In Defence of Change: An Antithetical to the Idea "You Should Accept Me As I Am"

This looks like an Ansel Adams, but I cant be sure.
This looks like an Ansel Adams, but I can't be sure.

I'm going to say something here, and some of you aren't going to like it. In order to be in a relationship, in order to have people in your life, you're going to have to change. [Gasp] That's right. Cause I sure hear it often - basically, "Take me for who I am, as I am, or not at all". And to that I say, you sound naive. Very naive.

You compromise when dating (When should we see each other next? What restaurant do you want to eat at? What entertainment shall we watch/do now? etc., etc.) You compromise when you're in a relationship (Whose family are we going to spend Christmas day with? How long do we have to stay? Do I have to do that [fill in the blank] activity you like?) You compromise when you live together (I hate when you leave your towels and clothes on the floor. Oh? Well I don't like feeling like I live with a cop who is constantly on me about things. I don't care if things are messy, and on and on.) You compromise for marriage (Where are we going to live now? Well my mother is ill and needs help. But my career is just starting to take off and I am established here. I want this room to be an office. Well I want it as a gaming room. Yada yada.)

Those are examples of compromise. Maybe now you're saying, "Well I can handle those things. What I'm talking about is him/her trying to change me." But what is change, but compromising for another person, and altering the way you do things to make it easier and more pleasant being with another person. You do it for harmony. You do it to eliminate conflict. You do it so that your home, or your life together, the time you spend together is a thing of comfort, not friction.

Its a decision: to be alone, or to compromise, and where is the tipping point between the two?
It's a decision: to be alone, or to compromise, and where is the tipping point between the two?

We all know that people who live singly for many, many years (and apparently even moreso ones who grew up without other siblings - they get a very bad rap) have compromised the least. It's wonderful to have your independence, and to be able to do everything just the way you want it. But this isn't just about an S.O. This also relates to feeling comfortable with compromise and change, in general. It actually is a useful life skill to have. Rigid thinking stagnates. Entrenched minds do not prosper. One of the keys to life is adaptability. Eccentric people are good for a laugh and do make life interesting for a time, but eventually they just get labelled 'weird.' Another skill is finding ways, coping mechanisms, to pick yourself up after a great setback or tragedy. These are not entirely unrelated to the changes that another person may ask of you.

Nature is not static.
Nature is not static.

No living creature stays static. Mother Nature exists on a pendulum - with both bountiful and lean times. And all the wild things that live upon it try and find ways to survive this ebb and flow. Humans have found more complex coping mechanisms, and have used their proprotionally enormous brains to outhink many of these problems. We are thriving, by some accounts and metrics of analysis. We think we are special, the chosen species, deserving of all that we sew. But our lives do not remain constant either. We do not live on a constant upwards tragectory. We are also at the mercy of many forces, and we can be our own worst enemy. We are not perfect, or infallible, or ever truly finished. We can be whole, yes, but it would be arrogant to think that, at any age, we no longer have room for change. Landscape Waterfall art by Estrela_dAlva Landscape Waterfall art by Estrela_dAlva

I could give examples, both trivial and significant, but they may not be the examples in [your] head. They may mean very little to you, personally. You are thinking about the unreasonable requests or criticisms you've received. And yes, those certainly do exist. They may, in fact, be common. And you have a right to pushback against these. You do not have to be a chameleon, adapting to any and every person or situation (though I will say that those types of people are often really well liked.) And you are not a piece of clay, to be moulded to someone's image or their idea of their perfect person, whatever they desire. You are a unique, never to be repeated, autonomous individual, and you should be appreciated for that. Anyone who is in your life and can't or won't recognize that may not be someone who needs to be in your life (aside from family and work associates, where you have less choice in the matter.)


