Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Can People Truly Change?


I was inspired to write this post while watching 'A Christmas Carol' last month. I have always loved Charles Dickens' classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge because it illustrates that we all have the capacity to change - that if we truly want to, we can change. 
I realize though that this goes against conventional wisdom. We are basically told, as illustrated in the quote above, that a leopard cannot change its spots. That people are who they are, and nothing will change who they fundamentally are as a person.

I however do not believe that at all. I believe that if we truly want to change, we can. People turn their lives around every single day. 

What do you think? Do you think people can truly change?

127 comments:

  1. I think our basic selves are formed when we are young, but our attitudes can be changed at any time. And we have seen people turn their lives around in a single moment.

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  2. I think we can change if we want to... there will be a lot of hard work and some rocky roads but it is more that possible... hence why we shouldn't judge each other... instead we should help each other... Thoughtful post Keith :-)

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  3. I think there are certain things we CAN change, but our core personality remains. If a person is, for example, an introvert, they can work on changing behaviors that help them become more outgoing; but inside they will still BE that introvert. If a person is angry by nature, they can learn ways of expressing that anger acceptably but I believe the angry nature will still remain. In summary, I guess, my thought is: One's core personality does not change; but behaviors can adapt that person in different directions.

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  4. i think that we can change....it takes a conscious choice and effort, but we can...i have seen too many lives change drastically, my own included...i think a lot of outside forces press us into areas that we were never meant to be....and we can break out of it...

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  5. Yes - everyone can grow and change for the better! That's the meaning of life.

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  6. If people WANT to change, then I think they probably can.

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  7. Yes, I believe people certainly can change. But only if they want to.

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  8. I think people can change. People evolve. I am not who I was 5 years ago or even a year ago. If they really want to, people can change.

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  9. I do believe people can consciously change their behavior and life choices. But it is not an easy thing to do, and the person has to be committed to making the change. Takes awhile for the change to be permanent, too.

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  10. Hello Keith.
    Change is very difficult. And I agree with you that it is possible, if there is a will to do so.
    Some of the best things in life are the result of making a change.

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  11. a person has to change for themselves - a true change of heart from inside - or it won't 'stick'. if you change for someone else, it'll never work.

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  12. Absolutley. I believe we are who we are based on our geography and family situation and those kinds of changes are harder because they are deep..however there are many changes that come very easy based on desire. You are a good example..look at the wonderful positive changes in store for you because you chose them!

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  13. If the desire and determination is strong enough, it can be done. I am ever the optimist!

    Big hugs, honey...

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  14. I've seen many who have tried and failed. I think discipline is the key. If you've not discipline then no. If you do then yes, but you have to want a change. Being forced to change doesn't work.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  15. Sure, people can change when it is something they want to do. It happens all the time.

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  16. It is hard work but it can happen. I know this personally.
    Many facets of CHANGE . . .
    physical, emotional, spiritual . . . more . . .

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  17. I do think that people can change if they really want to. But there are also some hopeless cases who never will. I know some of them personally.

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  18. We absolutely can change. Always, at any time. We can change the way we think about things - nobody else can change us, only we can change our way of thinking. We have that power - and that also means we can change everything about ourselves. But only if we want to :) I believe in that 100%.
    Amazing post, honey!

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  19. Hi Keith,
    I love this Tom Hiddleston quote!
    I think people can change. Every day when we awaken from sleep, we have the chance to start fresh. Anew.
    Like Beate says above, when we change our thoughts, we change our outcomes.
    I also think change can be intimidating and we can help each other. Some of the most powerful change happens when we work together!
    Hugs for you!

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  20. Oh yes, people can and do change but you have to WANT to first.

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  21. I agree with Tom: people can change. But often others try to keep them in the mold with which they are accustomed to seeing them -- it is why actors are so often type-cast. It takes courage and determination to alter who we have become and to overcome the inertia of others' refusal to let us grow, Great post, Keith

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  22. Lots of good opinions here. I know someone who changed one thing (smoking) because he wanted to. Wish he would change some more important habits.

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  23. Yes, even ISIS can, I hope. Or SI SI in Italy.

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  24. I absolutely think people can change, but that involves facing up to uncomfortable truths about ourselves, so it takes insight and courage. None of us are perfect, so we all need to work on making ourselves into the best versions of ourselves. My yoga teacher always says that is one of the main reasons why we practice yoga, to let go of the bad stuff and to try to fulfil our potential.

