This I Believe

Ericka - Kansas City, Missouri
Entered on April 15, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family
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People will be people

Life is about learning lessons and living it to your greatest ability. As I live life and learn lessons, I begin to understand more and more, that you can’t change people. You can only change yourself. My mom has always told me, “No, matter how much you strive to make someone change, they won’t change unless they want to.” For a while, I’ve struggled with understanding the distinctness in people and the authority people have over themselves. I’ve always wanted people to be a certain way and treat me a certain way, but I’ve recently learned that it’s not possible.

My sister is the main reason I have cherished this belief. She has never been the sister I have longed for. I have always wanted her to be as caring, supportive, loving and as thoughtful as I was, but she has never conformed to these habits. I have always wanted her to be there for me in a time of need, but she never was. Every time I would ask my sister for something simple, such as a penny to satisfy my dues in a clothing store or a bright orange colored headband to match my shirt, she would say no. Although I knew she has never been the type to give, I would still think to ask, hoping she will give in and share.

Another time I put faith in her was when I was in a situation where I had witnessed a fight and people thought I was spreading a silly rumor about who lost the fight. Following the incident, relatives of the badly bruised boy were calling my phone and threatening me. When this happened I had a strong urge to turn to my sister for advice. When I needed her most, she wasn’t there to support me or to tell me things would be okay. In dealing with her ways, I was always saddened by the fact that I had no one to turn to.

Ever since I can remember, I have wanted my sister to guide me and be a role model. I would love to turn to my sister, ask her questions, have her listen, and give me advice, but I can’t. She’s not that type of person and probably never will be. No matter how much I scream and yell at her about putting her friends first or doing me wrong, she’ll never change. So that she understands, I show her inconsideration and hatred, but it doesn’t work.

You can’t change people; no matter how hard you try. They must want to change themselves. Understanding this has guided my life tremendously. I understand the differences between people and the flaws in myself. I’ve learned that I have to change the things I do and be real with myself to better the situation. Part of understanding life is understanding that people are going to be people, and there’s nothing I can do about it.