But... there is no person, no place, no environment, no future time where you will not have to compromise who you are (not your core values, but many more trivial, less meaningful things about you or your preferences) in order to find harmony and peace in this world. You can't resist this forever. And you can't resent every person who ever asked or expected or hoped for one or more things about you to change. They are not always wrong. And you are not always wrong. Sometimes the change that will be asked of you will be a benefit to you. They are not all selfish to the other person. Some people genuinely want you to grow as a person (be that be healthier, more financially stable, take less irrational risks, communicate more with people and therefore have a richer life sharing it with others...) And if it's not something like this... if it's something so stupid and trivial, then why not just do it? What is the exact request that bothers you so much? Are you resisting for the sake of resisting, because you hate any hint of expectation (you might call it 'oppression'), duty, or just someone not accepting you. I understand. If the person doesn't seem to accept you in general, if they are very critical, if they really chronically nagging, then yes, You don't have to put up with that. But be realistic about who you are, what you are. Is this more about you, or them?

Because this is one truth about life - you will not stay as you are. The you today will not be the you of the future. Thank god. Wouldn't you bore yourself to tears if you were? Wouldn't you get sick of yourself? The brain needs novelty, the brain needs change. So if it comes at the request or encouragement or suggestion of another, does it really matter? One life. That's what you've got here on Earth, at this place and this time. Don't squander it. Your partner, and the people in your life, can make you better. Even people you don't spend time with in person, like for instance people that you meet here on #G@G - they can expand your mind, introduce you to new ideas and new ways of thinking about yourself and the world, if you allow it. But you must first be open to the idea of change. It begins there. I am not suggesting to you to accept the world wholly as it is. Far from it, actually. I believe that conscious, rational, reasoned, well thought-out activism, and open-mindedness and compassion towards others can change and benefit the world, or just an individual. But you also can not only try and change the world around you, without also accepting the possibility of changing yourself.

You are one of many. You may feel like the centre of your universe, be we revolve around each other.
You are one of many. You may feel like the centre of your universe, be we revolve around each other.
In Defence of Change: An Antithetical to the Idea "You Should Accept Me As I Am"
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Most Helpful Guys

  • Lliam
    Great MYTake, Amanda.

    Where ever I was in life, I thought I had it together, but a few years later I would look back realize that I didn't have it as together as I had thought. I would think, "NOW I have it together." But no, the same thing happened over and over again as I matured. Can you imagine that? My opinions weren't always correct?

    There are times when I have hurt or alienated people. At the time, I felt like my action or point of view was righteous. But upon review, I almost always realized that I had been at least as much at fault as they. Sometimes I was 100% at fault.

    When I say or do something that triggers a shocked, disapproving or incredulous reaction from people, it's a sign that I need to do some self evaluation and/or research. That evaluation might turn up various results. Maybe my thoughts had been correct but I expressed them badly. Maybe my views hadn't been fully thought through. Maybe I had been 100% wrong. Or, maybe I had been correct and the people who reacted negatively had their own issues. Either way, constant self evaluation is important and valuable.

    If I hadn't consciously worked on mental, emotional and 'spiritual' self improvement before I met my wife, I wouldn't have recognized her as the one for me and she wouldn't have been attracted to me.

    During our marriage, my wife has, on several occasions (with my acquiescence), signed us up for couple's counseling, not because we were having any serious marital problems, but to strengthen our relationship and grow as individuals. She's wise like that (and I'm wise to recognize her wisdom. 😉 ) The sessions did, indeed, bring us closer together. They also enhanced our communication skills. But I learned things about myself that wouldn't have occurred to me otherwise. Lo and behold, was dragging around deeply buried things from the past - things that colored my perceptions and influenced my reactions to certain stimuli.

    Should people accept me as I am? At any given moment, yes. They have no choice. I can only hope that they understand my character and who I am at my core. People who know me know that I sometimes make mistakes. I can be wise, informed and insightful, but I can also, at times, be a complete horse's ass. But I process events, sometimes overnight and sometimes over the course of several days. I seek advice. I often come back to someone and explain what happened or even apologize for misunderstandings or inappropriate reactions.

    Should I accept MYSELF as I am? No. I am constantly changing. I am not the person I was yesterday and I will continue to evolve. There is always need for growth and improvement. To say that we can't improve is to say that we can't learn.

