(All pictures taken by me, at my homecity Thessaloniki, Greece, 2017)
Don't change the people you love. Hold them by your side, as they are. Cherish their flaws, understand their differences, have fun with their weird habits. They may be picky, beautiful, humble, immature, proud, tired, over-loved (if such thing exists), shy, ashamed, spoiled, kind, generous. People can be so many things at the same time and they can be both positive and negative ones. They can have it all and they might have nothing at all. But they all have something that is meant for you and something that they can never give to you.
Let them grow by your side whatever they are. To evolve, to bond with you and allow to yourself to tie with them its best part; your most powerful and compassionate one. Let each one of them to know you, to touch you, to hug you. Emotionally. Physically. Let them see your soul and let them show you theirs. Let them reach you and let them go. Let them find out what you feel for them, the love, the respect, the admiration. Let them know how important they are to you, how much their presence means, how bigger your heart grows around them and how less significant your problems seem when they are smiling to you.
Let all of them teach you the lessons that life made them learn, to show you images their eyes have captured, sounds that their ears have listened to and words are poor to describe, smells that made their early childhood more tasty. Let them give you the things they wish, the things they can, those they love the most, the ones that don't make them sad or the ones they feel proud of. Let them be what they can next to you. Don't change them, don't even try. And for God's shake, don't change them for someone else just because it's easier. Let them introduce themselves the way they are and let them stay this way. And if you see they do hesitate to reveal their real face, give them the space and the encouraging words they need. Sometimes it’s only one word that people need to hear. It takes one look to undress themselves for you. Other times it is one notion that they seek for before opening their soul in front of you. But you can never know if you focus on changing people, instead of learning and listening to them.
You know it's that fear that makes people hide most of the time. The fear that you won't like what you see, the fear that you won't approve and you will be forced to change them. It's the fear that you will demand that change from them and the fear that they won't be able to do that for you. It's that same fear that makes them shut down to themselves and leave you outside. And it's the fear that you will so easily replace them when they won't change for you. People are irreplaceable. You can replace your broken mug or your broken bicycle, you can replace your BMW with the newest model or you iPhone with its newest version, you can change the cigarettes you smoke with lighter or richer in flavor depending your taste, you can change your eating habits or the way you have sex. You can change your style, your hair color, your gender, your name, your religion. You can change your citizenship, your country, your job, your political orientation. But when you love someone you cannot change him/her for someone else. You have to stop loving them to do so. And if you still love them you, you cannot ask them to change. You see, when you change something it means you don’t like it anymore, you don’t need it anymore or it doesn’t do the job that you wanted it to do.
People do change sometimes. Not because you ask them to neither because they want to. They change because of certain events, under circumstances, through experiences they didn't expect. They grow, they feel, they learn. Eventually they turn into something different, better or worse, into a new version of themselves. People change but you shouldn't ask them to. In case you are close to them when they face the change, you should keep in mind that they are not the same person anymore and maybe you are not the same you used to be. You should be ready to love them again, to learn them again, to let them be all over again. And you should be ready to let that powerful part of yours that has been left to bond with them to be used. You have to use that strong and compassionate part, your love. Let them be who they are, let them love you the way they can, let them be loved by you for what they are, what they have become. And let your love grow. Let your love breathe.
Can you imagine yourself being forced to change? I’m pretty sure you were asked at least once to do so and I’m absolutely sure that for one single moment you did that change to please someone you loved a lot. And I am talking out of my own personal experience that when you changed that little thing, or refused to do the smallest action, say the word that was annoying them or when you quitted that habit that bothered them, you were feeling caged, trapped, oppressed. It doesn’t matter what someone asks you to change, it matters why they ask you to. And to my mind when someone asks you to do that, there are signs of not being satisfied. But we are not a project to be implemented perfectly. We are not a job to be done in accuracy. We are not an experimental object, nor the observatory of someone else’s sociological study. Each one of us is a piece of art. For that, if you ever feel the need to change someone, think again. Would you change a masterpiece? Would you buy a painting and then color it again because you love some specific colors? Would you buy a book and write it again when you don’t like the story? Would you interrupt a theatrical performance just to make it better according to your opinion?
Why should you change a person? Why should you change someone you love? Why should you ask someone to change what they love, because probably people like themselves the way they are. Why should you ask yourself to do that to someone else when you, yourself, wouldn’t be willing to change a thing?
For all this, for all those questions, for all this thinking I tell you once again to not change the people you love. Let them be, let them breathe. And most of all, let them know that their being, their breathing is what you love the most.