“You’re no longer the same, you’ve changed a lot”, is one of the criticisms we receive often and it is also likely that in some occasion we ourselves have make it to others. Behind these words hides often a feeling of disappointment. The person feels that, in some way, has been betrayed or deceived, so that ends up accusing the other, blaming him for being changed. With these words, he is saying that the other is not trustworthy or deserves to be loved, because the initial premises on which was built the relationship no longer exist.
Of course, when these words are addressed to us, especially if they come from someone we love or esteem, we feel bad and immediately do an examination of conscience. The problem is that looking within ourselves, we realize that we’ve really changed. So we automatically feel guilty. And suddenly, we feel overwhelmed by the weight of the problems in our relationship, although it shouldn’t happen.
We all change, it would be strange if we continue to be the same
Some believe that personality is immutable. Even psychologists thought that way until not long time ago. According to this point of view, if you are extroverted or introverted, you will continue to be so until the end of your days.
A recent study by psychologists at the University of Edinburgh established that it’s not like that, proving that we are a completely different person at 14 and at 77 years old. These researchers analyzed the results of the test of personality of 174 adolescents in 1947 and applied again the same test to the same people 60 years later, to assess the changes in their personality.
Were evaluated six key characteristics: self-confidence, perseverance, emotional balance, self-awareness, creativity and the desire to exceed themselves. So they discovered that the personality of these people had changed considerably over time, to the point that in some cases it was virtually impossible to draw any parallels. In fact, only two people showed some stable characteristics: emotional balance and self-awareness.
This proves that the circumstances of life and the way we face them, are shaping us slowly over the years. Therefore, it is perfectly normal to change, want different things, and have different dreams and change opinions and even believes. On the other side, it would be really strange if we remain anchored to the same “ego”, because this would mean that we have not learned anything from experience, we are not accrued.
Don’t allow the others to make you feel guilty, you have the right to change
Life is movement. If a person expects that nothing changes is feeding an illusory, unreal expectation. Unfortunately, many people cling to immobility because the idea of movement and change terrifies them. To these people the prospect that the other can change causes suffering, they wish that everything be permanent, because then they can have a false sense of security.
So, when they tell you that you’ve changed and you are no longer the same person, what they are really saying is that you have stopped meeting their expectations, you ceased to feed their needs and don’t meet the image that they had of you.
Why does this happen?
The most likely thing is that you continued growing, while that person remained stuck in the past. So now your differences are even more marked, by the moment that your expectations, hopes and goals are different, like the way you react to life.
Obviously, this change didn’t happen overnight, so the criticism is generally motivated by the lack of attention. At some point in the relationship got lost the intimacy and connection that you had, then you become almost a stranger to that person, who has not been able to see in time your changes and adapt accordingly.
How to deal with this reproach?
– Don’t let them blame you. Don’t let that this reproach makes you feel guilty. You have the right to change and not live to meet the expectations of the others. Change is part of life.
– Ask the other to be accurate. Say that “you are no longer the same” is a general criticism that doesn’t lead anywhere. Ask the person to specify what thing is misses of you. Maybe you should really devote more time to the relationship or recover some of the habits and gestures that you had before.
– Know yourself better. Sometimes we change so fast that we’re not fully aware of these changes, so we need to exercise our self-awareness to reconnect with these new parts of our “ego”. This way you’ll know exactly what you want and where you’re headed.
– Close a phase of your life. Life consists in closing some circles and open others. When the gap is too big, sometimes the only solution is to separate our paths. Instead of harming each other, fueling criticism and dissatisfaction, if everyone looks in a different direction is better be both free to pursue our dreams.
We stop to know someone the same time when we stop to pay attention to him
It is important to never take anything for granted. If in your life you met special people that you want to keep close to you, be sure to dedicate the time and create the intimate moments that allow you to learn more about this person and discover his new side. So you can be near him at every stage of this process of transformation and you will grow together.
Harris, M. A. et. Al. (2016) Personality Stability From Age 14 to Age 77 Years. Psychology of Aging; 31(8): 862–874.