Relationships, whether platonic or romantic, require equal parts commitment, flexibility, and a willingness to work with a second party towards a successful connection. This has to be a continuous effort and may call for changes, not to your identity but to certain behaviours which could threaten the long term success of your relationships.
All too often I’ve heard the phrase “This is just how I am. Love it or leave it!”, which always leads me to question the intention of my friend or partner. On one hand, as a strong willed and largely independent thinker, I can’t say that statement is a wholly bad one to make. We are all individuals of varying personality who should hold fast to the elements that make us unique. But when it comes to fostering connections with others, certain compromises to how you express who you are have to be made if you truly want to share your life with someone else on any level. Demanding that a person “like it or lump it” when it comes to behaviors that cause strife in your connection is demanding that they die to their own identity while you are allowed to keep yours on tact. Doesn’t sound very fair does it?
If your intention is to commit to a relationship and see it grow to healthy proportions, you must remain mindful that relationships are comprised of more than just you. Your behaviours as an individual may not work well as part of a team, and if you’re not willing to sacrifice for your teammate’s sake then your intention was never about being a team to begin with. Keep in mind the difference between changing behaviour, a way of responding to situations, and changing your identity, a way of being. While no one has the right to ask you to change how you are, they have every right to expect respectful behaviour from you. Especially if that is what they they give you.