Why the Right Man or Woman is NOT Going to Make You a Better Person

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The other day I was watching the movie As Good as It Gets with Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt. There is a scene in the movie where Nicholson’s character says to Helen Hunt that she makes him want to be “a better man and person.” I sat there nodding in agreement at the statement, but then I really began to think about it. I realized it may be one of the most BS statements that we can make about our own self inventory and growth.  Many of us believe that a certain person will make us want to be a certain way or live a “good” life, or change and want to settle down but that may be the farthest thing from the truth. The idea of The Right Man/Woman is NOT Going to Make You Be a Better Person is only half of the story.

How many times have we heard someone say “She made me want to be a better man” OR “He made me want to be a better woman?”

Comments like this have been a pinnacle for some people to want to take their life in a different direction.  People will say they won’t won’t be into drugs, into a lot of women/men, be filled with anger, money management, etc. And many people do find someone who makes things click in their lives. While I am not saying that people can not influence your life for the better, there has to be a point where a person has to grow ON THEIR own to be a different type of person.  Are you even working to become a better person or waiting for someone to inspire you?

When people propagate that a person has to come into their life and change them, it takes away all the personal accountability and personal development of that singular person. It makes it a copout situation where someone can always say “I mean no one has come into my life to want me to change my life.” We are all effected my those around us for good or bad, but there has to be change or desire to change oneself.

The biggest battle is YOURSELF. Only YOU can make you better. A man or woman can only complement you and accentuate you, but the only way that YOU can become a better person is by taking self accountability and battling with the biggest enemy you have: YOURSELF.  If you are changing for the sake of someone else, you are not evolving.

Love is the most powerful thing in the world and it can change the world we see around us dramatically. But, sometimes it doesn’t matter if we see all the love around us if we don’t embrace it. There isn’t a magical person who is going to be around and love us and then poof we want to be a better person.  Like I have said before “a person will never be able to accept love until they love themselves”. Yes, a person can make us change, but the biggest point is that we understand that we need to make for us first.  So if you think becoming a better is determined by meeting the right person, I’m sorry to tell you that you probably will be waiting for this person to come into your life just like the Heaven’s Gate Cult was waiting for that comet.

What will the change be for if it just for the other person? What if the person who made you change somehow fails you? Will you continue to be the right person? Is it all contingent on them? Will you go back to being that other person just because the person you believed in failed you?

We all make changes in relationships for the better (sometimes for the worse) and it can be a beautiful thing, but to put everything into the belief that only a person can change your life?

The change comes first within yourself and is fueled through the relationship to take who you to higher heights. Yes, someone can love you and make you better BUT at the end of the day you have to want to be better regardless of how much the other person may want you to. That’s the only way to evolve.

Darryl Frierson runs From Ashy to Classy(ashy2classy.net) He also currently is the creator and co-host of “Straight Outta LoCash”  Podcast with comedian Jovan Bibbs. He also is the 2011 Black Weblog Award winner for “Best Culture Blog” and “Best Blog Series” for “The Marcus Graham Chronicles”.  He was named by Black Enterprise Magazine as one of the 20 Top Black Bloggers of 2012. He can be reached on twitter @diggame.

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From Our Partners

  • cynicaloptmst81

    This article is SOO ON POINT!!!! Now, I believe that a partner can be inspiring…or motivation…but it has to already be in you or a part of you in order for the change to be real and permanent!

    "What will the change be for if its just for the other person? What if the person who made you change somehow fails you? Will you continue to be the right person? Is it all contingent on them? Will you go back to being that other person just because the person you believed in failed you?" <—— I can answer these: 1. …a temporary solution that will ultimately fail 2. you will revert back to the real you 3. no 4. yes…and its a falsehood that won't last 5. yes!!!

    Any personality/character upgrades should be for and about you alone.

    • Bree

      Cosign on all this. Too often people confuse a person inspiring, motivating, supporting, and being the catalyst for the good things that happen in their life with a person actually changing them and being the reason for their change. Yes people absolutely can make you want to be and do better. Children are a prime example of this. I've personally seen people be much more motivated and determined to do better and be better because they have a child. The desire to be a great parent and provider for that child is the driving force behind a person working their azz off to get to the top or have their own business and build a legacy for their kids and future grandkids. And thats a wonderful thing when that happens.

      • Bree

        Some people do come into your life and to you they are a "godsend" because you probably wouldn't have the motivation to follow your dreams and goals and you wouldn't have any support without them. I also think the President is a good example of this. Actually all the presidents. Without supportive and encouraging wives they probably wouldn't have even run for office. Definitely President Obama wouldn't have had the courage to run without the support of Michelle and his girls. Same thing with Bill Clinton. However, a person cannot change you. As my grandmother used to tell me, "your life is your journey, people can walk with you and hold your hand, encourage and support you, but they cannot walk your journey for you. It is yours and yours alone to walk."

        • Bree

          On the flipside of that a person cannot ruin your life, but they can bring you down and create utter chaos, stress, and strife in your life, If you allow them to.
          Another wow (Word of Wisdom) from my grandmother was, "the only thing that has complete power and dominion over you is God because he is our creator. No person can ever have complete power over you. The only power a person has over you, is the power that you give to them and allow them to have." And the thing is just like we "giveth power" we can taketh it away and always relinquish the power that we temporarily lose.

