Don’t try to change people, develop yourself

If only we could get others to be more considerate, less annoying, more diligent, see our point of view! How often have you wanted to change other people so they’d be better? Better spouses, kids, roommates, co-workers, employees? We want our kids to study harder and clean up after themselves, our spouses to be more considerate, our co-workers to be on time, our roommates to be neater, our relatives to be healthier, and so we try to change them. But how often has that worked?

People don’t want to be changed. And we can’t force them to change. This causes frustration, for us and the person who we’re trying to change. And most of the time people’s behaviour and our perspective is like a chicken and egg situation.

So what must we do if we cannot change others?

We can change;

1. Ourselves

Try changing yourself, and see how easy that is. It’s actually pretty hard! Try changing your diet, or your responses to people. It’s doable, but far from easy! If it’s not easy for you to change, why then should we expect it of others, and even get frustrated when they don’t? Why should everyone else but you change? Why not change to adapt to the reality of the world around you, instead of expecting the world to bend to your desires?

If someone gets angry all the time (and you don’t like that), instead of getting angry back, be the example. Show them how to deal with the frustrations. Be calm. Be loving and gentle and compassionate.

2. Our perspective

Changing our perspective is like changing the window through which we view the world. When we change how we view the world, we change how we feel about it.

3. Our expectations of others

Instead of wanting people to change, we can offer guidance in the spirit of helping, but not expect them to accept that guidance. We can show them a way that might be helpful, but not demand they follow that way.

4. Our responses to others’ actions

If someone is being frustrating, we can instead find something to be grateful for about them. We can see their virtues instead of their faults. We can change our expectations of them, and instead, accept them for the beautiful person they are.


The difficult truth

One of life’s hardest lessons to learn is that you can only change yourself! Don’t spend excessive amounts of time and energy upset, angry, or frustrated by other people’s thoughts and behaviours. When you feel frustrated, angry, or any other disempowering state, work on yourself. So that outside conditions no longer affect you. It’s an inside-out job. You don’t have to change anyone, you just have to change what you pay attention to. Because if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at also change.

The person you need to change first is the one inside of you.  It is easy to draw attention to what is wrong in the world but If you want to change reality, attend to your own personal development. In doing so everything will change and will no longer affect you.

But this is not easy, and that is why most time, people try to change others and not themselves. If behaviour change was easy, people would not spend months and years in therapy trying to change their behaviour. So save yourself some frustration today and learn to stop trying to change others. Focus instead on your own personal development and you may find yourself living a happier and more peaceful life.

It is pointless to be frustrated or become angry with circumstances beyond your control. It’s common nature to believe that, if you can control these situations, you will be happy. But you can’t because you are not God. Undertaking personal development is the only thing that can help you and probably influence those around you.

Human beings are independent creatures, you cannot change them. The more you try to change them, the more they become repulsive of you.


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