By the end of this short blog I will answer your question of whether you should change who you are.
If you are anything like me, you have tried to fit in with everybody for a long time. It wouldn’t surprise me if you’ve asked these questions more and more in recent years.
Should I change who I am?
Should I have to compromise who I am?
Who the hell am I?
The idea of change, specifically of changing ourselves, is ubiquitous. It’s really everywhere. We see quotes like “be the change that you wish to see in the world” (said by Gandhi), adverts for ways to ‘change for the better,’ and so on. We hear our friends or parents saying “you’ve changed in last few months.”
Change means to be something different. When you change your clothes you don’t just swap your socks, and you don’t change your car by replacing the wheels. The thing is, I feel I am essentially the same person I was in my teens. Maybe wiser, but that’s not for me to truly judge. So when I see these calls to change, and am struck with the thought of becoming different, it makes me think.
I don’t believe this kind of change is really about changing ‘you’. But it seems that way at first glance, which is why so many people are offended when change is on the table, and resist it or become insulted by the idea that they need to change. So should we change who we are?
We have to STOP thinking we need to change who we are.
Instead, let’s tweak who we are. If you have a house or a car you love, you don’t change it when something’s not quite right: you tweak it or repair it. This works with everything, people included, so we need to do away with our obsession over changing ourselves and others. Especially friends or partners: they are part of your life for a reason, stop trying to change them. Remember why they came into your life, what it is you love about them, and what they give to you. If you can improve your relationships by improving yourself rather than by trying to alter other people, then why not do that?
I’m always tweaking something like my attitude, humor, emotions and the way I do things, because I recognise my flaws. I love the fact I cry at even slightly emotional movies, feel guilty if I run over a snail, always try to see things from both sides, think a little too much, and get hurt easily. It means the biggest part of me is my heart, and that I’m not going to change. As for the rest of me: I will never stop tweaking who I am and how I work, and I will never stop improving because of it.
So today, I’ve made a little tweak of my own to Gandhi’s famous quote: “Be the tweaks you would like to see in others.”
Updated for 2023