Is there someone you’re trying to change or save?

Is there someone in your life you really hope will change? Do you find yourself taking on the responsibility for other people’s transformation? Do you even get annoyed when you see someone you care about not living into the potential you see in them?

I get it. When I dove into all this personal growth stuff in my early twenties, boy oh boy, did I find myself preaching a lot. I had so much new information I wanted to share about how we can awaken and free ourselves from suffering. When I saw someone suffering, I felt a responsibility to save them. And when someone was not acting the way I thought was best, I really believed I could change them. HA!

What I have learned over the years is that it is not our job or our right to save anyone. But obviously we want to make a positive impact on others so how do we do that without taking on the responsibility of savior? I dive into this question in today’s vlog.

Many years ago I was in a relationship with someone and wanted him to be different. My spiritual teacher at the time said something to me that I have never forgotten.  As I was complaining about how he wasn’t doing “his work” and “diving deep enough into his issues” she looked at me and lovingly said, “Christine, you do not walk into a nursery and wake up sleeping babies.”

In that moment, I got it . . .

People wake up when they are ready to wake up. Sure we may inspire some part of their awakening but ultimately it is on their own Divine timing. It is more loving to give someone the dignity of their own process instead of trying to try to change them @christinhassler (Tweet this!).

This may make logical sense; however, often it’s hard to give up trying to change someone – be it a friend, family member or romantic partner. You think your love is the magic potion that will save or transform them.  You see the hurt little boy or girl under the toxic behavior. You recognize the pain underneath the addiction. You can see all their potential and possibility.

I see this pattern in so many, especially those of you Lightworkers.  But it is exhausting to take on the responsibility for someone else’s transformation. And the reason it is exhausting is because it is not possible.  The only person you can change is the one reading these words right now.

Going back to the example from my own life, I realized that the person that really needed to go to a deeper level spiritually and emotionally was me. But it was way easier to fixate on him and all the things he could and should do differently.

My encouragement to you is turn your focus back toward yourself and give the other person back to God. Their awakening is between them and their Higher Power.

If someone is not changing or evolving in the way you are requesting or hoping to inspire, that is not your fault.  You have a huge heart with so much love to give and I understand that it feels like love can heal anything.

Sure we can be catalysts for another person’s change but in MOST cases in order to be that catalyst we have to be totally unattached to being it. It is detachment, acceptance and honoring our own truth that often creates the inspiration for someone to find the truth within themselves.  That said, don’t try to strategize about how to be unattached about changing someone hoping they will change – that is still attachment!

Instead walk the talk.  Be the vibration you desire from others.  What inspires people most is how you live your life.  Stop trying to wake up sleeping babies. . . let their precious souls rest until they are ready.

Is there someone you have been trying to save or trigger their transformation? I am here to support you in liberating yourself from that responsibility and respecting their process.  Please head over to the blog and leave your questions and comments – I love hearing from you!



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  • ArtN

    I like the ‘change yourself’ angle. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to gently nudge people that you care about towards new ways of thinking. Distorted thoughts are at the core of many mental ailments and it’s so tempting to dive in when you see someone not living up to their potential. You stated this angst very well.

    It’s probably helpful for people to reflect on how hard it is to change even little things about themselves before embarking on the arduous and thankless journey of changing others. Personality Disorders are generally managed in psychology, not cured. Over the long term, change has proven extremely difficult for everyone but the dedicated few.

    Lots of good points. Never wake sleeping babies…. I can attest to the wisdom of those life-enhancing words!

    • Christine Hassler

      Great points Art! Yes, we can nudge and invite but with zero attachment.

  • nicole

    So if you “let go” of trying to get that person to see their potential, and it’s a romantic relationship, should you walk away from the relationship? perhaps just remain friends (if feasible)…or how do you determine how long you’re going to wait for that person to see their potential?

