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What Are the Dangers in Changing for Others?

What Are the Dangers in Changing for Others?
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“I'll be what you're looking for/Even if it's not who I am/I can change/I can change for you” (Brandon Flowers, “I Can Change,” The Desired Effect). Changing for others has been normalized within mainstream society today. It is not uncommon for a person to change their interests, appearance, or personality in order for another person to like them.

Whether it is trying to fit into a friend group or in a relationship, we can often try to change ourselves to win the other person’s approval. But should we change for others? Does God want us to change for others?

Yearning to Belong

Normally people try to change in order to belong to a community of friends or to belong in a relationship. We want to know that we belong, and we have people who care about us. It becomes rationalized in our minds that if we change to accommodate the other person’s interest that they will accept us and invite us into their friend circle.

By changing into a chameleon, we believe we can ensure the other person will like us and want to be friends with us. If you grew up between the time of 2000-2015, you were probably hit by the trend of Abercrombie, Hollister, and Aeropostale.

In order to fit in, everybody had to wear these clothes. In other words, in order to be accepted, you had to change. You had to change who you were in order to be accepted by the other kids at school and not be ridiculed for your nonconformist clothing choices.

My sisters and I are all around the same age, so we all experienced the same pressing concerns of trying to fit in with the kids at school. We were by no means “popular” or accepted by any of the kids in middle school. Wearing shirts of our favorite rock bands and brightly colored skinny jeans made us an easy target for the “cool kids” to bully us.

Since having clothes from Abercrombie, Hollister, or Aeropostale would give you approval into a friend group, my mom bought us clothing from these brands; however, through secondhand stores, because we could not afford the “name brands” from the actual stores.

My mom thought if we could dress like the other kids, then they would accept us. Therefore, my sister and I wore these horrific orange and white Hollister t-shirts to school, and we still were rejected by the other kids.

Even though we changed, the other kids still did not accept us, nor did they like us. In middle school, this was a huge problem for my sister and me to the point we were bullied and had to be homeschooled for the rest of our school years until college.

Despite trying to change for others, we were still rejected, ridiculed, and laughed at. Even though my mom had good intentions, we should have never been influenced or forced to change who we were in order to accommodate another person’s preference. Maybe you can relate to this story or have seen this in another close friend’s life.

Innately we all want to be accepted and liked; however, we should never change who we are in order to be accepted by others. God has created us each fearfully and wonderfully (Psalm 139:13-16). He has given each of us our own unique personalities, skills, and gifts.

In the entire world, there is no other person who is exactly like you. You are an amazing, wonderful, and beautiful child of God. God chose you and He loves you (John 3:16-17).

1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

You see? You don’t have to change in order for others to like you. True friends want you to be your friend because they like the real you. If we have to try to get somebody to like us, then they are not our real friends. Trying to be a chameleon to win the approval of others is wrong.

God doesn’t want you to change your own unique authentic self to become somebody you are not. Trust me, you will not like the fake version you will become. It is never fun to be somebody you are not. I have spent my fair share trying to change who I am in order to please others.

It is not a fun road to travel down because you lose your identity in the process. You start to forget who you actually are — your likes, dislikes, your personality, your interests, and your passions.

Do not try to conform to another person’s social circle and do not try to become the “perfect” girlfriend or boyfriend in order for the other person to like you. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

The Lord does not want you to change your uniqueness in order to appease others. God loves you just the way you are. When we become Christians, we change in the sense that we try to serve God and please Him in every way, but He never commands us to change our personalities, appearance, or passions. 

Finding Your Authentic Self

If you have been caught up in a chameleon cycle, it is time to stop. We don’t have to change ourselves in order for others to like us. Even though we may want others to like us, we cannot control what others think about us. All we can do is be kind to everyone and love them as Christ loves us (John 15:12).

Other people may not return kindness and love to us; however, this does not mean we should not be nice to them. We should be kind, caring, and loving towards others even if they are mean to us. True friends will like you for you.

They will not try to get you to change or fit into a mold in order for you to be welcomed into their circle. Every person has their own quirks and unique aspects of their identity. We should not change or manipulate these characteristics of ourselves to accommodate other people’s prefaces.

Rather than changing into what other people want you to be, embrace your true self. Do you like art, music, or reading? Don’t hide that from others. Share your interest and brighten the room with your personality. Once you are your true, genuine, authentic self, other like-minded people will approach you and quickly become your friend.

God made us all unique with our own unique identities. Think about how boring and dull the world would be if everybody was the same. Different personalities, passions, and appearances make the world interesting and attest to our wonderful Creator God. Just like there are no two identical snowflakes, there are no two identical people.

Even twins have some sort of distinguishing mark between them. Depending on how long you have been a chameleon and changing according to the preferences of others, it might affect how long you will be able to find your true self again.

Ask yourself “What do I like? What interests me? What makes me feel happy?” Answer these questions and reflect on them. Over time, you will be able to find your own true authentic self that God created you to be. Be yourself! There is only one you in the entire universe and God adores you.

Why Does This Matter?

Make up your mind today that you will live your life serving God and only meditating on what He says about you — not what the world, others say, or even what you think about yourself.

You don’t have to change who you are because God made you just the way He wanted you to be, and He never makes mistakes. Don’t change who you are to accommodate others. Be yourself forever and always.

For further reading:

Why Does the World Care about My Weight When God Doesn't?

How Should Christians Respond to 'Fake' Friends?

How Do We Show Love to Toxic People?

Why Should We Not Be Conformed to This World?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/fizkes

Vivian BrickerVivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.

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