People Who Love You Exactly As You WERE!

A very dear friend of mine is grappling with a situation that I have experienced many times in my own life. I suspect that you have faced this challenge, too, when someone you love is…

… resisting some or all of the changes you are embracing in your life;
… judging your personal growth or your evolving perspectives;
… refusing to accept the version of who you are now and trying to hold on to who you were last year, or the year before that.

There are many reasons why the people who love us may hope that we will not change. In my experience, fear is almost always at the root of that hope. Maybe those who love us are counting on our constancy, or hoping that we will be the anchor that keeps them moored while they themselves undergo changes. In living life, we are always changing. The changes may be subtle or significant, but none of us remains exactly the same. It is especially difficult to face loved-ones who want you to be who you were, rather than who you are.

My friend (let’s call her Kayla) asked me to suggest ways she could communicate with the loved-one who is now judging her, complaining that she is “different,” and criticizing virtually every decision Kayla is making. Kayla wants to save the relationship but does not want to sacrifice her own happiness and personal growth to do so.

I suggested that in her next conversation with the unaccepting loved-one, Kayla use her own version of these phrases that I have used, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, in navigating the judgment of someone who is holding on to a past version of me…

… “Please know that I still love you. And please know that I also love myself, so I am following my heart and my own intuition in the decisions I am making. Can you understand that?”

… “Will you please explain in what ways you see me as ‘different’ and why these changes upset you? Are you afraid that we are growing apart?”

… “Do you feel that I expect you to make the same decisions I am making? Do you believe that I am judging you in some way?”

My sincere hope for Kayla is that she and her loved-one will find a way through this difficult time in their relationship, and that a shared commitment to love, compassion and patience will guide their path. That is my hope for everyone, myself included, who faces the judgment and frustrations of people who love them as they used to be rather than loving them for who they are now.

I would love to hear how you have handled similar situations in your relationships, and I invite you to add your thoughts in the “Leave a Comment” section below.

Thank you very, very much! In this New Year, may we all be kind, compassionate and loving with others and with ourselves as we learn and grow.
Photo credit: © Alina Datsyuk|

3 thoughts on “People Who Love You Exactly As You WERE!”

  1. I’ve learned that trying to explain myself oftentimes creates more opportunities for judgement and criticism. Nowadays, I don’t talk about why, unless I am asked specifically. Also, I am learning to not take responsibility for how someone feels about me. I have worked very hard to reach the place of courageous self-care, and I simply cannot process someone else’s emotions for them, particularly if they refuse to do the inner work that I had to do. On the surface, this new attitude may seem uncaring, but it’s the very opposite, as it pays deep respect to my own dedication and hard work.

    1. ‘I have worked very hard to reach the place of courageous self-care’ Well done Jamila! Congratulations on the courageous self-care! It doesn’t sound uncaring, it sounds like setting healthy boundaries!

      I’ve had to let go of many people in my life; I think when you start setting healthy boundaries and making choices to support and empower yourself, you reveal a lot about the people around you, and the support they give. I found emotional bullies and verbal abusers in my life when I did this. This included family members, which were harder to deal with. I didn’t realise how people were mistreating me at the beginning of my self-care journey. I’ve found my ‘tribe’ now, so it’s worth it. I’m grateful to have people who love me as I grow, now, supporting and encouraging me, and the most support and love comes from me. With love and best wishes -Tricia

  2. Such an important topic and sticky dynamic that so many of us spend time needing to negotiate. In my own life I have found that those who truly and unconditionally care for my wellbeing will eventually turn inwards and do the work to (in time) welcome in my transformation gracefully. Those that do not, seem to fall away. Granted it is hard to let go of my need for acceptance, but if I keep the above in mind, I am able to begin to make changes with faith and confidence.

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