Do People Change?
This is one question many of us would have asked ourselves many times, with decisions over friendship, relationship, colleagues and family requiring constant need for reassurance. Really do people change?
From the religion point of view, it is believed that when you become a believer you put away old sinful behaviours and become a new person. The Bible actually emphasized that old things pass away and all things become new. Is this true of what we have come to know? How realistic is it for someone to turn a new leaf? Especially when some consider the way we are as our nature, so if this is true then can nature change?
Some few days back, I was with my four years old son and somehow he felt I had offended him, so he decided he wasn’t playing with me again. At first, I felt it was just a 4year old kidding around. So I tried getting his attention with an apple, which happens to be his favorite fruit but he refused. Still surprised, I tried teasing him but he was just blank. Who could have taught this little boy ‘Malice 101’? I used to be like that too though that was long time ago (I think), could it be something genetically transfered? Eventually, I had to apologize and slowly he became lively again. My point in all these, is that attitude, character or behavior starts to form at a very tender age, reason it is called nature, and somehow would become who we are as we grow older. If some attitudes are learned, while others are genetically transfered, then can something so intertwined like this change? Note: I am not trying to give you reasons not to want to change!
The desire to change is not enough to bring about change, not for love, not for religion, not for regret…
Change is said to be the only constant thing in life, it will happen with or without our consent. But with people there is always this mistaking of suppression or manifestation for change. I will like to share with you instances people term as change in others and what they really are:
1. Change by New Believe or Faith or Resolution
This is a change by choice, meaning the people involved voluntarily opt to change some things just to fit into a new lifestyle. This kind of change cannot be sustained over a long period of time without an external help. You don’t just raise your hand and confess some words and then become a changed person. Yes, you may be able to suppress who you are for some few weeks but not forever. Change by faith or believe is only sustainable when you have an external help (such as the Holy Spirit or friends who share your view around you ) constantly reminding you of the decision you have made (John 12:16). No wonder, you see people become born-again today and few months after they are gradually back to their old ways.
2. Change by Love
Love is the most beautiful thing with powers way out of the ordinary but even as powerful as love is, sustainable change is not assured. I will always tell people I counsel that if your marriage or relationship is based on “he/she will change” then you have failed even before you started. When it comes to love and relationship, people will promise heaven on earth, people will tell their partner whatever he/she wants to hear just to get what they want (have sex, peace of mind, marriage etc.). However, once they have what they want, they gradually warm their way back to their old ways. The best love can get is a lover that hides his/her old ways, suppressed though but still there and anything (fight, worries, money, discontent etc.) can trigger it.
3. Change by Wealth
It is always funny to me when someone tells me, ‘Mr. A has changed because he is rich now’. No Sir! Money doesn’t change people, it only brings out (manifestation) what the person has been suppressing because he was poor. So also lack of money doesn’t make man evil, it only brings out the evil the man has been suppressing. If lack of Money makes man evil then almost everyone on the street will be evil. Riches or lack of it is like catalyst, it (makes manifest) forces out into open what someone has been hiding, the true nature. Money doesn’t change people, money makes manifest!
Change requires more than making promises or crossing the heart, there has to be a third party involved; a being, a status, a personality constantly reminding us of the choice we made.
4. Change by Regret
Many of us can attest to it that we have changed so many things over time because at a point in time we have got burnt. Naturally, we learn more from our own mistakes and we are most likely to want avoid making same mistake all over again. That’s why it is often believed that when you correct a child with punishment, you have a high probably of moulding the child as desired. This is also the premises on which corrective facilities are built (jails). However, it is not 100%, as it is difficult to change nature, especially if it involves urge, desire and greed. When people get caught they are likely to hold back for a while but if it is something propelled by urge or greed, they are most likely going back there.
5. Change by Status
When status changes, some things just become beneath you or beyond you and this can definitely lead to some attitude being suppressed and eventually lost (change). Unlike what riches do, status adds a little bit of responsibility and this can go a long way to change people. But note that what status does first is to suppress not change immediately, it is only when an attitude has been suppressed for too long that it leads to permanent change.
Do people change?
Yes! People change but most people won’t, not that they don’t want to but because it is who they are and they can’t just wish that away. The desire to change is not enough to bring about change, not for love, not for religion, not for regret. Change requires more than making promises or crossing the heart, there has to be a third party involved; a being, a status, a personality constantly reminding us of the choice we made. Change won’t happen overnight no matter how committed someone is to it but with gradual suppression of what we are, we can become something new.
However, if wealth is what you are waiting for to become a changed person, trust me that won’t happen because wealth would only bring out those other things that lack of wealth has been able to suppress and the truth is if you are a bad person wealth would only make you worse.
Never base your relationship decisions on ‘hope that someone will change’, if you cannot cope with the worst someone can throw at you, then you have no business signing “forever” with the person. Whenever, you look at someone, it is best you see them for who they are and not who you hope they would be. Life has shown that there is a higher probability they remain who they are or even worse, than to change into what you hoped they will be.