True Love is Helping Your Loved One Become the Best Version of Themselves, Not Forcing Them to Become Something They’re Not
Love is a truly special thing, and finding true love is mind-blowing. Unfortunately, most people get infatuated with someone and want them so badly even if they’re not exactly their type. Then they try to change or mold that person into their exact specs. However, true love doesn’t work that way.
While it does make you want to help your loved one become the best version of themselves, it doesn’t force them to become who they are not.
You cannot force anyone to change
“Real love is accepting other people the way they are without trying to change them.” – Don Miguel Ruiz
This is true, especially when you only want them to change to conform to your standards. Selfish interests are always a red flag in a relationship and they send the wrong signal to your supposed loved one which makes them want to leave you.
Try to understand that most times, the things you feel would help you if you were in that situation might not be beneficial to someone else. For instance, you might be the sort of person who needs tough love to achieve a goal, while another person prefers to be left to work things out on their own. Either way, that should be their decision.
They are responsible for themselves and no amount of force, threats, or cajoling on your part will make any long-term change in them. Granted, while they might act as if they have changed it will most likely be temporary and they will eventually begin to resent you.
The Fantasy Bond
The Fantasy Bond as it was termed by Dr. Robert Firestone is an “illusion of fusion.” Essentially, this occurs when couples over-connect and begin to lose their sense of self. In such a situation, when one partner realizes that perhaps they might have jumped the gun on that one and are not as similar as they thought, they’d attempt to change the other person to fit the standard they desire. They overstep the other person’s boundaries until they drive them nuts and push them away. 
According to Rachel Perlstein, LCSW, relationship coach, and co-founder of A Good First Date, forcing a relationship means one of the following things; one or both partners feel the relationship requires a ton of work, their needs are not being met, and the relationship feels stuck. Unsurprisingly, these types of relationships tend not to last. 
What true love entails
“In real love you want the other person’s good. In romantic love you want the other person.” – Margaret Anderson.
First off, it’s hard. It’s difficult, and at the risk of sounding cliché, it’s complicated. Despite that, it is beautiful. True love is loving someone even when you hate them.
Indeed, change is the most constant thing in life. And that’s a good thing. There is no reason to remain stagnant and in one place for the rest of your life. Two people who are in love with each other ought to grow together and still have their unique perspectives on various issues.
True love means you understand that the other person has a right to their own opinions. It also means that although you might sway towards different directions, as a whole, you will still move together. 
Here are a few other things true love entails
- It means letting go of the expectations you have and simply loving “as is”.
- More than a feeling, it’s an action, so you have to show them just how much you love them.
- It is unconditional.
- It understands and accepts the differences between two people without trying to make one become what they are not. 
“Real love means loving-kindness and compassion, the kind of love that does not have any conditions.” – Nhat Hahn
Instead of forcing someone to be who they are not, here are five ways you can show them that you truly love them and still help them change for the better
1.Make them feel special
This way, they know you value them. It’s when they feel unappreciated that they tend to fall deeper into despair because they think whatever they do doesn’t make a difference. A few kind words here and there might just be all the inspiration they need.
2. Pay attention to them
Truly listen to them. Don’t talk, let them speak, and this time, hear them. Endeavor to not get hooked on your personal experience and preach about it to them every chance you get. It’s great that you made positive changes in your life, but this isn’t about you, it’s about them.
Let them figure out their next line of action without your recurring input on what they MUST do. Just do not project your ideas onto them. You can only encourage them to come to you and share more if they feel you have a genuine interest in their issue.
3. Ask them how best you can help them
This is a great way to let them have some semblance of control over their lives. You might feel tempted to take total control over them, but try as much as possible not to do that because it is counterproductive. Instead of controlling them, work hand in hand with them.
Anyone about to make a change requires some space to do that. You hovering around them and demanding they do things your way will make them feel incompetent instead of feeling empowered by your help. Just offer your unconditional help and they will come to you. 
4.Have a guiding spirit
This means that you guide them into the change as opposed to directing them to it. The difference is that in guiding, you work with them to achieve a goal without being overbearing, while in directing you order them to do what you want.
Everyone needs a little guidance here and there and your loved one will be sure to appreciate it coming from you.
5.Help them find reasons why they have to make a change
Again, you cannot be selfish about this. Don’t make the mistake of putting the “how” before the “why”. In that case, all you’re worried about is how to get them to change without letting them figure out why they need to do that. However, in a short while, they will figure it out and rebel against you. 
Ultimately, it’s understandable you want them to change, nevertheless, be honest about your motives. If they are pure and not selfish, then you’ll be able to walk the balance between lovingly pushing them to be the best versions of themselves and forcing them to change into the image of them you have.
Eventually, you will see them blossom from a caterpillar into a happy and beautiful butterfly because of your love.
- “7 Ways to Be a More Loving Partner… and 3 reasons we so often fall short.” Psychology Today. Lisa Firestone. February 1, 2016.
- “7 Behaviors That Ruin a Relationship.” Psychology Today. Lisa Firestone Ph.D. August 8, 2016.
- “Real Love Is Not Being Asked To Change, Or Asking Someone To Change For You.” Thought Catalog. Marisa Donnelly. August 10,2017.
- “16 Characteristics of Real Love.” HuffPost. Dr. Carol Morgan. Accessed February 3, 2020.
- “You Can’t Change Someone Else. But You Can Do This.” Psychology Today. Nancy Colier LCSW, Rev. March 23, 2016.
- “The Ultimate Guide to Helping Someone Change.” Steve Rose PhD. Steve Rose. April 5, 2019.