I’m a firm believer that very few people can truly change their character. The less minor things such as habits, ways of doings things, style, education, hobbies, interests, etc. can be modified and learned. But can one really change their true nature? My father says that a snake sheds its skin but never changes its character. I take this great analogy, apply it to relationships and ask this important question: Can you, or should you even try to change your partner?
Ambition. This is a strong word that has followed me my entire life. There were times when it was closer to me, and times in between when it was hiding, but ambition was always around. It allowed me to stay motivated and strive for success in times where there was no white light at the end of the tunnel. In my opinion, ambition cannot be taught. Ambition must be felt by the people themselves – as a hot burning desire to achieve, learn, create, make, earn and complete. If your partner lacks ambition and has no desire to move forward, it shall be very hard for you to motivate them to do so. Not only will they slowly start to hate you for it, but it will suck all of your energy and happiness in the process as well. We must realize that not everyone wants a big career, has a goal or dream to follow, or has a purpose in life, which they want to achieve. Some go with the flow and see where they end up, without any plans or structure in their lives. If you choose such a partner, this should be apparent to you from the beginning, and such extreme laissez faire attitudes can rarely be changed. I like to say: a chicken cannot fly. It has small wings, but it cannot take off from the ground and reach a high altitude. Don’t push a chicken to become a soaring eagle, because it simple cannot! The chicken can learn the “theory” of flying, but in reality, they will not master the “practice” of flying. Some are born chickens, and some are born eagles. And it’s ok like that.
Self-confidence. This is a tricky one. I myself had a battle with this when I was younger. This is not something that comes easily to everyone right away. Sometimes it takes years for it to build up to a healthy level. You can support and compliment your partner a hundred times, but if they don’t feel inside how wonderful they are, then it will be hard to get through to them. This is really a self-battle, so it will be hard for you to change them to see themselves differently.
Responsibility. This is something that is obtained intuitively and from the family at a younger age. If you start dating the person and you see they are careless and irresponsible, then chances are that it will not change – especially after their late 20s. This is also an important point if you want to get married and have kids! It’s hard to do that with a person that is irresponsible for themselves and others. Don’t be in denial, accept it as a fact and decide if it’s good for you to have them in your life or not.
Cheaters very rarely change. As well as liars, egotists, users, fakes, players, moody people, narcissists or the ones that that simply don’t want to work or study. However, bad habits that can be changed are things like lack of discipline and punctuality, unhealthy lifestyle, not being a good listener, spending money one doesn’t have, addiction, showing off, aggression, etc. The best you can do is to give advice and help, and try to guide your partner in the right way. However, if they are not open to self-improvement, then there is nothing that you can do.
The hard part is that we sometimes see so clearly what our partner doesn’t. We want to help them. We want to advise and give them support and guidance. However this not always wanted, accepted or needed by them! I myself am one of these people that learn the hard way, after something bad or extreme happens. After I fell down a few times in my life, I finally understood what needed to be changed. There are many like me that need to hit the bottom to be able to jump back up – and even though you see this with red warning lights, the other person may not! That can be horribly tough on the relationship.
Always remember that perhaps your guidance and your way of life do not fit theirs. What’s good for you is not necessarily what’s good and beneficiary for them. At the end of the day, we met our partners and fell in love with them how they are. Why is there always the bloody need to change someone and shape them into your own image of perfection? Yes you care for them. Yes you want to help them. My suggestion is after you try to help, and nothing changes, you either accept them as they are, try to compromise with your demands on them, or let them go and find someone who fits you better. But if you keep on pushing and pushing them, then nothing good will come of it, except much emotional and psychological stress to you both.