        • Bree

          "While I am not saying that people can not influence your life for the better, there has to be a point where a person has to grow ON THEIR own to be a different type of person. Are you even working to become a better person or waiting for someone to inspire you?"
          That statement is truly Priceless.
          We have to stop looking to others for motivation before we begin self improvement in All areas of life.
          We have to be more introspective and learn how to come into our own.
          One reason why so many people do this psychologically speaking is because it makes it easier to play the "blame game."
          People hate taking full responsibility for their bad decisions and ruining their own lives.

  • Lyric

    this is especially true for the women who tie our identities into our man/boyfriend/husband;this is a huge mistake becuz wht r u gonna do whn he breaks your trust or god forbid something happens to him.then you’re going to be all f*cked up so it’s better to look within for changes & a positive mind state becuz nobody can do it for u

  • Blue

    I think my ex blames me for making him better AND worse. We were platonic friends first. As we took it to the next level, he’d always say he thanks God I chose him, he dedicated Genuines Differencest to me smh. Overall he said that he was better because of me. Even my family said the same about me as a result of being with him. After the breakup, he was hurt for about 2 weeks but then he went back to his wh*rish tendencies that were before me. During those 2 weeks (and even after) I tried to get him back. At this point a little over a year we’ve stopped speaking (yet again) because he loves the “freedom” and birds more than me. I’ve accepted that. But I won’t take credit/blame for “making” him a better or worse person. Those characteristics were already there.

  • bellatrice1

    This post needed to be written. We should all want to be better and do better sans a mate to make us want to do those things. I never understood when guys stated this as the reason for marrying a woman. It's great to find someone who is supportive and who motivates you, but you should have that drive to be a better person on your own. This also goes back to posts that have been written here about how a man treats a woman being contingent upon her own level of self-respect.
    My recent post Christianity and the Black Church

  • slimmycakez

    You unknowingly spoke a word to me, haha! I used to think that people can somehow make another person become better. I, at one point, wished that a certain someone would somehow become a better person because of me — that never happened though. I also used to think that meeting someone special would "make" me into an even better person. And then I came across this:

    "There isn’t a magical person who is going to be around and love us and then poof we want to be a better person."

    You unknowingly spoke a word to my life. There is not a magical person that can do this for you, but there is Jesus — and this is EXACTLY the essence of what He does for anyone who wants Him to. Cause it was Him, and only Him, that made me into the person I am today. No longer being selfish and cold, cussing people out, laughing at the crazies, hating people with differing views, isolating people who look different from the norm, but truly being able to have love and compassion for everyone, regardless of how they look, act, or smell, because I don't see people through my eyes, but His eyes. And it's why I can come across people like Adonis, and not feel any type of way about the things he says — regardless of whether he's intentionally being a troll or not — but instead, just have genuine love and compassion for him because I just see a hurt soul that needs more love, if anything.

    So yeah y'all, that ends today's church service. Drop some money in my collection plate on the way out!! Haha, but seriously, this article definitely spoke to me, so thanks for this. :)

  • Lovely

    I agree with this post as well. But I also believe people can have a great influence on our lives that will give you the desire to be a better person, athlete, leader, husband, wife, christian.

    Golf was always around… but when Tiger Woods came onto the scene more men and women wanted to learn golf.

    Michael Jordan shaved his head bald (and made it look good!), all of a sudden you see other players, and men with receiving hair lines, shaving their heads…and kids saying "I want to be like Mike", basketball camp increased 60% during the MJ era.. (but not because of his bald head).

    After Beyonce sang at the Obama's inauguration ball in 2008, they interviewed her afterwards and she said (in tears) "He makes me want to be smarter", He makes me want to be more involved".

    People can come into your life and make you do a self examination. To me it goes without saying "only you can actually make the change". But for some people, it takes the right person to come along, or situation to happen, that make you WANT to change.

    Remember… in the movie Jack Nicholson character said "You make me want to be a better man.” The key word is "I WANT", that in itself means you understand ALL the work is on you. And if you seen the movie, you will see he did just that without any help from her, because he was a jerk! with OCD!!!. One of the quotes from her in the movie to him:

    " When you first entered the restaurant, I thought you were handsome… and then, of course, you spoke."

    LOL….So what I got from "his" statement was that, he knew he needed to make some major improvements (changes) in his life, and she inspired him to do it.

  • sierra

    It may sound stubborn but some people to Damn stubborn to let anyone change them . I'm one of those people.

  • 12 Point Buck

    I'm really split on this. Sure, we should all be self-sufficient enough to not NEED someone else in order to be great.

    However, its certainly possible for one person to give you an advantage in being great, or just make the process of becoming great much more enjoyable.

    For example, you can beat Super Mario Bros. without getting a mushroom or a star. You can have little munchkin mario struggle all through the stages and barely beat Bowser…

    …but it feels infinity more awesome to get the star and the mushroom + fire flower and just tear ninjas up like a boss.

    When I talk about a woman helping to make me a better person, its not coming from a place of weakness. I just prefer not to play the whole game as little baby mario. I want the star so i can maximize my strength and have more fun.

    As a guy, as soon as your chick believes that you NEED her to be great, she'll lose respect for you. And thats because she thinks the world is all about her– she thinks she's the green life mushroom instead of the red power mushroom. She thinks you need her to beat the game. She doesnt get that she's more like a power-up and just augments your abilities and makes beating the game much more enjoyable.

    So if a guy says he needs a girl to be great, its more like saying he wants to shoot fireballs at flying turtles instead of having to jump on them and scuff his shoes.

  • Bojana

    this example is called INSPIRATION, and I think has nothing to do with self worth issues..We grow when something or someone inpires us.Love can be very inspiring!!!