It may sound counter-intuitive and is definitely completely opposite to what people in general claim. But I carry the opinion that if someone tries to change you — in whatever way — it means he does not love you. Those who want to change you or want you to change your lifestyle or way of thinking, simply want you to make them happy, they are merely using you to their advantage. If people love you, they would accept you the way you are. But what advantage do they fulfil by transforming? One factor is the general tendency to enlarge and boost their own ego by pointing out mistakes and flaws of others. This helps them in forgetting and ignoring their own shortcomings. This is the most widespread motivation behind criticism.
But what about seeking transformation within a relationship? It is generally believed that the primary motivation behind transformation is to improve or make the other person better. Is it really so? Everyone has a mental imaginary picture of a perfect friend, child, spouse, student, companion and so on. Needless to say that such a perfect human being does not exist. We keep searching, searching, searching for that perfect companion, who doesn’t at all exist on this planet. At the same time, during our quest, we do come across people who become our companions and with whom we develop some sort of relationship, though not a perfect one. As we are not satisfied and are still unsuccessfully seeking our ideal partner, we try to make a compromise by trying to fit our partner into that perfect image, even if it implies transforming an apple into a banana. So are we trying to improve our partner, to make him/her better? No, certainly not — we are merely manipulating them so that they can better function as our ideal partner, that perfect human being that we are seeking.
If at all we are successful, what is the result? We have successfully transformed that person, but that fellow has lost all individuality. They could not become that ideal which we were seeking nor did they remain the same individual we developed relationship with. But yes, they may function as a replacement until we find our ideal partner.
But all the same, what if you really want to improve someone out of love and affection, the way parents do to their children? Note that a direct parallel with parental love and discipline cannot be extended to other relationships. Children aren’t yet developed completely and still don’t have a judgement of their own. They depend on their parents to know what is in their best interests.
I look at the issue in two different ways. I have reached at both of these observations based on personal experiences. First, if you love someone deeply, and that person feels your love, then they strive to improve themselves on their own. So this is the formula if you like to call it that way — if you love, you do not try to transform your loved ones, instead, you make them want to improve themselves, and that becomes straightforward when they feel your love. What if they do not feel your love? That scenario does not occur. It is impossible not to realise and identify love. It may take some time with fastidious people, but sooner or later everybody gets affected, touched and moved by pure and genuine love. And then transformation and improvement starts on its own without any need of interference from your side.
And finally, even before the process I mentioned in the preceding paragraph starts, transformation of the individual sets in. You would observe if you want that slowly your friend is absorbing all your good qualities in terms of physical appearance, lifestyle and language. This is not difficult to understand. We tend to absorb both good as well as bad habits from our companions and friends. So what might be a better way to develop any habit in any individual than developing it first in ourselves? They would have something to admire in you, and sooner or later they will definitely catch that habit. It takes time, but strong relationships take time to develop.