incapable of changing himself. And all other achievements suddenly pale in comparison, as surely a being that powerful should be able to change his own self if that would make his life better. What an epic fail of an otherwise grandiose performance. Or is it?
Well, the good news: It's a false statement. Having said that, words are more significant than many are aware of and beliefs like this are embedded in our psyche and direct our life. We literally speak things into existence. So why on Earth would so many believe this nonsense to begin with? I do see one possible explanation of this phenomena. If I start to remember every conversation I've witnessed this sentence coming up, more often than not, it involved a third party that was not present. So either a sort of gossip or just a rant of someone complaining about their partner, relative, etc. And this is where it gets interesting, as that is actually a very common human tendency: Wanting to change the other person, pointing a finger, and often a complete unwillingness to look at their own attitude and the way it contributes to the situation. To stop reacting and start responding. Nobody has a power over us unless we willingly give it to them. Sometimes we have to give that power away because we simply had no choice, as it is often the case with toxic parents—at some point we depended on them for our survival. But as we mature, it becomes our responsibility to heal and to take our power back. Responsibility is one of the keywords here, as it’s something many avoid when it comes to doing inner work. And a natural consequence of that is wanting to change someone else. The thing is, change is not easy. It’s a daily commitment to learn about yourself and see where you fall short. Every single one of us has some blind spots—things we do not see in ourselves and things that often sabotage our best intentions. Since it’s not that easy to change yourself, just imagine how difficult is to change someone else—a person with their own free will and lessons to learn. It is impossible and unnecessary, so yes—in this context—people don’t change. Not in order to make your life easier anyway.