Changing Others

This blog is all about change and growth in oneself.   Each blog has been a different (sort of) topic on this subject for now 18 months and counting.   In other words, the multitude of topics on the subject indicates that change, even positive change, is not easy.  And if you’re reading this blog that means that change is desired or being contemplated.  Congratulations!  Considering change is the prelude to actual change or growth and I commend you for your efforts to grow and improve!

What about when the change needed involves someone else?

I know that you know that you know this (read that again, aloud to yourself), but I still think it merits saying that we cannot change others.  Yet we know what’s going on for them.  We know what’s right for them.  We know what they should do.

If only they knew as well, so they can do the right thing.

We don’t know what’s right for them.

We barely know what’s going on for ourselves since our self-knowledge is limited at best.  In addition, last I checked, even the most empathic person cannot read minds.  To complicate matters, we also tend to confuse our own feelings for someone else’s, a phenomenon called projection.

In short, we are not perfect.  We usually cannot know what it’s like for someone else, and even if we can, we cannot know what is the right course of action for that person.  Even if we did know the right course of action, everyone must create change in their own timeframe.  Remember, change is not easy and people only change or make change when they’re ready.

Frankly, if we are spending time in that space of thinking we know what’s right for someone else, it’s probably a sign that we instead should be attending to understanding our own reality and  creating our own action plan.

I realize that this advice is easier said than done.  But next time you realize that you are spending time deciding what someone else should be doing, ask yourself honestly (put away all your defensiveness) whether the deficiency you note in them is also present in you.   Then consider your action plan in light of this new information.

We are hard-wired for hypocrisy, so don’t feel bad.  You also don’t have to admit your hypocrisy to anyone else if you don’t want.   I promise, I won’t rat you out.  After all, we’re all in this together.

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