Do People Change?

Do People Change?


“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”  Viktor E. Frankl

The idea that we don’t change or can’t change or do change or want to change is an interesting and debatable topic.

Sometimes people discover they are irreversibly transformed in response to cathartic events or traumatic experiences which have impacted them in profound and considerable ways.

Those events and experiences might have been positive or negative, or perhaps even a combination of both.

We might meet other people on our journey who have had a similar event or experience happen to them also although they might have a different perspective on the same matter.

If we had a positive experience we might feel happier about the event but for those of us that didn’t have a positive experience then we might be left questioning the event or wondering why someone else was luckier or more fortuitous than we were.

People can have very different perceptions of identical or similar experiences or events. 

They might in turn share their stories with others as a sign of their own acceptance of the event or they might reveal that their experience left them in a state of anger, denial, shock or grief – even long after the experience or event transpired.

It can be onerous or frightening to look within ourselves and own up to or take any responsibility for the event or experience and how we manifested it or contributed to it. This is not to say we intentionally create everything that happens to us and therefore we deserve it because sometimes we don’t express an intention or have a choice or a say in everything that happens to us.   

But even when those unprovoked, hideous or unkind things happen to us which we believe are not warranted, how we recover, deal or heal from that says a great deal about where we are at, and just how willing, ready or committed we really are to adapting, growing or changing.

People are capable of change and should be encouraged to do so instead of being held hostage to someone else’s fantasy or fairy-tale of who they should or should not be.

We can share our heart-breaking stories and we can continue reading the same chapter to ourselves and to others, telling the same story over and over and over again, and we might need to do that for a while, or we can go in another direction and disrupt the entire narrative.

Change isn’t always desired because it can require us to increase what we are currently doing and that requires more effort, but it can also enrich and reward us in exchange.

People are capable of change if they truly desire it and if they don’t desire it, it is not our task to convince anyone else of the merits to changing because no-one can change if they don’t desire to change or want to change, and any change that is not desired will neither be genuine or lasting.

Natasha Stone