If you can only change yourself to be more beautiful, more interesting, more…something, you’ll earn someone’s love. So, you exert effort to earn love. You feel unworthy of love. So, you try to be useful to someone. You betray yourself and try to change yourself. You lose your soul and the essence of who you are and try to mold yourself into someone the other person can love.
“If only I’m different, this person will love me,” you think and act accordingly.
Such thinking is destructive.
Love is not something you need to earn. It’s not about making yourself perfect for someone. It’s not about changing yourself to be the person someone needs.
Love is not changing yourself to earn someone’s love.
In the 1st year I started living together with my partner, he was keen to change a lot of things about me. He wanted me to enjoy watching football like him. To be adventurous like him. To wear sexy nightgowns every night. He had hinted several times that he would like me to take an interest in hosting dinner parties in our home.
I did not change myself to earn his love. I’ve learned in my past failed relationships that I don’t need to lose my essence or who I am for the relationship to work. If someone does not love me for who I am, if someone wants me to earn his love, then I need to get the hell out. Because trying to earn someone’s love is to be in an unhealthy relationship. Trying to change for someone else is to betray yourself.
I’m an imperfect person. I’m not trying to be perfect for someone I love. I still don’t like watching football. My boyfriend spends Saturday afternoons watching football games with his buddies. And I’m okay with that. I’m still not adventurous. I enjoy spending time reading in my home instead of going out to check new restaurants in the city I live in. I like wearing comfortable pajamas every night, not something that reveals my entire body. Maybe on special occasions, I wear nighties for a special night. And he is okay with that. I don’t host dinner parties. We’ve talked, and he does not expect me to do so.
I don’t need to convince, persuade, chase, or win someone over to earn his love.
Neither do you.
You don’t need to change yourself to earn someone’s love.
Because when you change for someone to become a better man or woman, you’re saying the person you were before was not enough. You don’t need to become something better just to have someone’s affection, even if that someone is a great person.
Love is not asking someone to change to earn your love.
If I’m honest, I would — ideally — like to change plenty of things about my partner. I would like him to stop watching football on the TV screen with his buddies. I would like him to love teaching and writing exactly as I do. To be great at handling our finances like I am. To love The Fibonacci’s rock band as I do.
But I shouldn’t demand that he changes himself to earn my love or that he becomes a different person for the relationship to work. I can and should love our differences. I can and should love him while he pursues his own interests, passion, and hobbies.
So can you.
Love is not about finding someone who has changed, will change, or is changed enough to earn your love or to be perfect for you. It’s not about wanting someone to change to earn your love. Nor is it about discovering someone who totally changes himself to be the person you need.
You shouldn’t change because you feel you need to change fundamental things about yourself to earn someone’s love.
Of course, change is part of your life. As humans, we’re continually changing. This is a good thing. You and your partner will form opinions and have new ideas over the years.
If you’re going to change yourself for someone you love, it needs to be entirely your decision. You need to do it for the right reasons. Any change you make must be because you want to love the person in front of you and want to grow together. Not because you’re trying to earn someone’s love.
There’s a difference between changing yourself as a person because you want someone to love you and changing small things about yourself because you want things to work with someone who already loves you for who you are. Like my willingness to spend Saturday afternoons with my friends while he enjoys football games. Like my partner’s effort to tidy up our home because I hate mess (for context: he’s someone who leaves his shoes in the middle of our living room, ignores an overflowing laundry hamper, and a sink full of dishes.)
Any change you want to make must be because you want you and your partner to be happier and stronger as a couple. Not because your partner pressures you. Nor should you change because you’re trying to earn someone’s love.
Your partner should love you for your core self because that core — your soul, your essence, whatever you want to call it — will not change. You’re who you are and whilst you’ll always grow and change throughout your life, you should never be made to feel you’re not worthy of love.
You’re wonderful just the way you are. Anyone you’re in a relationship with should love you that way.
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