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Monday, April 12, 2010

Have You Ever Wondered… # 1 - If you would change a person you loved?

Hey guys this is a new column that I am starting that I got the idea for when I was thinking one day. I have a lot of questions that most of the time go unanswered because perhaps no one knows the answer or there is no right or wrong answer. Regardless, I find it would be best to get a wide scope to judge what the possible solutions are kind of like a poll. This is what this new column is for, where I pose a question and give a little background on it and then give my personal anecdote on it, leaving room for you to discover your own. Some of this will be related to moral dilemmas but they can range from a variety of topics. I realize that most of the answers will result in an "it depends" response but it still can't hurt to elaborate on it and perhaps you'll learn more about yourself in the process. Hopefully you guys will have questions of your own and maybe I can put them up here too.

The first question I would like to pose is one that I wonder often, if you disliked something about a person would you want to change them. Now this is a pretty obvious answer for those that you dislike as a whole but it is a much harder decision I believe when it comes to someone who you really care about. If a loved one had a flaw that annoyed you or didn’t fit your likes then would you change them if you had the ability to? What I always find myself conflicted with is that are their flaws part of the whole package and if you slightly alter one thing will they not be the same person that you loved in the first place? Is it true that every little quirk gives a person personality and without it then they wouldn’t be the familiar loved one as before? We all know that nobody is perfect but everybody has their own views of what perfect is going along with their perspective like the podcast I did before. Because everybody has different interests, so do their views upon other people. For this reason you can't appear perfect in the eyes of one person without possibly upsetting another. Would you want a person to be perfect anyways because imperfection gives them a way to relate to them because you yourself aren't perfect?

On a side tangent of perfection I noticed something when I was watching the movie Clash of the Titans. When you try to personify things like gods they begin to have flaws just like humans. You could clearly tell that they were vengeful like when Zeus slept with another one's wife just to get revenge for the man disrespecting him. They commit sins just as much as the humans did. One possible explanation is that they had different codes of conduct back then but it still makes gods seem like just imperfect humans with some incredible powers. Just something interesting to think about.

Anyways, back to the main topic. I realized that the whole situation of changing flaws is really based upon the one with the problem at hand that is trying to be changed. Some say that people only successfully change for themselves because only you can make you feel a certain way and do certain things. This kind of goes along the lines that people can only make you feel inferior if you let them and you yourself think you're inferior. They also say that if you try to change for someone else they you begin resenting the person who wanted you to change. I think that sometimes you do try to appease others, especially loved ones, with some spectacular results. It is good to have criticism because it opens your eyes to some aspects of yourself that have the potential for improvement. You might not realize something is wrong, and it might not be, but just by having an outside opinion, your personal viewing spectrum can broaden up. As I said in the introduction, the answer to this question will most likely end with an "it depends." It depends upon the flaw at hand to really get an appropriate response. If someone snores and it drives you crazy then that might be an appropriate circumstance to change the person for something little like that. It also may not be depending upon your morals because you should be able to deal with it if you really love the person. The aspect of selfishness comes into play with this discussion because others might want you to change for their own benefit, or it might be a detrimental flaw that is ushering in the downfall of the relationship. We all have pet peeves and things that get under our skin like nails on a chalkboard. If there is no way to get around it then maybe some changes need to occur. Another instance may be where one person smokes and the other has terrible allergies and gets sick because of the smoking. Here I don't believe it is selfish for the one to ask the other to stop smoking because it really is harming their ability to grow together. As with most things, relationships are a healthy balance filled with compromise. Playing the "if you really loved me you would…" card is an unfair way to gain leverage over others that doesn’t foster healthy connections. I also noticed that guilt plays a role in this decision because there is a chance you would feel guilty because you made someone change for your own selfish wants.

Another thing to take into consideration is the possible consequences of the impending change. You expect positive results to ensue after the change but there is always the possibility that negative results can take hold too. If you take away someone's beloved videogame then they could turn to a life of crime and drugs as a revolt against the change. While this isn't necessarily the case, it sure is a possibility. Life is all based upon trying to improve your life from your current situation and sometimes the best way to achieve this is by fitting in with your surroundings. To have a healthy and happy lifestyle you need to manage good relationships and those are partnerships with a lot of giving and taking involved. But who is to say the best way to deal with it? You have to find your own optimal way to deal with this situation yourself based on your morals and values and hopefully this has made you think about them. Hope you enjoyed reading this and send in your own philosophical questions you'd like answered!

-Allan Nicholas

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