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?

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. (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 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.



  • Lana

    A coaches’s corner on this would be so amazing! I’ve definitely attracted my fair share of “men who need work” and conversely have yet to meet a healthy emotionally mature man. I guess I’m wondering how do you recognize a growth oriented person versus a man “asleep” person before the issues arise/trigger?


    • Christine Hassler

      Thanks for the suggestion! Yes, it is such a great topic. Often it is hard to tell as we usually all show up as the best versions of ourselves in the beginning of a relationship. Take your time getting to know your partner before rushing into things and hold space for the idea that we attract the people into our lives that will allow us to experience the most growth on our journey. So if you keep attracting a certain “type” of man there is a lesson your soul wants to learn. You can view at it as a gift for you to heal the things within yourself that are looking for your love and attention.

  • Hilary

    I love this topic. In terms of other people, I have gotten over that part where I need to fix others in my life or have them be different. Where I still struggle with this is not taking it on for my clients. I put WAY to much pressure on myself for their transformation and make it about me if I feel like it’s working or not. When it does I feel great, yet barely let it register. When I feel like it’s not I take it SO personally and hold onto that thought for a long time, making it mean 100 things about my abilities as a coach. I know it holds me back from truly growing my business and experiencing the joy that comes with this great work. Thanks for this post Christine. It’s such a great reminder!

    • Christine Hassler

      I suggest taking some time to look at your story around the need for validation from others in order for you to feel worthy or “good enough”. Remember that our worth comes from the inside out and is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves, not from what we can do for others. Sending you love and light

  • Ava

    Thank you for this post Christine. You have verbalized what I have been going through – YEARS of going through. When I was married, I saw what addiction did to my spouse. I would use that gentle nudge to say, “Dear, don’t you think you need to see someone about this?” I felt helpless and it caused me a tremendous amount of stress. He kept saying he had no issues that it was all my problem(s). To this day, he still says he has no issues, but he has a son that won’t even talk to him any more. A sad situation indeed, but I now understand that I couldn’t and can’t save the world, no matter how much I want to be Wonder Woman. My ex will have to have his own great awakening when his time is right.

    Love and light to you Christine. Thanks for your wonderful podcasts and posts.

    • Christine Hassler

      Dear Ava, I’m sending you so much love. I’m glad my words are able to bring you some peace and understanding in a difficult situation. Blessings to you and your family.

  • Alex

    Hi Christine, I enjoy and learn from your podcasts a lot. I just had a feedback: for those of us (or at least for me) who are going through tough episodes of our lives, it makes us feel even more depressed when someone cries on the phone and it gets too emotional. I understand that people have to feel the way they feel, but I am just bringing this topic up more to brain storm on what the best solution is so 1) people can express their feeling, yet 2) the audience don’t get depressed and depleted of energy. My own non-optimal solution is that I fast forward it so I don’t hear the cryings (otherwise I will also start crying and that defeats the whole purpose for why I wanted to listen to your podcast), and instead I can only hear your final analysis of the call. My own suggestions: 1)perhaps give a heads-up at the beginning of the call to your audience that this particular episode might be too emotional for some of us (because it involves crying , etc)… 2) include a modified de-crying de-sadenning varsion of the episode for those who are already depressed which will be adversely affected by the cryings, etc on the phone. Thanks a lot. Keep up the good work! I can’t wait to be coached by you …

    • Christine Hassler

      I appreciate your feedback and have such compassion for where you are today. Crying is not always a bad thing. It is important for us not to stuff our emotions and if something is bringing up tears for you, it is a wonderful opportunity for you to ask yourself why and see if there is something for you to heal. It is possible you are just recycling old emotions and need to process them. This article might be helpful for you.