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  25. People can slightly change, but that temptation to go back to the way they were is always going to be there.

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  26. If a person is going to change significantly, there has to be a strong internal desire/motivation to do so. It would also require a change in lifestyle, and possibly a change in friends with whom the person normally associates with. If this doesn't happen, the person will pretty much remain ingrained in his/her old habits.

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  27. Well, let's put it this way, I will always give them a chance to change and hope for the best. I think we should always try and see the best qualities in people, even though they may try to hide them under a hard shell. None of us after all are perfect.

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  28. Yes, I agree with the quote. But it depends what's meant by "change." Our core/spirit/soul remains and constant and outlasts our bodies, I believe. Yet we (ideally) grow, mature, and adapt all the time.

    Be well, Keith.

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  29. Yes, I believe people can change. That is only IF they really want to change.
    Great post, Keith! Have a happy week!

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  30. I think that people can change on some level. Sadly, most people never feel the need to change, and place the blame on everyone else instead.

    Julie

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  31. I totally believe it is possible! Like the previous commenters, real change needs to come from a desire within. And it's rarely easy either.

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  32. Keith
    I have seen too much as a nurse of 34 years
    The simple answer to your question
    Is
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes

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  33. I love A Christmas Carol! It's my favorite Christmas movie and one of my favorite Christmas stories all around. I think people can change...it may be difficult and some things and people will not change, but I believe in possibility.

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  34. Oh I truly hope so… Yes, I do believe so… but I think it's difficult… most of the time I think it has to do with the softening of the heart. I know I'm trying to change every day---always wanting to better myself. <3

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  35. I'm with you. People can change, if they want to. It would be just too sad to believe otherwise.

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  36. The will to change has to come from within. Some people have this ability, but not all of us do. I think it depends on brain chemical balance for one thing. And on what kind of genes we chose from the pool.

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  37. I truly believe people can change but they really have to WANT to do so. THAT is the but. "I want to quit smoking BUT it is so hard. I want to end my drug use BUT I do not have the ability. I want to get an education BUT I am unable to learn." Those buts end a lot of things. I think it needs to be replaced by I WILL.
    You cannot force someone to change as it has to begin with them. My sister-in-law died because she just would not stop drinking and drug use, not even for her 3 year old and 5 year old. An uncle would not stop smoking for anyone and cancer killed him. It is sad to not have the ability to help them.

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  38. I don't think people can change their inherent character, but they can change their lives, what they do and their responses to other people and to different situations. It possibly is not easy for many people to do this but that doesn't mean that people should not try.

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  39. Most definitely we can change. And The Christmas Carol is my husband's favorite. He watches every version.

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  40. I do believe some people do change. Some by choice and other by the circumstances that happen in their lives.

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  41. My answer won't surprise you, because as a believer in God, I believe he changes people from the inside out. He did it for me and if he changed me so much, he'll do it for anyone who asks.

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    1. My answer is the same as Gail's. It's often a waste of time trying to change other people, but the Lord can change lives, and He's changed mine.

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  42. Yes, I think people can change. Sometimes it take a life event that rattles to the core, but people can change. I have seen it.
    R

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  43. Of course people can change. It's rarely easy, and sometimes, like Rick Watson said, it takes a life event that humbles you to your bones, but we can all change for the better. We are all works in progress. Whether the progress is forward or backward is up to us, but all lofty goals - and that includes big changes - are possible if we want it badly enough and are willing to do the work. I like to remain optimistic about people and their desire to become better people.

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  44. Hi There, Sorry I haven't been around much lately. I had knee surgery --and it hasn't been easy! Congrats on your marriage....I know you enjoyed your German experience.... CONGRATS.

    YES--people CAN change --but most of the time, they don't... It's all about choices and how one lives...It's also about attitude....

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  45. I think people can change, but they have to want to. And then with the decision comes an extraordinary amount or hard work.

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  46. Some things we can change. If we want to or need to enough. Work in progress. Always.

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  47. Change never stops. It is trying to freeze something or someone that causes pain and yes we can influence change towards the positive.

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  48. Change truly is the most constant thing in our lives... We are growing and changing everyday! But our personality and genetic predesposition more or less remains the same... Spots on the leopard is innate similarly certain things are innate to us, but change is also innate too!