    "Without the self-awareness, people cannot objectively evaluate their competence or incompetence."
    Is this still revelant?
    • AmandaYVR

      Lliam, I don't know what to say here but thank you. Just thank you. Your words make me feel peaceful, and bring a certain sense of comfort. I've been trying to think why that is, and I suppose it's because there is a certain solidarity in the way we think. The details of our lives don't matter as much, but it makes me feel good that that there is someone (and maybe more) who have also pondered some of these same questions and ideas, and is not content to just sit in who they are, unchanged, unevolving, in a state of stasis.
      As well, your openness and confidence in what and how you reveal things, it comes from a place of having lived, and not a fear of judgement. I have had fears and doubts over the years, but one thing I have always known... you cannot expect to get something out of life which you are not prepared to, yourself, give. You know that there can be meaning in the small things, and emptiness in the grandiose. You know where to find the truffles. They are buried beneath a layer of earth that many would simply walk past, but some know to survey the surroundings, read the signs, and just breathe. Thank you for recognizing the fermata and the caesura //

    • Lliam

      I really appreciate that, my friend. <3
      I realized later that I never directly addressed your point about change for the sake of a relationship. But I'm glad you got my meaning.

      If I hadn't changed over the years I would be astoundingly dumb, not to mention dysfunctional. I came to realize that I should never be absolutely certain about anything. All I can do is keep a open mind and continue to learn. “The more you know, the more you realize you don't know.” - Aristotle

  • ohshee
    Very beautiful that's how I live my life and that is How I am when in a relation ship we all change everyday we all become who we want to be by the things we say and do and just because we like vanilla ice cream today doesn't mean we can't change our mind tomorrow and like chocolate,, the beautiful part about that is watching how the change has come about and watching someone grow,, it's not about trying to hold someone back and tell them u can't have chocolate because u only like vanilla
    Is this still revelant?

Most Helpful Girls

  • ImSparkly
    Plasticity in ones personality is a useful tool to engage and work with others so long as you do not begin to loose or deny your own self identity.
    Is this still revelant?
    • AmandaYVR

      Beautifully said.

    • ImSparkly

      I should write fortune cookies in my spare time...

    • ImSparkly

      And thanks.

    • Show All
  • arabgoddess
    I would accept and love that SO in my life, as they are... Only if I love the person 'I am' when I am with them.
    Great article 😍 😍 loved it! In Defence of Change: An Antithetical to the Idea "You Should Accept Me As I Am"
    Is this still revelant?
    • AmandaYVR

      Great point, arab. Reminds me... I was once with a boyfriend, just for a short time we were together, a few weeks, as someone came back into his life that he had always wanted to try a relationship with so we broke up so that he could find happiness, or closure there. But anyway, we were trying to find our stride together, and I did like a lot about him, but not his lifestyle so much. It was too full of other people, coming in and out of his house. He liked that communal atmosphere, very friendly and open, practically no knocking at the front door, lots of musicians playing acoustic guitar, and a lot of smoking (both kinds.) I felt a bit uncomfotable there, like it wasn't our space and I couldn't fully relax, with people always so freely coming and going. I was the newcomer. I tried to adapt, but I really just wanted more time alone with him. I ended up telling him, "I don't like the person I am with you" and thinking about it, it was probably because I was trying hard to fit into his life, which was so different than mine. I need more peace and quiet, and privacy, and one-on-one relationships. He didn't ask me for anything, didn't ask me to change and accepted me, but essentially they were just lifestyle differences/preferences. But when I told him that, that I didn't feel like myself so much around him, it made him sad. I distinctly remember how his face changed, and he may have said, "Well that's not good. I don't want you to feel that." So I suppose at that point, it is either a sign that the relationship is not right, and will not be right, or, it is an opportunity to be frank and see if changes can be made, by both people, to create a new dynamic. Any two people who spend a good amount of time together must mould and bend, to find their groove as one. Even with friends, I feel this often. And if you find that stride together, that comfort, it's very rewarding.

