There’s a popular Muhammad Ali quote that says, ‘A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life’. It’s a great quote and reminds me of how life is all about change. We should be learning, improving and growing mentally, spiritually and emotionally all the time.
Sadly, I know of people who are ‘wasting their lives’. They are so set in their ways and what they believe, that anyone who challenges their way of thinking becomes an enemy for life. They are constantly in arguments and even physical altercations with people who they once considered their friends and family.
Sometimes even strangers who look at them the wrong way are soon sorry. They lash out like children, defending their own ego.
How Happiness Eludes the Stubborn
They will never be happy because they are unwilling to change. They are so strongly holding on tight to what they believe and what they want and how others should act around them. They are driven by their emotions.
They want to control so much and yet end up with nothing to control. They have a hurt so deep that nothing and no one can seem to heal.
They think the world is against them, everyone is against them. They’re too proud to admit when they’re wrong and if they do, it’s usually too late. The damage has been done and people don’t have to hang around too long before it happens again.
These people are volatile and always so angry. They are suspicious of everyone and cause problems even where there aren’t any. You end up having to walk on eggshells around them, just to keep the peace or from being wrongly suspected of deception or betrayal.
You become scared around them because you don’t know how they are going to react next or what will trigger them off. They often try to control those close to them, scared that they will leave. This of course pushes that person away even more. No one with any self respect would want to be around someone like that.
Just Who They Are
These people believe that that’s just the sort of person that they are and that they can’t change. They’ve accepted their rigidity. Their fear and low self-esteem has overridden their desire to live a happy fulfilling life. They accept loneliness.
Hearing that makes me sad, but also angry.
Believing you have no control over yourself or your own actions is ludicrous to me. We are not puppets to our emotions. I believe we can all change, if we wanted to. Of course it’s not easy. I’m not saying it is. We just need the self discipline to battle our inner demons in a manner that doesn’t attack or offend those around us.
If we keep repeating our destructive patterns, how can we ever be happy. At what point do we stop blaming others for our shortcomings and start taking responsibility for our own actions, thoughts and feelings.
When do we stop living in our past and stop holding everyone hostage? How can we expect not to be alone if we are unwilling to adapt to other people’s needs.
Even relationships develop and evolve over time. That’s why you hear of people in relationships who may have grown apart over the years or wake up after 40 years of marriage and don’t recognise the person lying beside them anymore.
It’s like they’ve become strangers, not speaking anymore, like they have nothing in common. Maybe one of them was holding on to what it was like when they first started out, expecting it to be that way forever, holding on to what they had, but things and people change. And if you don’t change with it, you get left behind.
The Capacity to Change
Instead of embracing change and growth, people will fight it tooth and nail. But change and growth can be a good thing. The sooner we stop fighting it, accept it and adapt with it, the happier we will become. It doesn’t make us weak to be flexible, to admit that we don’t know everything or that we’ve changed our minds. There is strength in vulnerability.
To some extent I believe we all have the capacity to change, but I also believe that very few of us choose to do so, even when it hurts them or others around them. People can’t change without first wanting to change. Maybe deep down you’re comfortable being that person that people expect. Maybe you get some sort of power out of it.
If you don’t really want to change, then you’re not going to make a consistent effort to do so. And it’s going to take a boatload of effort and energy to see and sustain dramatic changes in your life.
You’re probably carrying around with you baggage from childhood or a past relationship or some other event that has hardwired your brain to this pattern. It makes sense then, that you would need an equally powerful shift in order to change it.
Asking for Help Takes Strength
But if you really wanted to change, you need to be prepared to be vulnerable and weak in your own eyes and the eyes of others. You need to admit and believe that you no longer want to be that person and that you have the capacity for change. You need to be able to ask for and accept the help you need from others to make the changes last.
Without help and just left to your own mind, you’ll soon resort to old ways. That’s why alcoholics have sponsors. They know it’s not going to be easy to make the changes they need to make, on their own. What is easy is to slip back into familiar patterns especially when things get tough or life gets stressful. Seek counselling if you need it.
If you don’t believe you can change, then you never will. Change is part of life. If we resist it, we also resist the beauty of growth and opportunities for a better, happier existence.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Don’t waste the precious time you have. Don’t hold on too tight to people or the past. Open yourself up to new experiences and be adaptable to what life has in store for you next.
If you can change, life will be better for you, guaranteed. Be more accepting of what is. When you become more open, less controlling and restricting, you attract more people who want to be in your life. You don’t have to emotionally blackmail anyone or get defensive at every little thing.
Stop wasting your life. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. You’ll soon attract the people who love and care for you, without ulterior motives. A far better way to live than being alone with just your ego to comfort you.