Change It Up
Whoever created the idiom “You can’t change people” was just plain wrong. I mean, who comes up with these idioms anyway? A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?
Really? Why am I grabbing birds out of bushes? Why are we ignoring the fact that people change because of other people everyday? Bunch of stupids is what they are, these idiom people. It’s like they enjoy coming up with crap just to say they did. Do they expect us to gobble up their drivel, and accept it as absolute?! Should we just roll over while they tell us what to think and what to say?! Are we supposed to just take all their country colloquialisms as divine wisdom?! I digress.
Point is, the idiom “You can’t change people” misses the mark. Certainly, you can change people. Often, people we don’t even know change who we are. The inspirational words of a Steve Jobs or the actions of a Gandhi have the potential to change a person’s direction in life, their thinking habits, or simply the words they speak to others. Likewise, our friends, partners, and family have been responsible for most of the change we experience in our life.
Most often, this phrase is used to refer to changing the behavior of a partner. The idea, of course, is that you cannot change your partner’s actions or behaviors to meet your vision of who they should be; whether by changing what they wear or how they eat or what they do for a living, the belief is that you can’t change who they are, so don’t even try.
Yet, it is our belief that you most certainly can effect change in someone towards a direction you see to be better! Relationships determine who we are at a core level. They change what makes us who we are, for better, or for worse. The fact that you will change someone is inevitable. Knowing how you will change someone, that’s the tricky bit!
While this subtlety may not seem mind blowing we, at Booty Jams, believe it’s an important distinction to make.
There is something diabolical, something almost sinister, about the idea that we will always stay the way we are. To tell ourselves that we cannot actively change and influence others – be they our partners, our parents, our friends or our co-workers – denies us the brilliance of what it is to be human! It is our ability to communicate ideas to one another, our ability to create, and share what we create that inspires growth and change. It is what makes us the majestic creatures that we are! To deny ourselves the expectation that we will affect each other is an abomination.
However, your concerted effort to make your man into a thug by buying him Timbs and going to 534 is not the kind of change that we inspire in one another. That kind of influence is lazy and short-sighted. Yet, taking this poor example, and being all smash and grab by saying “You can’t change people,” is equally inappropriate.
What lies between these two extremes is the truth. Thinking that by changing your partner’s outside appearance will only change the level of resentment he holds against you, and will affect how superficial he thinks you are. In the end, you will change the type of relationship you have, namely to a shitty one.
When the change that we effect in each other is positive, the equation looks quite different. Positive changes are derived from understanding and communication, but above all, the key word is flexibility. Remaining flexible throughout an interaction with someone is difficult, but incredibly valuable.
Let’s imagine you’ve just started seeing someone. You’re bowled over by the potentials you see in him. Your brain explodes with thoughts of lying in bed dreaming about your future together, the dates you’ll have, the kids you’ll adopt, and the sex that’ll be oozing out of your ears–oooh the sex! Yet, by remaining immovable about these ideas, you start trying to jam him into this vision you’ve created. Whether or not he’s telling you with his every action, that things aren’t working, your lack of flexibility blinds you to the changes you’re trying to make, and the ones that are actually taking place. Soon you find yourself alone. Changed by your experience, and alone.
We often change in the wake of a thousand small occurrences. Endure too many failed relationships, and you may change from an upbeat go-getter to a jaded sourpuss. Likewise, if you get inspired enough times by active communication and honest interactions, you might change your lying ways or have less fear of being up front and direct.
We must not only be prepared for all of our small interactions with people to effect change in them, but we must also be prepared for ourselves to adjust and change. Remaining nimble in your view of your partner, what’s taking place in the relationship, and how things have changed throughout its course will make you much more in touch with the realities of your interactions.
The positive changes that we experience throughout our lives, and the changes we impress upon others, are often achieved in times when we are most activated and engaged with our surroundings. Remaining engaged through communication, and remaining active in your flexibility can create the opportunity for positive change. In our earlier example, if you had engaged that flexibility muscle, perhaps things would have ended differently. Certainly, you may still have ended up alone, but all your respective changes could have been far more positive.
You can change others. Others can also change you. Often it’s a host of small experiences that change us as a whole. The more you make those small interactions communicative, respectful and flexible, the more likely you’ll be to see positive changes in yourself, and those around you. But remember, “Only fools never change their minds.” Cause, you know, some idioms actually make sense.
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