Sometimes one of life's greatest challenges is letting go -- a simple concept, but difficult task. We dwell, we hope, we push, we wait.
Patiently but aggressively holding onto the idea that we are able to control situations, or more often, people, to conform to our vision of the future or their role in our lives. After all of our efforts, we eventually find it becomes an endless cycle of disappointment and pain, followed by numerous failed attempts.
The problem with thinking we have the power to change someone other than ourselves, is that we just can't. It's hard to hear and even harder to believe, but the truth of the matter is people won't change unless they are willing (or ready) to on their own time.
I spent years desperately believing I could fix the problems of one of the most important people in my life who's struggling with alcohol addiction, failing to realize it would have been more effective to let go and accept it wasn't my responsibility to change them. When the cold, harsh reality set in, I discovered that I ended up just as broken as the person I was trying to fix.
There are so many reasons we feel the need to change people and their actions. We may want the best for them, we may see their potential, or in some cases, we maybe even selfishly desire the best for ourselves. Whatever the reason, it's crucial to understand our role in any relationship.
Our role isn't to mold someone into the person we wish they were, expecting them to comply to our ideas and dreams, but rather to focus on molding ourselves into the person we wish to be for them. We can provide support and love, but in the end, the only people we can change is ourselves.
I grew up convincing myself the person in my life who is still struggling with addiction will be different, if only I tried hard enough to help. I convinced myself it was my job to get them back on track because I saw the best qualities in them before they became defeated by the alcohol. This person was powerless and dependent, completely losing all sense of self control when they encountered a bottle.
But it wasn't my job. I continually envisioned their potential, striving to maintain hope and faith. Eventually, I found that the more I pushed, the less I received. Disappointment and heartache seemed to await each attempt I made at fixing the unfixable.
The reality is it's exhausting trying to change someone's ways. If they aren't willing, the only thing to do is to accept and let go. When you spend too much time desperately trying change or to fix people, you end up neglecting your own heart and what it really needs.
In some cases, being selfish is necessary. If you aren't careful about where you invest your heart, you may not receive the love you truly deserve. It's easy to lose yourself in the process of wanting to alter a circumstance or person, but also incredibly unhealthy.
There's nothing wrong with wanting and hoping for the best for people, or even the best for yourself. But feeling the need to change a person will lead to so much unnecessary heartbreak, frustration and pain. Pain that will linger until you trust your instinct to fulfill one of life's greatest challenges: letting go.
Although it's difficult and feels slightly unnatural, it will bring some of the biggest blessings. We often can't control our circumstances, and we most definitely can't control people, change their mindsets, actions or ways. However, we do have the power to change ourselves.
We can change our visions, our perspectives, our hopes and our emotional investments. We owe it to ourselves to invest time into our own hearts, focusing on our own happiness and simply being available to those who need our support, with necessary distance. So, before getting lost in believing it is your responsibility to change someone, find peace in accepting what is, and let go.