You can’t change other people.
I said what I said.
This goes for family, friends, spouses, colleagues.
If someone doesn’t want to change something about their behaviour or ways of thinking, you can’t get them to.
Trying to change other people really does tend to do more harm than good for your relationships too.
Think about it, how do you feel when someone tells you what you ‘should’ do or think? Does it go well? Does it feel good?
We can’t fight fire with fire.
Dishing out the same behaviour we’re trying to avoid in someone else isn’t going to work!
The people close to us really do have the ability to trigger us very quickly.
They have their ideas of what’s ‘good’ for us, or what we ‘need’ and people are always simply operating from their own maps of the world. Their perspective.
And often just a simple comment can be enough to send us into a spiral.
‘Don’t you think you should just get a proper job.’
‘How’s your little hobby going?’
‘Do you really think that’s sensible, you have a family to look after.’
‘I could never do that.’
‘You’re not really going to make any money from that are you?’
Alllll the judgement and maybe some criticism and unsolicited advice thrown in for good measure.
But you can’t change them.
I know it sounds slightly hopeless, especially when someone is driving you NUTS with their unhelpful comments or behaviour…BUT that doesn’t mean the situation you’re not happy with can’t change.
You can’t change them, BUT you can change your reaction to them and in turn stop the interactions you don’t like from happening.
When you focus on changing yourself, the entire situation can be changed.
Turn it inwards with curiosity, not judgement.
What is REALLY bothering me about this situation?
It’s also worth recognising why you might want to change that person’s way of thinking or behaviour..
What does it give you, or take away?
What’s YOUR agenda in wanting them to change?
What is that person’s comment or behaviour triggering in you?
What are the feelings that bubble up for you?
Are they necessarily accurate or true?
You’ve got their unconscious stuff, knocking up against your unconscious stuff so the best way to change that is to firstly notice and recognise it.
Notice that their map of the world and yours might not be the same, and that’s ok.
Notice that they might not have the same information that you do, or have had the same experiences you have.
You have to notice what is going on inside of YOU and the reactions you’re experiencing.
This isn’t necessarily about admitting fault.
It doesn’t mean you’re in the wrong.
It does mean looking for, accepting and admitting your responsibility.
Where in the situation can you grab YOUR responsibility for escalating a situation by the proverbial and make a change.
This could look like communicating honestly.
This could look like taking a deep, regulating breath before you respond.
This could look like setting a boundary.
This could look like sharing vulnerably and communicating your feelings.
We can get attached to how other people need to change and it’s important to remember that it’s based on our own perspective of what’s good, bad, right or wrong.
Remembering that just because it’s our perspective based on our map of the world doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the ‘right’ one.
We’ve all been there where we want to change something about ourselves and it’s hard. You have to WANT to change it.
If you don’t, or if the secondary gains you get from the behaviour are stronger than the draw of the change itself you know it’s not going to happen.
So what makes you think that you can do that for someone else?
What could be helpful instead that you haven’t tried yet?
Could that be asking a question instead of reacting in anger?
Could it be asking for clarification stating the story that you’ve created and checking in to see if that’s right and what they really meant?
All we can do is take responsibility for ourselves.
Take responsibility for our own reactions and responses.
Take responsibility for being curious about which buttons the other person might be pressing for us.
Take responsibility for our own clear, conscious communication.
Take responsibility for finding empathy and understanding for why someone might be doing or saying the things we want to change. What’s their highest positive intention at that moment?
We have WAY more control over our interactions with others, and our triggers, than we think. The focus just needs to be on us, not them.
So I have a little mantra for you that I recently gave to some clients when they were fed up with other people’s opinions on what they’re doing. I hope it serves you too.
‘Their stuff is not my stuff. Their truth is not my truth. Their opinion is not my opinion. I know my own mind and I know what’s right for me.’
Fran Excell, Success Mindset Mentor at www.franexcell.com – Helping Business Owners & Executives Overcome Stress & Self Sabotage so they can get back their time, get off the emotional rollercoaster and feel more in control.
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