I'm Not Going to Change for You, I'm Going to Grow with You
Many people accept and believe that building and maintaining a romantic relationship demands that at least one of the people involved has to give up certain things in their lives. Some even expect that they’ll need to “adapt” to their partner’s personality, changing certain aspect of their own.
We will not deny that being part of a couple and maintaining a stable, long-lasting relationship sometimes requires small sacrifices. However, everything has a limit. From the moment we obligate ourselves to change, we are losing a part of our being, and this opens a vacuum.
If we change our values, hobbies, or personality for another person, we are not being true to ourselves. Nor are we being fair to our partner, as we are presenting a false mirage of ourselves.
To maintain a relationship, we should never let our own rights or values be violated. Those are the things that define us. Furthermore, we should not demand that the person we love ‘change’ for us or otherwise adjust their own needs.
Personal growth and growth of the relationship
We should start by clarifying something essential: romantic relationships are not fixed or immovable entities. None of us is oblivious to everything around us, to our adjacent social relationships, to work, to family, to personal needs. As a couple we must be open to continuous change where it is necessary to constantly ‘update’ according to new situations and conditions. There is therefore a “we,” sometimes confronted with an “I.”
One of the most common problems that we have to confront in a relationship is the need to harmonize our personal growth with the growth of the relationship. In a healthy, happy relationship, both of these spheres are linked and interconnected. How? Each person respects, understands, and favors the person that they love, and each person can have their own personal space to grow and be themselves.
We could say that this process is really a curious paradox, since while we work day to day to be a single, intimate, harmonious unit, we also allow ourselves to continue being two independent entities capable of enriching our individuality and in turn bringing that wisdom and inner happiness to the relationship.
Encouraging the individual growth of each person in the couple allows us to promote the inner balance, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction necessary for the relationship to succeed.
It is therefore useless to oblige someone we love to change. If I were to ask someone to be less extroverted, and to go out less to socialize with friends so that they would stay home more often, what I would really be doing would be feeding their frustration and undermining their interests.
What good is it, then, to promote their unhappiness with my selfishness? No one can change the way they fit into your lives. The point is to build, grow, and advance (hopefully together). Not to confine.
In growing with you, I find myself
A mature love is the foundation of healthy relationships. It is a conscious love capable of respecting and loving the other for how they are, without wanting to force them to change at any time. Fear and personal insecurity almost always are what generate the need to control someone else.
“I hope the other person will change this aspect of their personality, because then, I can be sure they will not leave me, and that they will go on fitting with me.” But people are not puzzles; we are not individual pieces with the obligation to fit with others perfectly. Your corners do not need to fit with mine, and your spaces do not necessarily need to be filled with my virtues.
It would be better if we started to be more aware that all of us are imperfect creatures seeking other imperfect beings with whom to go hand in hand, growing day by day. This marvelous process will surely last our whole lives, but meanwhile, we can go on growing as individuals. We will become more wise as we grow as a couple.
Love is actually a process of constantly embracing of life, a continuous search in which we cultivate ourselves while at the same time concern ourselves with the growth of those we lose. All of this will also project from within ourselves.