People Don't Change, How You See Them Does

People Don't Change, How You See Them Does
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 28 July, 2022

You never know how it really happens, but one day, in the middle of something simple and mundane, your eyes are opened. Maybe you have known a person for 5 months, or 5 years, but all of a sudden you realize what they are truly like, in all of their raw realness

And that is when many of your dreams break. From that point on, the fine threads of your hopes and dreams escape you. You realize you have been seeing through a filter of fascination, or of blind love. It has blocked you from seeing the real truth.

Nobody can know the depth of another person. It requires time, mutual understanding, and key moments that, little by little, open our eyes. Until that happens, we often tend to idealize others, and attribute to them exceptional characteristics. But, little by little, the veil begins to fall…

It is clear that sometimes people actually do change and transform. Situations and life experiences can change people. Nevertheless, all people possess an unmistakeable essence of being. A personality type, a level of integrity, a set of values, that remain constant throughout their life.

The ability to reach this realization lies in your hands. It is up to each individual to not accept things blindly, and to know how to read body language, to intuitively read between the lines, and to know how to interpret certain behavior.

Sometimes, love is a poor filter when there is a need to be objective. Just because you are in love doesn’t change the fact that you must always keep an open heart and your feet on the ground, rooted by balance and self-protection.

People don’t change, they wear masks 

girl with mask change

At first, everyone makes an effort to fit in. There are many people who, for example, try to balance out their sharp edges or gaps in their character with those of their partner so they balance each other out and everything is harmonious, almost…

Having said that, many of those kinds of relationships begin to develop hidden deficiencies of their own. They may even begin to show false virtues. We tend to see a couple as an essentially idealized “unit” without seeing the mask it wears.

Sooner or later, the first disappointment will appear. You don’t know how, nor do you understand how the other person is even able to say or do such a thing. However, it happens and there is nothing you can do to change it.

Little by little, revealing situations begin to emerge and put the relationship to the test. That is when each partner’s true essence comes out, their authentic personality.

So, what happened? How can things have changed so much from how they were in the beginning? You have to accept it: it is not like it happened overnight. In reality, there are people who simply aren’t who we thought they were in the beginning.

And this discovery is often heartbreaking.

Resistance to seeing the truth of loved ones 

How can you accept that a person you love very much is not the person you thought they were? Whether you believe it or not, this type of situation is a pretty common, everyday reality. In fact, it does not only occur between a couple. It can also happy in friendships and even with family members.

People don’t change overnight, and often not even over time. In reality, it is the passing of time itself that allows you to see what that person is truly like.

There is no magical formula that allows us to instantly see people as they truly are the second we meet them. In fact, many times they themselves don’t even know. Moments must be shared, lives lived and experienced, in order for a person to know themselves and have both their own beautiful and dark sides be brought to light.

So, despite how complicated this may be, there are a few key concepts that must always be kept in mind:

Avoid being the person who puts the blindfold on others 

It is already common that many people pass through the different stages of their lives wearing their own masks. Therefore, it is not worth it for you also to be one of them, passing through life blindfolded and projecting a false version of yourself. 

Avoid idealizing things: people, situations, etc… Draw conclusions from words, actions, gestures, and also silences. You can’t get to know a person from the banners that they crown themselves with, but rather by the details that you yourself are able to observe and deduce.

Don’t wait for others to change for you 

This is a mistake that many people fall victim to. Sometimes, it is possible to know beforehand what a person is like. You know their defects, and you know they could end up hurting you… However, you may say “with me, it will be different. They will change”. 

Unfortunately, they probably will not. It isn’t often that people change their way of being, their customs, their needs, their nuances. You will end up only waiting in vain, a wait that will only diminish you self-esteem and the hopes you had. Be careful, because this can easily become a dangerous and painful situation.

The problem with sincere people is that they think that others are also sincere. Therefore, it can be very difficult to see that others may live their lives from behind a mask.

Images courtesy of Catrin Welz-Stein 

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.