We've all been there.
On that one diet that is totally geared to shape and mold our body so we can attract that one specific man, or hitting the gym so that our pectorals are firm and defined when taking our t-shirt off in front of her.
Well, when do you know if it's gone too far?
Let's look at some of the motivators for personal change and what's behind them.
For instance, if we are talking about addiction, then we all know that it is a requirement that we are doing this for ourselves. When we love someone, we can be doing it to ease their life as well, but the primary motivator is to improve our own life.
Therefore there are some good reasons or motivations for personal change. Listed below are some useful tips to know if your motivation is just or not.
1."I'm changing so he or she will like me better."
What is really behind this broad statement? If you're not open to trying new foods, and your partner really loves to experience new restaurants, then opening up to experience new things is a small change that will greatly show your willingness to be flexible.
If you're lucky enough to be with someone who is the same way, then you both are open to growth in your relationship and this is a very good thing.
However, if you are trying to be a size 2, when you are naturally an 8, because your partner would prefer that, then it's time to rethink your motivation. Something like a body size can only be controlled to a certain extent.
Genetics play a big part in body size. If you are within a healthy weight as determined by your physician, and shrinking any more requires an extensive and constant diet and exercise change, you might not be able to keep it up for someone else.
It could potentially be dangerous, and eventually your physical exhaustion coupled with the resentment that builds when we are doing something for someone else will overpower your emotions and a full-on carb deprived crazy person will emerge. Don't let this happen to you.
2. When the change is something you deeply want long-term
Now we all like to change now and then, and sometimes we reach a point in our life when we feel we need to make changes that will improve the quality of our life for the long haul.
In this case, if your partner asks you to change something about yourself, let's say, go back to college and finish your degree, is that fair?
Well, assuming you partner knows your heart, and you have both talked, and done some introspective work, your partner probably knows what you really want. If they ask you to do this, it could be motivated by love.
Love is when we want our partner to be the best version of themselves they can be. It is not changing them into a completely different person. It must respect our own goals and life desires.
3. When you hadn't even thought about it and they demand it
OK, this is the big one. Did your partner bring up a change they want to see in you that you had never considered? For example, have they asked you to change your hair color from brown to blonde because they want to see you as a blonde?
Have they asked you to end certain friendships just because they don't have a "good feeling" about that person? Do they monitor you to see if you are sticking with the plan?
One thing is being supportive of constructive change that we ourselves initiated, and another is to feel you are being "watched" like a child.
Are we trying to remake ourselves to fit the mold our partner would like us to fit into for their own unknown reasons? This is the big RED flag.
We need to feel we are happier, calmer, and more of "ourselves" when we are initiating change in our lives.
However, if the change is motivated by someone else, and it feels controlling to us, it probably is. Self improvement is a great thing, but let's not overlook that very crucial word "self".
Change must be something you deeply want because it will make you happy whether you are with this partner or someone else. Effective long-term change must bring us closer to our place of peace, our family, our friends.
When you think of the change it should bring a smile to your face and your soul, not angst, anxiety, nor resentment.