  • Lisa

    Dear Christine, your words came at the right time. Thanks a lot! I already knew everything you wrote, but it seems that I need a reminder from time to time. Especially today, when I had a client and felt sad, because I could not help him (in the way I expected it). But maybe I did? And I don’t know it yet. I now remind myself of many wise words that people told me years ago and just after a (sometimes) long time I really understood. If you plant a seed, it always needs time to grow. Maybe it is the same in coaching. Again, thank you to share so many things with us.

    • Christine Hassler

      People are ready to hear things in their own time, on their soul’s own agenda. Planting the seed is how self development grows and flourishes. You are doing a great job, just continue showing up for your clients with compassion and understanding the way you are doing. Thank you for being a lightworker!

  • Zoe

    Hi Christine, this was such a wonderful and timely post, thank you! Love the ‘sleeping babies’ analogy. I’m experiencing this with my current partner and recognise I’m far too attached to him learning from my example and I am trying to push him along a path he’s not ready to go down. I just don’t know how to go on in the relationship by stepping back completely, even though I totally get that I need to focus on myself and what this is bringing up for me (a lot of judgement – ugh!). But when do you know you need to move on because it fundamentally comes down to incompatibility? I’m sure this is a subject that resonates with many of us in the coaching and therapeutic community! Thanks again for bringing this to light.

    • Christine Hassler

      I’m so glad the article resonates with you! Anytime we struggle in a relationship, the person is giving us a gift, an opportunity for us to heal a part of ourselves. We can chose to look at what it is triggering for us now, or we can wait for the next relationship, as our soul will keep attracting the same situations until we heal. Then as we heal the path of whether we are compatible and are in a loving healthy relationship will unfold and become more clear. It all starts with our inner work and moves outward.

  • Molly Torres

    Hi Christine, this was sooooooo on time. To qoute you:

    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 hoping they will change – that is still attachment!

    How does one unattach?

    • Christine Hassler

      I hear you and know it can be confusing. Unattachment happens when we take the focus off the other person and place it upon ourselves and our motivation is 100% for our own growth. It doesn’t have to mean that we are ok with what the other person is doing, we just need to be ok with how we are feeling about ourselves and showing up for ourselves.

  • Alex

    Zoe wrote in her comment: “But when do you know you need to move on because it fundamentally comes down to incompatibility?”
    she couldn’t put this better. After 8 years of marriage, I got
    separated from my husband since 1.5 years ago, and even though I have already started
    the divorce process, I still cannot make up my mind about finalizing it. I
    keep remembering all the good memories that I had with him and his good parts, yet I don’t
    know if our problems are addressable or whether they are “fundamental
    incompatibilities”. Christine, can you PLEASE help how can one answer
    this question??!! “But when do you know you need to move on because it fundamentally comes down to incompatibility?” I am faced with the big dilemma of whether I should
    try again or not… we all know it is never only one side’s issues, it is always mutual
    … I tell myself what if I fix my side of the issues and he fixes his
    and then we can go back together…then I tell myself, what if it is a fundamental personality difference that we have (which to some extent we do… I am more dominant and aggressive and he is more passive aggressive… ) …. how can I answer this question? 1.5 years passed and I am still crying and unable to answer this!! Also I tried dating a bit, and I should say of the 2-5 guys that I went out with, all had issues… and this makes my original question even harder to answer… :(

  • Lara

    Oh. My. Goodness.
    Just what I was needing to hear, see and read today! The overwhelming pile of learning about self development, applying it, coaching others and then finding that Fine Line or boundary of not treating every person or interaction like a next step of development! It’s like getting Out of the mindset is just as important as being In.
    “Don’t wake the sleeping baby” Love this analogy!

    When we fall into this space of “Savior” or “Awakener” to everyone what would you suggest as a direction internally when you say to ‘Focus on Oneself’?

    Like, focus on my breath? Focus on
    releasing an attachment? Focus on acceptance? ? ? How?

  • Oana

    I am so grateful for this article. It is the response to my today’s question. It materialized very fast. :)

    Thank you!

    Oana- Romania