  • Chris Snyder

    The part I got the most out of that was that I need to live in such a way that reflects the potential I see in the person rather than trying to change them so they realize their potential. That’s great advice. For me it’s with my sister. I want her to see her potential and it’s been tough living with her for the past year or so. But I think a huge part of that has been that I want her to change her negative behaviors and she hasn’t really done that. I see, however, that the most important thing to do is to change my negative behaviors, which include wanting her to change her own so bad, and replace them with positive ones, because my behaviors are the only behaviors I can truly change.

    Someone on here said at one point a while back that you always happen to post a blog that they need to see the most at that time, and it’s the same for me somehow. Thanks for your advice! I always end up seeing things more clearly afterward.


    • Christine Hassler

      Great insight Chris and I’m glad this came at the perfect time!

  • Kris

    Ugh, yes, I am SO guilty of this, unfortunately. That said, with all the information about personal growth I feel that I’m learning so much. When I encounter men who are just so un-self-aware/blaming outside forces (often), I have to confess that I find myself talking about things I’ve learned and how they apply to personal issues. Christine, how do you handle it, since this is your field? I try really hard not to get advise-y because hey I’m still a work in progress, but at least I realize that working on my behaviors/thoughts–as opposed to faulting the outside world–is key. Do you just keep your mouth shut unless you are directly asked? (in dating situations?)

    • Christine Hassler

      Yup. I keep my mouth shut and ask questions. I just share from my own experiences with no attachment to them getting it. Getting unsolicited advice by a date is def NOT a turn on for men :)

  • EMA

    Dear Christine – thank you so much for your thoughtful words. Throughout this blog, I was thinking of my relationship with my daughter. She is still very young, and is a person with developmental disabilities. I struggle walking the line between intervention for her behaviors and wanting her to have the autonomy to be her own true (not constantly therapeutically intervened) self. Do you have any advise or thoughts to share?
    Again, thank you for your kindness and wisdom. I learn so much from your posts!

    • Christine Hassler

      Hi Ema, I am definitely not an expert on this subject…what does come forward to me is that although your daughter may have developmental disabilities, her soul is right on track and not “disabled” in any way. From what you shared, my sense is you really see the wisdom of her soul and are doing an amazing job of helping her with physical world reality while also supporting and allowing for her soul’s evolution.

  • Annette

    I love this post – thank you, Christine! I have definitely been guilty of nagging my partner to change in the way I think he should. Thank you for the reminder to see that urge as sign that I need to dive ever-deeper into my own spiritual growth and let God take care of his growth!

    • Christine Hassler

      Great awareness and my guess is he will appreciate it and you will feel a lot closer to him.

  • Jennifer Menz

    Thank you so much for posting this, this is just the message that I needed to read today. I have been on my spiritual quest for a few years now and had made great progress in learning to love myself. However that all seemed to change back in February when my son was killed. The grief and depression has taken a toll on me. Even while receiving counseling I have somewhere along the way lost myself. I’ve always been a very strong independent woman but find myself questioning everything and feeling very needy. I moved to a new area a couple years ago and have only a couple friends but otherwise tend to work a lot The loss and loneliness has resulted in me getting into a relationship that I realize that I’m trying to fix him instead of working on healing me. The loss of my son is the hardest thing I’ve ever endured. Some days its just difficult to find the strenghth to get out of bed. However I realize that being in this relationship is not helping to heal me, it is actually sucking what little life I feel I have in me out. I know the only way I’m actually going to get through this is to make myself stronger and take care of me. Thanks again, I really needed to read this today.

    • Christine Hassler

      So glad it came at the right time – so much light to you, I cannot even imagine how challenging the loss of a child is and you have my compassion. I’m in awe of your awareness and your strength of heart. So much light to you, Jennifer

  • Audrey Saucier

    This post makes so much sense to me after just going through a tough time with a friend who I used to be very close with. She has many, many struggles in life, but refuses to accept positive influences or make change. It got to the point that being around her was literally draining the energy out of me because I was always offering suggestions on the problems she would address. Your article has helped me realize that I should rekindle this friendship and instead of trying to give the advice, just be a positive constant in her life. Thank you so much for your work!