Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

You can’t change other people. You can only change yourself.

I have given up on a few people lately. It’s uncommon for me to give up. I just know, feel and believe that I cannot win these fights that are inside those persons. I am nothing more than a bystander. I genuinely thought that I could help them change. I know better now. To quote Lorraine Bracco: “You can’t change other people. You can only change yourself.”

Even in my darkest 2013 moments, I refused to give up on myself. There is one exception though. Late August 2013, I finally did give up for a brief moment. Immediately something extraordinary happened in front of me and I understood its message: Don’t Give Up. As Everything follows Why, the answer to this why relates to Faith, Beliefs & Willpower

I was determined to climb out of the black hole that I had fallen into. My problem in 2013 was how. Life felt so complicated that it was difficult for me to see how I could change. Many people will advise you on Change but the filter between hearing and listening is often preventive for Change. Next to hearing and listening, each following hurdle of Change becomes harder: accepting, believing, willpower and Faith.

Accepting yourself isn’t easy. To a certain extent, I have fought almost my entire adult life against who I am. I wanted to be a different person. I couldn’t win that fight and that realisation frustrated me. My marriage made me even drift further apart from who I am and my frustration accelerated. I think those were the years that I developed a defensive armour and a warrior to pick fights.

In 2013, my defensive armour and the warrior inside me, could no longer protect me. The near meltdown shook my beliefs to their core and I was forced to reconsider them. That was the moment that I realised that I should accept myself for who I am rather than what I am (eg, roles). That also removed the frustrating gap between my “as is” and “should be” version.

With hindsight I think, feel and believe that I have underestimated the defensive armour of – and the warrior inside – other people. Probably, we all have these two attributes to cope with the “demons” of our past. The warrior will only surrender once it realises that it cannot win its fight. Then the armour finally comes off.

I have noticed that I am less and less inclined to wait for that moment in other people. It took me decades to realise that you cannot change other people. You can only change yourself. It’s another lesson learned and comes close to an (allegedSun Tzu quote: “If a battle cannot be won, do not fight it”.

While writing this blog, I noticed a rather depressing quote by Lisa Unger: “You cannot hope for change in others, you can only work toward it in yourself. And that’s hard work.” I strongly disagree with the 1st part. Once you lose hope in others, you lose a part of yourself. Once you lose hope in yourself then all is lost.

When I do give up on people, I stop caring for them, and minimise my contact with them. It’s my coping mechanism. Yet I know that deep down inside me, there will always be a spark left.

Don’t Give Up (1986) by Peter Gabriel & Kate Bushlyrics, video, Wiki


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