You Can’t Change People

I’ve always been a worrier. I worry about things both large and small, that I can change and that I can’t, that matter and that don’t. I was in a longterm relationship with a non-worrier. He was convinced that things would just work out, and that I should calm down a fair amount. It frustrated me that he didn’t seem to understand that a huge reason why things worked out in his life was that I was planning and worrying. And before me, other people were planning and worrying, and I’m sure someone else is planning and worrying for him now.

Ultimately, you can’t change people. I couldn’t make him step it up any more than I could make myself suddenly be laissez-faire all the time. For years though, I thought there was something wrong with me because I sweated the small stuff so much. I eventually realized that I kept creating situations that did not work for me. I would try to tell myself that everything was fine all the time, that everything would be OK if I just calmed down, like it was being suggested I do. But then when circumstances would get beyond what I could control, I would freak out, usually end up in tears, and scramble to try to get everything sorted immediately.

It turns out, I need organization. I need to plan things out. And I don’t need to apologize for living my life this way. I spent years being told I needed to calm down and chill out and go with the flow. And I get that up to a point, but I like to pay my bills on time, to have some plans for things to come, and to control the things that I can. I am slowly learning the importance of recognizing that I cannot control everything, and that in these situations it can be important to take a step back, a deep breath, and allow things to unfold. But this is and never will be my default approach.

None of us are perfect, but I know we’re all (for the most part) trying really hard. I’m learning what works for me and what doesn’t, which personalities jibe with mine and which don’t, what things I can accept and what things I will work to change. But, definitively, I’ve learned that one of those things I can’t change is people. This was, is, and always will be, a heartbreaking lesson, but one well worth learning.





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