Change doesn’t always happen

Do people change? Can people change? And I guess I should be more specific, not use a generalized term like “people,” because I think people can change. Certain persons, though? No. If the behavior continues, change is hard to happen.

A friend pointed this out to me recently when I was lamenting the situation of a an acquaintance. “Hasn’t he always been like this?” she asked. Yes. “Well, don’t expect a change.” Then, she said something that struck me as so true.

“You put more emotional energy into these people than they can ever repay. Yet you expect them to do so.”

She was right. I have tried to help whenever I could. It’s who I am and what I do. Her comment that started with “yet” is what struck me so hard. I do expect change. I do expect reciprocity. My parents taught me to pass on my blessings. But they didn’t say that people will repay you. The hobo that my mother fed on the back porch would continue to be a hobo. You didn’t help people so you could be repaid, you helped people because you could.

Who has to change here? Me. I need to change my expectations. Some people are never going to change, no matter how much I expect them to.


10 responses to “Change doesn’t always happen

  1. A tough one. Did you expect the hobo to get a job, or was being a hobo his job. On the other hand, did you expect your friend to, for instance, stop harming people? There are really difficult and unacceptable character flaws.

  2. One never knows when flashes of self-knowledge will appear.

  3. I hope you can continue to “feed the hobos” like you mother did, without thought of changing them. But it does happen sometimes, you can never tell for sure what one’s actions might do in another person’s life.

  4. I don’t expect much from people anymore.
    i help, when I can. I forgive them any hurt they have caused me. Then, I just pretty much let them live their miserable life. LOL

    • There are things we cannot change, and those miserable lives are definitely one of them. People who keep doing what they are doing will keep getting what they get.

  5. If you start out and have no expectations, maybe there will be a difference. Expectations are the ghost in the closet and it takes determination to see this. We can all change, but the individual is the one who has to make the difference.

  6. I, too, learned this lesson the hard way. I try to see beneath the beggars’ pleas, ask them what they need, do not judge their addictions. My $2 contribution may not cover a sandwich, so if they tell me a meal I will go and get it for them and in some cases sat with them if they allowed. I do not make demands.

    Expectations have nearly always disappointed me, that can be a bitter territory. Especially when it comes to addicts. And there are more addictions that we overlook: hypochondria, shopping, tranqs, etc. I work hard on not being judgey.

    None of us is perfect. Change can be a beneficial catalyst. For everyone.


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