span style=”font-family: inherit; text-align: justify;”>Yesterday I had an epiphany of sorts. At the kitchen sink no less. Of late I have been thinking a lot about people and their behavior and the realization that people do not change. Not fundamentally so. I think a person can learn to modify certain behaviors, but our basic wiring is our basic wiring. Of course we learn along the way and modify behaviors and change our opinions (or not) and hopefully become more attune with our surroundings and wiser in our decision making, we might mellow and be more forgiving, but we will fundamentally and with our gut always be “who we are”.
The epiphany part came when I was able to put a second thought to the first one. The first being: you have to love your family and friends the way they are, because they are not going to change. The second “ephinable” thought was: you can’t hate people for not being what they can’t be – or to make it a positive: you have to love people for what they are, because they won’t change. Voila – we’re back to square one.
The “who they are” is what attracts us to people we befriend in the first place. So why would we want to change that person down the road? Or why would their behavior all of sudden drive us nuts, if we found it only mildly maddening or even charming before? Other than the obvious, “the honeymoon is over” answer, I think it has as much to do with the fact that we DO change – we grow, we learn, we have life experiences and our friends or family might not grow at the same pace, or have the same experiences. I still think the hard wiring stays, but live makes us change in so many ways.
Of late, when I have been annoyed at people, I find that I’m looking into a mirror and have to examine behavior that I have, or still would engage in that I find unattractive. I think this is a great opportunity to grow and learn about how our conduct and our actions affect others and how we are seen by the outside world.
I once had a mentor tell me, in my early twenties, that the behavior in my parents that annoyed me was nothing more, than the behaviors in myself I had not learned to resolve yet. I have found that to be so very true and it made my relationship with my parents better by leaps and bounds.
So, I love my friends and family best as I can, warts and all and if they get on my nerves I try to see if there’s a live lesson for ME to learn, not a lesson for me to teach them and try make them change. So far so good. Now go away!