Author: Catherine Pulsifer, © 1998
How many times have we attempted the impossible and tried to change
other people. Often this ends up being an exercise of frustration as
attempting to change others truly is a waste of time!
I can't tell you how many times I have tried to change other people
and I have failed. There was one person in particular with whom I am
very close; this person was not happy with their life,
they were bored and lonely. For years I tried to change them,
to help them lead a more productive life. I tried to get them involved
in groups where they had an interest. I tried to encourage them to call
their friends and plan an outing together. I suggested getting involved
with a charitable organization and volunteer their time. There is so much
that a healthy person can contribute. But this person while bored did not
want to commit to anything or anyone. They expected people to come knocking
on their door. Of course, that did not happen and the person was very lonely
and unhappy. But none of my ideas is something that they wanted to do. It
concerned me as what a waste of life, so able to give so much, but not
willing to do anything.
It Did Not Work
All my suggestions, well you guessed it none of them work. I just ended
up being frustrated, until I
realized that I couldn't change them until they changed themselves. I could not
force them to get involved they had to take that first step. There was only
so much I could do.
As much as we want to, we all need to understand you truly cannot
change other people. The person themselves have to want to change. They
have to take the action. We can make all the suggestions we want but until
they move forward it really won't matter.
Think About This
Think of a time when you tried to change a personal habit. As we have
absolute control over how we think, you would assume changing
a habit is easy. As we all know, it is not. Changing a habit requires
determination, perseverance and a strong willpower.
Stop and consider how difficult it is for us to try and change
other people when we have no control over their thoughts or their actions.
To draw on the wisdom in an old saying, "You cannot change other
people, you can only change yourself." If you want others to change,
then you must change.
Whether it is the behavior of a child, a boss, a co-worker, a friend, or
a spouse you are the one who must change. You can change
the way you express your feelings towards the behavior. You can change
your reaction to them. You can change what you do and how you say it,
but always remember you can not change the person unless they themselves
want to change.
You can change your reaction to the behavior. In some cases,
you may have to change by accepting the behavior.
Set The Example
Rather than trying to change others you can exhibit what you
think should change in your own life. You set the example, how you
live says more than any amount of words you could say to a person.
You can set about a transformation in people by sharing your experiences
and living the life that you feel is your purpose.
"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself."
Going back to my experience with that person who is close to me. I have
given up trying to talk
with them. I live my life being very involved in many different areas. I would
not know what boring is, as I don't have the time to be bored.
And this person sees that in my life. I eagerly and enthusiastically share
the work and activities I am involved in . Over the years the person has
actively started to get more involved. A change has occurred in this person.
And I should note my years of talking did no good. It was not until this
person could see the difference it had made in my life that they decided to
make changes on their own and get involved with groups that make a difference
in others lives.
Remember this with your children. What they see you do, how you react, and
how you speak are all things that impact and influence their lives. Rather than
preaching to children, we should be demonstrating the actions we would like
to see. It will have a much larger impact than we realize.
As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Furnish an example, stop preaching, stop
shielding, don't prevent self-reliance and initiative, allow your children
to develop along their own lines."
A good example of this comes from a friend of mine. She was so frustrated that
her daughter kept her room so untidy. You walked into that child's room and
there was stuff all over. And it was not because she didn't have shelving units, she
had every organization unit you could think of. But the child never put anything
back, her room was a mess. The mom was upset with her. And she was complaining
to me her daughter's room was a constant cyclone. But, when you looked around
at the house and if you dared look in the mother's room you could easily see where
the child got this behavor from. The house was always a mess, stuff everywhere. And the
parent's bedroom was just as bad as the daughters. The mother could talk and
get angry all she wanted, the example the child had was the problem.
We sometimes see situations in people's lives that we can see disaster coming
but until they see it, it doesn't do any good to try and change them. We can always
give words of encouragement,
suggestions, but honestly don't expect that
others will change. They first have to want to change themselves and until that
happens it doesn't matter what you say.
The Point Is This
You have control over you and that is the only person you can change.
When you realize this you will save yourself a lot of frustration.
Remember: you can change YOU and only YOU.
Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:
"The key point to understand is that unless you change your approach, everything will stay the same."
"Your success starts when you start to change yourself. Most important thing is your change must be in a positive way."
"I made a few simple but important keystone habit changes, and that changed me and my life for the better and so can you."
Eileen Rose Giadone
"Always remember, to change what you have in life, you must begin by changing what you are."
G. Mark Phillips
"There is a great power in your thinking. Your thinking can change your life. Your thinking can change your world."
"No one else can change your life for you. Change must come from you."
"It should be no surprise that our successes and our failures have only one constant: us. If we want our situation to change, then we have to change our behavior."
"You can't change the world in a day but you can help everyone you come in contact with have a little bit of a brighter day if you say hi with a smile."
"Encourage individuals to compete against themselves to achieve more."
"None preaches better than the ant, and she says nothing."
"Draw inspiration from other people's lives The inspiring example of the people
you admire is a great place to start with."
"The personal example you set will do more to convince someone than all the eloquent speeches in the world."
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