Community Futures Meridian

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Changing Others, Change Ourselves

  • March 6, 2018
  • Written by Meridian Admin

“Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have of changing others.” Jacob M. Braudo, Author

Too often we enter business or personal relationships with goals that may involve changing others. We decide that although things are going in the right direction, the other person needs to change their way of thinking or way of doing something. We end up trying to manipulate or force them to change.

At these times, we come up against a resistance, a defensiveness or an outright refusal. Here is where the cycle continues, where we feel forced to apply even more pressure and the resistance builds or the other person outwardly agrees to whatever change is desired. The question becomes what are they feeling inwardly? Are they truly committed to a change? How often do we see a situation arising in which the other person says they are committed to change while quietly throwing up roadblocks to our successful desires?

Sometimes the ongoing pressure even results in a serious breakdown or break up in the relationship with both sides stubbornly sticking to their resolve. What has been truly accomplished in this scenario?

What can we do to end this frustrating cycle? What do we need to do when a relationship is not working for us and we blame the other person for the situation? It is at times like this that we need to shift our thinking and change how we are looking at this “problem” with the other person or persons. As psychotherapist and marriage counsellor, Mel Schwartz wrote, “If I change myself, your relationship with me must be affected, for now you are in a relationship with a different person.”

How do we become this “different person”? It is when we truly question ourselves and become aware of how our reactions and approaches are exacerbating this cycle. It is when we view a situation through a different lens by shifting our focus from the blaming of others to changing our approach and reactions that the relationship moves forward without the hidden agendas and resistance.

In business or personal relationships, we can influence behaviours leading to change when others have a respect and trust. Forcing change leads to hidden resistance, unsuccessful or unsatisfactory results, dysfunction, and unhappiness.

“If you don’t like something change it. If you can’t change it, try to change the way you think about it.” Mary Englebreit

Paul Abra, Certified Executive Coach, Motivated Coaching and Development