Loving Who They Are

Is this love or am I trying to change the person I love?

Have you tried to change your partner recently? How did you get on? Were they suitably appreciative? I imagine you didn’t get a thank-you note for your efforts. Have you tried to change your children? Were they receptive? Did it work this time? Children are willing learners, except when they don’t feel loved. Have you tried to change your parents again? After all, they’re getting older now and so they should be weaker and less able to resist your campaign. Has anyone tried to change you recently? How did you feel about that? Did you feel more loved? Are you feeling even more love for that person who wants to change you?

A common mistake in relationships is the belief that your love will change a person, eventually. You can’t love someone and want him or her to change. For a start, when you try to change people, they do not feel loved by you. If anything, they feel judged and rejected. Love does not seek to change people, because love does not find any fault in a person’s true essence. Love can help a person to grow and to bring out the best in him or her; but you will not see any of this if you do not love the person unconditionally in the first place. The paradox of love is that when you stop wanting each other to change, you are changed, and this change enables you to love each other more.

— Robert Holden, Loveability, p. 150-151

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