Can a Leopard really change its spots?


Now I know this topic can relate to a number of things from the dubious convict who sees the light and vows never to do it (whatever it may be) again to the philanderer who is caught and promises to change his ways.

My focus is on love and how love or the idea of it can seemingly turn a person into someone entirely different. Could it really be possible or would such a change only be reflected on the surface while what lies underneath will remain unchanged?

Imagine a woman who, on the surface is a partying, drinking, fun-loving kind of girl who enjoys spending money, enjoying extravagances like 5* hotels, pamper sessions, luxury cruises and Mediterranean holidays. And underneath she is a battered and abused spouse. She finally gets the courage to leave and one day meets a man who treats her like a princess. Suddenly this party-gal becomes a nature-lover who goes forgoes materialistic things, goes camping and hiking. Spends a day in the wilds and even runs races for charities. A complete turnabout from her former life. Love has turned her into a completely different person. But is she really different or would her inner personality remain the same?  And would it eventually come out, to destroy what she has built?

Now imagine a young adult deeply involved in the occult and committed to the dark side of life with substance abuse, animal sacrifice and suicidal tendencies. She meets a man who is the same as her but her complete turnaround comes from a different kind of love – her children. When she has her children, all of a sudden she is a loving mummy whose children are her life. No more drugs, no more darkness. She has even become an ardent animal rights activist and campaigner. Well, some could say it is natural to experiment in one’s youth and that is probably all it was but I do have to wonder if she would have changed or degenerated even further had she not had her children. Would I have one day read about her in an obituary as someone who had suffered an untimely death? Did her love for her children change her, save her?

What do you think about people and change? Do you think people can change? Do you think they should? What if the change makes them a worse person rather than a better one? Or should we just accept who we are and stay the same?

Copyright © 150713 by Karen Payze

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10 Comments

  1. Fundamentally the person who led the life of the past is still the same person but is living under different circumstances. People do not change as they are genetically engineered and trained for the first five years of their lives by whomever cares for them. From there though life can lead to places that weren’t in the conscious plan. There is not child that says as he or she grows up – I want to do drugs and then take my own life.
    Love generates a love of self too and with that comes happiness. Should that happiness be ripped away suddenly, it is entirely possible to hit low depths again.
    This is why, in that period which you’re most happy (actually anytime) it is important to learn to love yourself and no longer depend on someone else to provide happiness.
    Does this make sense? It is only my opinion; not science or anything I can prove!

    • Thank you for your comment and a very interesting insight!

      May I ask you, do you think that people remain who they are underneath, that they are unchangeable? As an example, would a deprived child always miss something from their lives, no matter how hard they try to change it? I only use a child example in response to your statement of children being ‘ genetically engineered and trained for the first five years of their lives by whomever cares for them’?

      Couldn’t it be possible that a person’s life paths can fundamentally change who they are or even change a single aspect of who they are but to such an extent that the changed person would be deemed unrecognisable from their past persona?

      If life paths, circumstances, fate, love, chance, etc, trigger varied responses that impact on our decision-making, attitudes, thoughts and feelings, surely, then, they are changing our fundamental selves?

      It’s all really complicated, isn’t it? What I really wonder is whether a person who says that love have changed them really knows that it has changed them or whether they just want so badly to believe it that they convince themselves and those around them that they are changed but if that love dies or is ripped away, would they revert to their old selves and if they do, did they ever really change in the first place?

      It could probably make for a lovely (or long winded haha) debate!

      Thanks again for visiting and commenting, it’s refreshing to be able to have a lively discussion 🙂

      • Some things are a wait and see :). Yes the debate can go on and on and it will get complicated as it does and waaay off topic too, no doubt. I do stick with my first statement though that people are who they are by nature and change can come by circumstance. A leopard can not change their spots entirely. Nor do they particularly need to 🙂

  2. interesting post! I think people are changing what they do and what they like all the time. I guess it would be the reason behind the actions – if the first woman was punishing herself with the drinking, parties and facade of being perfect because she is so sad inside – or battered. It could be a form of control.
    The second one, if they are out for power and that is it, I would say it would be tough to change…but if they are testing the waters, trying something they think works, they think will bring them something good but find happiness in something more wonderful – sure, why not change and give them the chance to reinvent themselves.
    But anyone with problems will have to face them and deal with them and love themselves or they will constantly blackmail themselves into bad behaviors through shame, lack of self-worth or a false sense of immortality. (lol).
    Speaking of false sense of immortality I used to smoke when I was younger knowing full well it wasn’t good for me, I personally was trying to fit in and thumbing my nose and my parents and my own mortality. Once I realized I was rebelling against my myself and my life (not parents and society) I made it a point to quit. Crazy!! Not everyone drinks, smokes or does drugs to excess because of that, it is my own circumstance, but still valid for some.

    • Thanks 🙂 and thank you for your comment! I do agree that people can and do change and in many instances that change is either inevitable or necessary but I do also agree with Lesley’s comment that we shouldn’t have to change – especially in the case, I think, where change is superficial, for someone else rather than for oneself. x

  3. I suspect change comes from unhappiness. Think about the battered woman. She says she loves her partner, even strikes a police person if they go after him. What changes is she dies or she becomes really unhappy when she realizes that the beatings with never stop, that him saying he’s sorry is just a way to keep the punching bag from leaving, and the unhappiness grows to desperation if he stops her from going by threatening her further.

    People change from the inside out, not the other way around, or at least, that is what I think. 🙂

    • Yes, I ado think that change would come from the inside because if it were to occur from the outside it would be superficial change, wouldn’t it 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

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