“Why can’t you love me for who I am?”
You’ve heard some variation of this question, whether from someone you actually know or while watching some dramatic interaction on the telly. It’s usually a question that doesn’t really want a real answer. It’s typically asked to shame the other person more than anything else. The implicit assumption is that real love wouldn’t want or ask for someone to change anything about themselves.
I’m not sure if that’s true. Here is why.
- You will change, guaranteed
- As the renowned Timothy Keller points out in the Meaning of Marriage, you should never be so enamored by the person your partner is right now that you would be devastated if they ever change. Why? Because they definitely will. Experience changes us. Time changes us. Relationships change us! It’s inevitable.
- You should want to change
- Everyone has varying degrees of ickiness in themselves. Let’s take for example, me. I like myself. I think I’m pretty legit. Yet, I know I have flaws. My acknowledgment of my flaws doesn’t lead me to severe self-hatred, but I do want to tame or obliterate them depending on their severity.
- People who love you should want you to change
- My friends and family who support me in moving forward and becoming a better version of myself are good for me. I am thankful for them. Who wants a friend spitting out their tobacco and snarling “You think you’re better than us?” and resenting your growth? Not I, said the fly.
- You cannot change everything about yourself
- An important distinction in this entire Chat du Change is to strive for – and hope for, in others – changes that are actually possible and/or likely. I may not like that I can be overly emotional sometimes, but barring a drastic personality change I’m not likely to become a stoic anytime soon. BUT, I can still hope to change how much I am controlled by my wavepool of feels.
All that being said, I also know it’s foolish to enter into a relationship (romantic or otherwise) wanting and expecting someone to change in the exact way that I want — especially if that person shows no signs of wanting that change themselves. Or, even if they appreciate the idealized version of themselves, they are making little to no progress getting there.
[IMPORTANT ADDENDUM 04/12/19: I have had a few fellas that became very smitten with a version of Cgallo that wasn’t real. It’s a little delicate, but maybe the best scenario is to have clear double vision — the ability to see and love who someone is now, but also the ability to see, love, and support a future version of themselves that they see and want to become too. I think?! I ain’t no relationship therapist! ]
Altogether, I think what might be important is surrounding yourself with people who are excited for and encourage you to be the person you could and will probably turn into. Anddddd can put up with your flaws in the meantime. God bless ‘em!