“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Is this true? Although I do believe that people are capable of change in some areas of their life, I do wonder if there are certain traits that have been ingrained too deeply to change.
My first step father was an alcoholic. He had to hit rock bottom in order to quit drinking, but he quit nonetheless. He successfully changed. Alcoholism is a habit though, not a trait. It’s not in the same category as, for instance, anger and selfishness. Those characteristics are often ingrained in us as children and become a part of who we are. Therefore, they are much more difficult to change.
This is proven best in those who have had multiple marriages. Their ex-spouse often has the same complaints about them, as does their current spouse. Without a doubt, both of them pointed out the issue, yet the person still refused to change. Most likely, that was because they never accepted or believed that they in fact, had an issue to begin with.
When two or more people point out an issue in someone, then that person should evaluate themselves. It’s very unlikely that both people who mentioned it, did so simply out of spite. There was a valid reason behind their claim and therefore the issue should be addressed.
What baffles me most, is that even after several people have pointed out the same issue in a person, they still refuse to accept that they have a problem. Do they honestly believe that everyone is just “out to get” them by fabricating these things? I suppose for many people it’s easier to place the blame on others, or perhaps they are simply in denial.
To me, this is similar to if a person steals a tool from a store. You, seeing them in the act, label them a thief. They in turn, look at you as if you’re out of your mind for accusing them of such a thing. Although the evidence is in their hand, they’re not a thief. It’s you who can’t see correctly.
It is impossible to change someone. They have to be willing to change themselves. But if they don’t believe that they have an issue, how will they ever change? What does it take for someone to realize that they have traits that need fixing?
I hate to think that there are some people who will never change, but I’m beginning to wonder if there are.
If we can’t teach an old dog new tricks, then why waste energy on it? Perhaps with a different perspective, the dog’s old tricks may not seem so bad after all.
I suppose the best advice then would be, instead of focusing on other people’s issues, we should only focus on our own.
“If you change yourself, then you will change your world.”