Saturday, May 25, 2024

You can’t change people, you can only love them

By Alexandra Tuale | September 26, 2023

What makes you happy? What makes you content? What makes you a great person—and what are your less desirable parts? These are very straightforward questions, but many people couldn’t come up with a list if they had to. 

Some people might come up with an answer. However, only a few will come up with what is truly theirs. Accompanying life is a society with all its labels, classes, and boxes with the pressure to fit in. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to let society fill in the blanks and answer for you. Society will decide your identity for you. 

Society, like a circus house of mirrors, can very well shape—if not distort—one’s sense of self if the answers weren’t clear to them in the first place.

But even the sharpest, most focused people with a good sense of the answers will give in to the right kind of pressure. People are content to be pebbles until the pressure of money calls. Status. Fame. Temptation, in its many forms. Even validation—whether from work, social media, or another person. 

Suddenly, everyone wants to be a diamond, ready to endure the pressure; whatever it takes to escape the discontent now and chase a better feeling. 

A better title. A bigger life.   

Love’s role in society’s circus house of mirrors is to be a mirror that gives a shining idea of the best—of the goodness in you so you don’t lose yourself in all the distortions. 

People need good mirrors—looking glasses that remind them of what it means to smile, to laugh, and to be loved. 

But that is all love will ever be: a mirror.

How powerless it feels to only be a mere reflective surface, but it’s true. In life, the people you love look right at you in the mirror, and the best you can do is remind them of the best they can be. 

Change is up to them: healing, recovery, improvement. 

It is not fueled by inspiration or motivation. No matter how hard or gentle and loving you push people toward the “right” direction, change is not powered by that. Change is powered by action—action prompted by a decision that is not yours to make. It is only ever theirs.

In moments life offers them to be changed people, you can be a loving echo; but only ever in the backseat of their minds. The decision remains in the driver’s hands. The direction of their life is theirs to decide. 

So, whether the direction is north or heartbreakingly south, dare to accept the people you can only love but never change. The irony is that because you love them—you want to change them for the better—healthier, happier. 

But you are only a mirror.


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