The Senselessness of Trying to Change Another

couple in conflict“Consider how hard it is to change yourself, and you’ll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others.”  (Jacob M. Braude)

Most of you are working on personal change –so you are aware of areas you wish to grow in and are actively becoming your best self.  As such, you’ve experienced how change can sometimes take longer than you think, can come about in a different way than you anticipated, and how it can sometimes feel like a stop-n-start activity (with times when you’re progressing and other times when you feel stuck or like you’ve relapsed).

Knowing how much focus and effort it takes to change yourself, why would anyone undertake the task of changing another?!  And yet, in the US society, women are typically led to believe that if they can just find a good man, they can then change him into ‘Mr. Right’.

Paradoxically, the typical US man believes that the woman will always remain just the way she was when he met her (that she’ll never change).  So when she grows and changes, he wants her to go back to the way she was when they met.

She tries to make him change, and he tries to make her not change.  As you can predict, both of these scenarios are doomed to fail.  Unfortunately, I’ve seen this far too often.

So what’s the cure for this disease?  It comes down to two things:

1) love your partner unconditionally — in other words love them for who they are right now (not for who they could be or who they used to be), and

2) spend your energy working on yourself and let your partner do the same (it’s not your place to make suggestions of things your partner could work on).

When you meet someone and are dating, take the time to really get to know that person well.  Meet their friends (recent and long-time), get to know their family, meet their co-workers, and be certain to share lots of mundane, everyday experiences together so you can tell how this person really is in the world.

Date for a while; don’t rush into anything.  It’s really important that you know all aspects of your partner (and vice versa) BEFORE you commit to each other.  By doing this, you will be able to unconditionally love and accept your partner for who they are, in their entirety.  And that is the key to a happy relationship — truly seeing, knowing, accepting and loving everything about the other.

Another helpful technique is to stop thinking that your way is the right way.  Instead, shift your thinking to “there is no one right way; every way has validity”.  When you make this shift, you won’t be inclined to insist that others do things your way, and you’ll be more receptive to learning new ways of doing things and seeing things.  In other words, you’ll have an open mind.

As Colonel Potter said on M*A*S*H, “Just remember, there’s a right way and a wrong way to everything, and the wrong way is to keep trying to make everybody else do it the right way.”

If you want to change the world, change yourself.  For that is the one place you have any influence.  And the change you make in yourself will impact others in many seen and unseen ways.

Trying to change another is futile, but working to change yourself is miraculous!

About EliseOnLife

Elise Fee is a Consulting Hypnotist and a Life Mentor — her business “EliseOnLife” helps clients get a new lease on life. Elise’s many varied life experiences have taught her broader, more expansive ways to view and experience the world and humanity.  She works with clients all over the world, locally in one-on-one sessions or via Skype (audio and/or video) or telephone.  If you are interested in contacting Elise for a personal session, post a comment and she’ll contact you directly.  If you’d like to subscribe to her free daily blog, go to



  1. 1


    There’s some excellent advice here, and I chuckled when I read She tries to make him change, and he tries to make her not change. I’m glad you pointed out that this is the typical U.S. approach; I have found it to be different elsewhere.

    I will say that loving unconditionally is one thing, when we’re talking about children, and quite another when it’s a partner. Sometimes, a man – or woman – changes for the worse. And when you’re lives are inextricably (and legally) linked, change for the worse must be dealt with. And I don’t mean superficial things. I mean issues of character and values.

    Can you change a person’s evolution into someone you no longer recognize? Can you stop it? Probably not. But nor can you love it unconditionally.

  2. 2


    I’m glad to hear that this isn’t the standard fare for relationships outside the US — that’s refreshing to know.

    I agree with you that loving a partner unconditionally can be challenging. And it can also be impractical when the partner changes his/her core values, personality, etc. and becomes a different person whom you no longer like.

    I think you’re correct that you can’t try to stop your partner’s evolution — it would be futile.

    So the conclusion I’ve come to is that we can love them for who they are, and also choose to no longer be in a relationship with them (if they have changed so much that they are no longer someone we connect with).

    Love comes in many forms, and if you cannot live with the person anymore, I believe that the love you feel for them can transform from intimate love to more of a universal love and caring, as you both go your separate ways (or remain friends, whatever works).

    But for many committed couples, the transformation and evolution of the individuals does not mean the relationship is doomed. Rather, they are able to fall in love anew with the latest iteration of their partner.

    So I think it can happen both ways, depending on the people involved.

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

  3. 4


    Thanks for making the effort to reach out to find your love. Unfortunately, this site is not set up for helping you to connect with women. There are sites dedicated to that; however, so I encourage you to keep looking, just in a place where you’re more likely to have success.
    Best Regards,

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