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  49. ja ik denk dat sommige mensen echt kunnen veranderen als hun ook de mogelijkheden geboden wordt.

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  50. I agree with you that people can change if they want too.
    It can be very difficult though.. as many people e.g addicts say - they would love to be free of their addiction.. want to change.. yet struggle. In those cases, they may then act in ways that even they themselves abhor..
    Yet despite the struggle - yes change is possible
    i find that reassuring, as there are many things that I myself seek to change/improve

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  51. Oh yes, they can change... goodness, when you think about it, they can't NOT change, on some level. Each day we are new people, with new opportunities to grow and learn.

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  52. I did. Changed for the better that is. I used to be angry, stressed all the time. Met Brian -- and I changed for the better ... calm, no stress. It's all up to you!

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  53. Umm ... I feel what we are made of, the basic essence, it can't be changed ... but yes, we adapt, we learn, we improve or degrade, depending upon our choice, and thus our attitude, our behavior towards others, towards ourselves, do often change as we grow with time!

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  54. People definitely change, and improve, and grow! I've never believed a leopard can't change its spots...when applies to human beings. :)

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  55. Definitely yes, people can change but it takes something that will change their way of thinking first.

    Nice having you back Keith.
    Hugs,
    JB

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  56. I think most people can change. Hopefully most of us are evolving into better people as we age. :)

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  57. Yes; I do believe people can change. Deep down they might keep some of those characteristics that they tried to change and they may have to work on them so they don't flare up again, but I do believe if a person puts their mind to it, they can change. I know I used to be very impatient. I worked on being less so. I still struggle with it, but definitely a step in the right direction, so yes change can occur!

    betty

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  58. I was married to a man for a few years, and he divorced me. During the divorce process, I was changing...back to the person I was before marrying him (a much better person btw!) I remember my Mom saying, "we're getting our old Cindy back." So, yes people can change...sometimes they change for someone else, when they shouldn't!

    Cindy Bee

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  59. People most definitely can change. We just have to want to!!

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  60. Well, first of all, any post with a photo of Tom Hiddleston gets my attention! Yes, I believe people can change but most people are too lazy, fearful and angry to attempt it.

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  61. I think we can. If we live long enough and with some insight we can learn what we need to change. And I agree with many posters that we have to want to change. I hope to leave this life a better wiser, changed person.

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  62. Most people can change and do many times in their lives....

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  63. People can if they want to, but most times they won't because they refuse to get off their lazy arse and do it

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  64. Yes , I think that people can change :)

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  65. I believe that a person can change his behavior and actions towards other people ! Hopefully the change is good and benefits everyone around him. Hope you and Beate are fine, smiles ~

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  66. I'm with you. People do change, just not typically as all at once as Scrooge. In fact, if anything in life is constant, it's change. We are always evolving either into something better or something worse, and it's up to us to go with it and devolve or take control and focus our growth.

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  67. Please go to my blog and select which book title you want me to mail you. http://lindaoconnell.blogspot.com

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  68. Ok, I definitely am in the minority. I only believe people can change SOME things - mostly things related to growing thru learning. But a lot of things are character issues. For instance, being a thief or a liar is a character issue. Everyone knows these things are wrong, but liars and thieves somehow feel ok doing these things. Being punished for doing things, such as stealing or murder may cause the individual to not do it again; but, I don't think it changes their character. They are still that person. Character counts.

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  69. I agree that if a person truly wants to change, it can happen. We are ruled by our desires. If we want something badly enough, we can make it happen. Unfortunately, we are also lazy and changing is hard work.

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  70. Yes they can.
    But (there seems to be always a but... and saying it, reminds me a scene at Game of Thornes where a character says "That nothing someone says before the word but really counts." arghhh but I digress so I'm getting back into the point ;))
    I believe in change BUT never overnight. Not if you're planning on sticking to the change. In this case all the change - and the time it takes is proportional to the amount of change needed to even be called and seen as change) - takes long, very long. Even for the tiniest detail.
    Now, somehow can really throw their old being together into storage and decide on a drastic change. Starting at zero. (the most painful - also selfish (as you don't let others participate of it) method, in my opinion) But it must hurt as much as removing a tattoo (the spots) without a nice word and hands to hold yours through the process.
    Why do you always bring up "things" that need a sofá, some chocolate, lots of time to discuss? Some spot you have there, Dear Keith ahahahah
    Yes, you can change. Everything. The World, Others, Yourself. You should. Spots are so boring. Messy. But they're also part of you. (I guess I could stick with the last part of my answer ;)). So I hope some stay. Are allowed to stay. Somehow, and even when it's distracting, makes one more real... I hope Ebenezer just changed the Scrooge, if you know what I mean ;)
    Wishing you well,
    Teresa

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  71. I believe we can change if we want to. The problem is...so many people don't want to change.

