The Scorpion and the Frog

While I have spent my life in the support of empowering people to change their lives for the better, there are some people who simply cannot or will not change.

Only an individual can choose to do the work of creating massive change in their lives. I see it all the time, alcoholics and drug addicts stop being slaves to their substances. Victims of childhood abuse, leave their propensity for violence behind, becoming loving and supportive members of society. Criminals become law-abiding citizens, and the poverty-stricken change their lives and become highly prosperous.

Even diseased or disabled patients, find ways to heal themselves, saying, “Goodbye,” to their maladies, once and for all, living long, healthy, and wildly satisfying lives.

Nobody knows the capacity for a person to change their lives more than I, yet, even so, there are some people who are incapable of doing the work necessary to change.

Which reminds me of a contemporary fable of,

The Scorpion and the Frog

In the story of the scorpion and the frog, a frog meets a scorpion on the side of a riverbank. The scorpion wants to reach the other side to save his family, but there is no way to get across for him because scorpions are unable to swim.

The scorpion comes upon a frog and beckons him to engage in conversation, but the frog is apprehensive, thinking this might be a trap because scorpions prey on frogs.

The scorpion assures the frog that no harm will come to the frog because the scorpion must make it to the other side of the river to save his family, and since the frog can swim, he could offer the scorpion safe passage to the opposing river bank by allowing the scorpion to ride on the frog’s back to cross the river.

The frog asks, “How will I know you won’t sting me and kill me?”

“Because” answers the frog, “I need your skills of swimming to get me to the other side to save my family. If I were to sting you, and you were to die, I might not be able to make it to my family in time to rescue them.”

The frog and the scorpion make a bargain and agree to enter into a contractual agreement where the scorpion vows not to harm the frog.

So, the scorpion crawls onto the back of the frog and the frog starts to swim across the river.

All is going well, then about halfway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog.

The dying frog screams at the scorpion, “I am going to die, you are going to drown, and your family will suffer peril! Why would you do that?”

To which the scorpion replies, “Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. After all, I am a scorpion. It’s just the way I am.”

The frog dies and the scorpion drowns.

Unfortunately, no matter how much you might like someone that you care about to change, you cannot do it for them. You cannot make someone change when they do not have the inclination or capacity for change.

Do not bargain or enter into contractual agreements for change of another person because you cannot make anyone change. Certainly, people are capable of changing, but the choice to go about doing the work relies solely on their ability and commitment to themselves.

Sometimes, the threat of loss can help to motivate someone to change, but even so, the process of actually making the necessary changes falls on the person who you might like to see change.

Don’t be surprised when someone breaks their commitment to you with little remorse, only offering an irreverent, “It’s just the way I am.” After all, he or she couldn’t help him- or herself,  as it was simply a part of his or her undeniable nature, he or she was a scorpion.

 

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