When do you have the right to ask someone to change? Do you ever have that right? Some people would think not. No one else has the right to make a human being change themselves in any way.
Other people see things in a different light. They believe that if a person is a significant part of your life, you should be able to ask them to change things about themselves that you find objectionable.
I have a bit of a problem with this idea. Surely, we should accept people as they are?
But then, how far does that go? We should accept people as they are but if a person is behaving in a way that harms me, I wouldn’t want to accept that. Nor do I think it’s necessary that I should.
This is an incredibly hard issue to find a hard and fast rule for. So is it then that every situation is different and you should ask people to change only when their behaviour is harmful to you?’
That’s a better option. But it’s still not perfect, because who gets to decide what harm is? How do you find a balance between the harm that’s caused to you by the person’s behaviour and the harm that’s caused towards them by you asking them to change?
I suppose choice plays a large role here. If you ask someone to change and they choose not to, you in turn have a choice to tolerate their behaviour or not. That seems reasonable.
Asking people to change is a delicate, difficult process and I’m still not entirely sure where I sit on the sides of the debate. What I do know is that it’s not something to be done lightly.