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  72. I think one of man's most powerful traits is the ability to make a decision...so do I believe in a human being's ability to change? Short answer: yes!

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  73. I think everyone has the ability to change, but they have to make an effort to initiate the change and following through can be difficult. Change starts within, when the heart is willing the mind will follow. Sometimes it is best to start with baby steps and before you know it you're on your way to a new road.

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  74. I do believe people can change but it's not always easy.
    Changes that better our lives and those around us are always good.
    A change for the better is a good thing!

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  75. If we cannot change, then what is the point of this life? i believe we are alive in order to learn and grow into better people.

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  76. I heard this quote somewhere, like a million years ago...
    "I am like that, doesn't change things. I can be different, does."
    We are what we are. But, we can control how and who we want to be.

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  77. I don't believe this to be true - we can change on the outside but remain the same inside - no a leopard can't change its spots.

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  78. I believe people change. I'm 75 and when I look back there have been major changes. I think there are changes that are consciously made and then changes that happen without our management.

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  79. Our basic personalities don't change, but I think some of us are capable of changing our attitudes and beliefs.

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  80. Absolutely. I know I am a different person today than I was in my 20's. Life experiences add many layers to our personalities.

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  81. I think we can change if we want to. That's the key; there has to be a "want to", some motivation to move ahead, improve, etc. Something to think about!

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  82. I think our basic "who we are" which is based on DNA and the environment is there and ingrained but I think we can alter ourselves. We have the ability to think so we can smooth out the rough edges. We can recognize our weaknesses/shortcomings and work towards something more positive. Once we recognize our knee jerk reaction and slip into that comfortable mode even if it is negative to our own selves, we must consciously alter our style to help us even if it is scary. Due to fear, stubbornness, pride we decide to stick with the negative because humans love to feed on that

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  83. Hi Keith,

    Great quote and yes, I do think people can make a change if they are willing to. Thanks for sharing.
    Hope 2015 will be a great year for you - sorry I have taken so long to get to visit
    Carolyn

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  84. There is an essence that remains, but we are dynamic. To be static is to be dead.

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  85. I think people can change but not overnight

    except Loki, never trust that guy

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  86. I think people change all the time. I have a great example. I didn't speak to my dad for 10 years because he was a mean, humiliating drunk. I got tired of him always picking fights and arguments with me and my hubby and I didn't want him around my small daughter.

    When he stopped drinking 8 years ago, I decided to give him a call and see if we could patch things up. We've only had one argument in the last 8 years and he so changed. We can actually have a conversation now and get along. He completely changed. People can change, I've seen it happen.

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  87. Gosh Keith I somehow missed your post yesterday. I don't believe people can change...well some inherent things anyway. Maybe we can learn to improve on things.

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  88. I believe people can, if they try, but that comes with an awareness of self, a willingness and courage. Sometimes, though people will not ever change and it goes back to fear and our culture is riddled with the fear of change, even though life is impermanent.

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  89. I believe we can change. Sometimes it takes a tragic event. But we can change, if we want to
    Cheri

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  90. So many ifs, ands, and buts...
    People are born with certain temperaments. While we may not be able to change, we can be aware of it and alter our actions accordingly to present the face that we want to present.

    Happy New Year!

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  91. I'm not sure that we can truly change, unless maybe in the wake of a very strong event.

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  92. I guess there are different ways you could answer this. A drug addict can change. A racist can change. A psychopath? Probably not.

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  93. I know people can change because I've changed so much since I got divorced. I needed to rid myself of what was weighing me down so I could fly.

    Love,
    Janie

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  94. Yes, I believe people can change. Look what happened to Saul in the Bible.

