“I don’t think people really change. I think they, we, can become better versions of what we are, more efficient, more impactful, hopefully less destructive. ” — William Bradley
I’ve been thinking about this quote ever since Bradley wrote up his review of the season finale of Mad Men. I suppose I’ve always been infatuated with the idea reinvention, changing into something completely different…for the better, of course. In a way it’s a sort of Frankenstein idea of the emotional and mental self, keeping things you like, getting rid of those you don’t.
I like to think that for the most part we are constantly evolving, making subtle changes not only for ourselves but for those around us. Maybe it means keeping in touch with people who really do care about you, and letting go of the people you’ve out grown. Or maybe it’s even something superficial, like remembering to put the toilet-paper on the toilet-roll holder because you know the empty cardboard drives your partner crazy.
Lately I’ve been wondering if people really are capable of change. I had a
argument discussion with a friend a few weeks ago, where she stated that she didn’t like certain aspects of her personality and was trying to change them. I kept telling her that it was a great thing and that I hoped she found what she was looking for. At the end of the day I’m not really sure what she wants to fix. I feel like maybe it was a nice thing to say at the time, but since then there hasn’t been any real effort on her part to sort of keep the ball rolling. I’ll be honest, I feel duped and find the scenario to be along the lines of her “[announcing] abruptly that [she] has evolved — instead of actually evolving.” I feel like when you’re trying to repair certain aspects of yourself or relationships that need to be mended and managed, well, you can’t really go on hiatus.
On the other hand I’m constantly confronted by the idea of people becoming to be some bizarre ideal that they hold near and dear to their hearts. In a previous entry I mentioned a roommate who used to give us hints of the beautiful person she could be, but then devolved into something selfish and superficial. Will she one day feel like she should do a 180, and find herself on the path to becoming a better person?
I’m always hopeful that people will change for the better. I hope they wake up and see the friends they have who truly care about them. It would be wonderful to have self-awareness and see how we’ve slighted people or unintentionally hurt them, and change those behaviors. It would be great if we became more caring and generous. But by fixing those elements are we actually changing? Or is Bradley right, and we’re simply becoming better versions of ourselves?