can people be changed?

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we have the weirdest conversations in my Italian class.

Last night, we read a dialogue taken from a movie whose title i forget right now, but it is about a group of teenage boys in Palermo and their teacher. The boys are in a prison because they are sons of mafioso and very violent. Anywho, one of the boys writes a composition: “Com’e il baccio?” (what is a kiss?) wherein he waxes poetic about what it must be like to kiss a girl as he has never had the pleasure.

From a discussion of what a kiss really is, we moved to the possibility of changing a person. I was the only woman in the room to feel that a woman cannot change a man. I do think that people can change, but they have to do it themselves. Someone else cannot effect a change, they can only be supportive. Of course, i have a vested-interest in believing that one person cannot save another. After six and a half years of trying i had to finally give up – and i don’t think i am tooting my own horn when i say that if SOMEONE was going to be successful at saving a loved one, it would be a tenacious bitch like me. I either have to believe it isn’t possible, or become a bad person.

What do you think? Can people be changed/saved from themselves?

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6 thoughts on “can people be changed?

  1. I totally agree.

    “I do think that people can change, but they have to do it themselves. Someone else cannot effect a change, they can only be supportive.”

    That’s something I could’ve written word-for-word.

    I know very well it’s possible to change if you want to (I myself am an example) but it’s not easy and you have to want it a lot. If the person themselves don’t put in considerable effort no matter how much someone else tries it’s only going to affect very little.

    I don’t however think it’s possible for everyone to change. Some people just don’t have the, for lack of a better word, willpower to change. I don’t mean this as an insult to them, people simply have different personalities and while some can concentrate on a long-term effort to exact change, others can’t put up with it.

    These people I believe are the ones who give the illusion that you can change others. These people can sometimes change if they have a lot of support from someone/some other people. Someone that will keep them on track and keep pushing them along.

    So while I think a lot of circumstances have to come together for someone to change, the one basic thing needed that, without, will short-circuit any other effort, is a true desire to change.

  2. I don’t think anyone can forcefully change someone if the said someone doesn’t want to change.

    You can ignite a desire to change, you can be supportive, show alternative, but people are not mud. We cannot shape each other in our pygmalian fantasies.

  3. I don’t understand the dichotemy: I either have to believe it isn’t possible, or become a bad person. That means that to believe it is possible to change a person is what bad people do.
    Besides, what does it mean to change a person? If you mean changing the way a person thinks about particular issues, that’s what instructors try do on a regular basis. If you mean changing habits, well that’s why their called habits and not innate behaviours. If you mean changing the essential features of someone that makes them who they are, well then I would have to assume that the person would no longer be the same person and wouldn’t have changed, but ceased to be who they were.
    There! Decipher all that.

  4. there is a dichotomy:
    either i could not have changed him and was correct in giving up
    or
    i could have changed him if i continued to try and just copped out because i was finding it too hard to deal with anymore. the last would make me a bad person.

  5. The last wouldn’t make you a bad person.

    The weight of his problems is on HIS shoulders, not yours. You can’t be asked to cope with more than you can. You couldn’t cope anymore, and it’s okay to walk away before you yourself is being destroyed in the process.

    Believe me, I walked away from such a relationship too late. I was no one anymore – just him and his problems. I had no identity left. I had to reconstruct myself from scratch. You don’t want that, trust me.

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