    • arabgoddess

      Awesome story! Honesty is the key 👍 Count your blessings ☺

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • MzAsh
    I’ve certainly made compromises, but not about who I am as a person. Never had to change who I am for my man.
  • talloak
    I appreciate what you have to say here and fully agree with the importance of compromise in any relationship. After all, who wants a relationship with someone who must have their own way all the time, regardless of what whatever great qualities they have. But I don’t consider this a matter of change so much as adaptation. One does not have to change to let someone else have their way.

    To change is to have a different personality. So, when someone says “he beat me again but then he was sorry and promised he wouldn’t do it again”, this is change, not compromise. Fundamental change to a personality are difficult to manage and rarely happen on demand. This is often too much to ask or demand of another or even of oneself.

    On the other hand, I think you are reacting to people who use the “change” excuse when they are merely being asked to compromise. That is just plain selfish and petty. It requires no change and costs a person very little to do what your SO wants or needs you to do once in a while. To treat an unpleasant task as if it required an overhaul of your personality is an absurd exaggeration.
  • Syrian_survivor
    I wouldn't date a stubborn person who's stuck in their past and refuses to change and/or compromise, it's not just a relationship thing, it's a life thing, self-improvement is essential, we as humans need to evolve, stay still and you fall behind.
  • Sensmind
    Very true in what you say but personally when I say "You should accept me as I am" (though never said in an ultimatum) , I mean "In a great scheme of things" way, of course I will adapt to different things but the things that make me "ME" will form the essence of these adaptions/changes. If anybody that hadn't met me say in 30 years (I'm 50), they would still see a lot of the "Old Me" though hopefully a bit more sensible and mature but keeping some of my good points still plus nobody is perfect, might still have a flaw or two in the locker
  • I really found this interesting and the whole theme of this take
    "But what is change, but compromising for another person"
    I agree that change is a good thing. But I also think that while we change we also retain the better parts of ourselves. We don't wash away everything and I don't think that it is fair that a person lose their sense of identity for the sake of their SO but sacrificing and spending time with another person is priceless and valuable. Overall, it is a give and take, a balance. I firmly believe as part of who we are, the better parts stay with us and the not so good parts fade away. I am not saying that happens all the time but I believe that is the way it should be, we move to being better people but also embracing who we are. I enjoy animation and it is not something I want to grow out of or lose based on change.

    I may have to read your article again because I have a feeling a missed a couple of places where you addressed this :)
  • NickiB
    You are so right. You have to make changes to make things work.
  • Robertcw
    Actually I don't think this is possible. Personality is biological. For instance, if change were so great why haven't chronically late people changed yet even when it costs them their jobs, or their grade in a morning class or their dating prospects for being somewhat disabled and incompetent?

    During efforts to change eventually there is a tipping point where you have a mental breakdown and fall apart. It's unnatural. And you regress back to your natural tendencies. That's just how it is.
    • Robertcw

      And I know people will question what I said, so here's a link to read pertaining to my example:

    • AmandaYVR

      Ok, a number of things here.
      Some parts of the article were interesting. I like the part about how Type As and Type Bs feel the passing of time differently. That makes sense.
      It costs the U. S. $90B annually? Wow. But since Americans work more hours than a lot of other countries (when you factor in fewer vacation days per year and allotted time off that is not taken), meh. Being late is not good, but maybe they're philosphically bitter and [passive-aggressively] pushing back against what is required of them, work and time-wise. It is also said to be disrespectful to others, and a way of representing higher importance than peers, etc. But yes, I also think it can be biological.
      Many scientists say that there is actually no such thing as multitasking. It's an illusion (delusion) that we all have that we are doing it, but when multitasking is attempted, all tasks suffer.
      Talking about change can be either abstract or specific. No point arguing over specific examples. That would take all day. What I'm talking about is a generally obstinant stance that change is unfair, and they will only have people in their lives if they can remain exactly as they are.
      But the ending is fair: "When it comes to your personality type, unfortunately, there's not too much you can do to change that. But accepting that you need to overcompensate for it may just help." Exactly, just make some more effort in this area. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and we are not forever beholden to the latter, we can bring it up, with practice, to a more reasonable level.

  • meye_naim
    Very well put!
  • Archie570
    Fantastic article!
  • KaraAyna
    Good mytake