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  95. Experiences in life do change people ... they learn as they move ahead, discovering new things, changing all the way :-)

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  96. Oh yes, I believe people can change... for good... or bad, unfortunately.

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  97. Every two weeks or so, I somehow feel that I was an idiot two weeks back. This is odd, but it shows that change in myself is inevitable. If I was a leopard, my stripes would look like an old TV set that had lost cable connection.

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  98. Hello Keith!:) If the desire is there, people can change. You have to do it for yourself, .. but asking for help from whoever you perceive as God can help to give you the strengh and determination to carry it through.
    Warm Regards.

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  99. It takes a lot to want to make the change and then changing. We're creatures of habit. I struggle with the person I am and the person I want to be. :)

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  100. Yes people "can" change, but those numbers are minimal. I think this is because it's easier to go with the flow than to look at ourselves and fix what needs to change. It's not easy.

    Teresa

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  101. Keith, you always come up with the most interesting topics to talk about. Yes, I think we can change. That's why we're here.....to learn, explore, change. Sometimes it's hard though, isn't it? Here's to the best kind of change!

    ~Sheri

    (by the way, thank you for your comment on my "lovely" post. It was one of my favorites. :~)

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  102. I think the magic words are .....'If we truly want to .....'

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  103. What a great topic. I think people change whether they want to or not. We are not the same person we were 10 years ago or a day ago. Even our deepest beliefs change.

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  104. That's a thinker...I try very hard to conquer my worst traits. I find that wanting to be a better person and actually being a better person are two entirely different things. (Assuming we are going for a change for the better here) All I can do is keep trying..and that's what I call changing my behavior. I definitely have changed from the person I was 25 years ago Just the fact that I recognize my bad traits is a giant step in the right direction, I think. Nurture vs nature? Equal, in my opinion.

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  105. I definitely think people can change, but it's not easy.

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  106. I think they can. if and only if they want to. Noone can attempt to change another.

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  107. I definitely think people can change! I think it likely has to be a desire and a conscious decision on their part. It'll probably take some effort and be hard work. But change is definitely possible.

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  108. People can certainly change the way they behave but it usually takes effort.

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  109. Good morning O E --- You are right on! There is an old saying, that probably doesn't get said as often as it should ... "Life is what you make it." I truly believe it. Yes, we can change if, in our hearts, we want to. Great post! John

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  110. To change - the one has to change the patterns in their life, change the responses to familiar situation, change from automatic reaction - to action. So to start the change - one has to start to observe their behavior..Long process, but really rewarding one. :)x

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  111. I disagree Keith. I think the character of a person is formed in very early age so an adult can't change his life as his actions are adequate his character.

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  112. Once I accepted the fact I can only change myself and no one else, life got much easier!

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  113. We have to want to change first--and unfortunately, many people don't have the emotional maturity to see the things that need to be changed in the first place. Even with years of therapy, I've seen people have the complete inability to change their behaviors. It's really difficult...but if we're strong and really determined, we can better ourselves.

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  114. We change all the time--whether or not we want to. How to make positive changes is the question.

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  115. Hey Keith,

    My humblest of apologies for the lack of my award winning comments as of late. You might be aware I'm having ongoing computer issues. I shall do my utmost to comment.

    Of course people can change. I changed radically the day I nearly died in hospital. The catalyst was the love of my son which made me realise that I needed to live. Yes, good sir, I had a "near life" experience when I nearly died in hospital.

    Gary

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  116. The education and experience with life as we grow change is impossible to avoid.

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  117. Middle ground incorporating the good ideas from left and right is the only way, as seen in Scandinavian countries whose standards of living top the charts of all UN stats.

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  118. That's the key ... the desire to do so. If someone truly wants to change, they absolutely can.

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  119. tough question. I think so much of who we are is formed in childhood, before we even recognize ourselves. to change that later is incredibly difficult. I think it can be done but our default position always seems to be to revert back to our roots. It takes a real conscience effort to make permanent change.

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  120. the last line is wonderful:
    don't judge people, allow them to grow

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  121. Yes, I believe people can change if they really want to. So to me it's not a question of having the *capacity* to change but rather the *willingness* to change. :)

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  122. I completely agree Keith. People can change, but we cannot change them. Only God can truly do that, and He does this many ways. I have seen it with my own eyes so I know it to be true. Love this post and the beautiful thoughts behind it!!

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