Is it too theoretical or abstract to ask if people can actually change? If someone you care for or love inflicts pain on you time and time again, you may just begin to ask yourself that question. It may be someone you are incredibly emotionally invested in, and you do not want to simply walk away.

So how moldable and malleable are we human beings after all? Suppose you believe that people can change. You may have observed that oftentimes they do not even care to. And they certainly do not change easily. And you know what they say: “If you’re in a bad situation, don’t worry; it’ll change. If you’re in a good situation, don’t worry; it’ll change.”

Who in your life would you like very much to change? No doubt you’ve heard the slogan: “Love me for who I am,” as if anyone even knows who they truly are. To actually deserve someone’s love, do you not need to grow or at the very least perfect some of your qualities?

Are you resistant to change? How do you respond when he draws attention to what he perceives as a flaw in your character? Some would rather not know and certainly not feel certain things. So, if she points out her perception of you, you may very well ward it off by working way too much or avoiding the subject matter entirely.

Some of us are escaping painful memories from our past, which we never confronted to this day. While it is a healthy and realistic hope for your needs to get met, you may feel as if you are constantly forcing a door that simply will not open. Can’t she just stop doing that? Why won’t he simply do as I ask? A co-worker said to me: Could you be any more annoying? So, the next day, I wore tap shoes to work. Okay. Just kidding. Well, you know what they say: Everyone has an annoying friend. If you don’t have one, it’s probably you.

But in all seriousness, it may be that we are dealing with a broken part of her, which she is entirely unaware of. He may have never processed a trauma or deep disappointment from his youth. Needless to say, we all change dramatically throughout our lives. Think of yourself as an ever-changing identity housed in the same body, with your store of memories. Speaking of change, don’t knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation if it didn’t change once in a while.

You may have to develop yourself in many ways, but you desperately may be trying to change others. He may mirror your behavior. If you angrily suggest that he be more patient and calm, reflect on your own approach, please.

Lead by example, sweet friends. You can inspire others to actually imitate you by exhibiting certain virtues. Sure, you may get offended if someone tries to point out your idiosyncrasies. You may need to learn how to truly express gratitude to loved ones.

Try telling her what really moved you deeply, instead of simply offering a generic compliment. Take him into the specifics of why that experience felt so valuable to you. What are the details and contributing factors? “I had a ‘nice’ time.” No, no. Move from vague generalities to specifics, please. What did you particularly appreciate about her?

Don’t just give him the broad strokes. Why did you enjoy having a holiday meal with him? What was it about the gift she got you that made you feel so special? Was it the way she gave it to you? Did you feel understood? Was his tone generous and loving?

If you want him to change, please make sure that your affection and care feels very real. Be highly specific with your gratitude. We all hunger for unambiguous praise that is particular to us.

Next time you express gratitude, see to it that it is highly detailed, please. Why are you so thankful for that gift or action? How did it make you feel? You can even thank her for thanking you.

If you resist change or criticism, my friends, remind yourself that a trusted friend’s opinion may contain some worthwhile insight. Sure, you see the world through your own unique lens.

You can all be truly influential with your words to others. And just remember that the worst mistake you can make is being afraid to make one. Be crazy enough to think that you can change the world – and you just might.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or at