How many of you are in relationships and finding fault with the other person(s)? How many of you are taking on the project of trying to change the “offending” party and justified it by saying one of the following:
“But I just want them to change because I love them so much” (you probably do love them, that’s not the issue) or “I just know that if they meditated and prayed, they’d be better off; (they probably would; meditation and prayer have been proven to be effective) or “I just know if they followed a low-fat diet, dropped that extra weight, and lowered their cholesterol, they’d be happier” (this may be true too).
Stop trying to justify your what you are doing and answer the following question, regardless of the reasons, who are you really trying to change?
Trying to change others to be the way we think they should be or the way we want them to be is a recipe for disaster. No one likes to be another person’s project. And while it is certainly true that we can and do influence each other, lasting change only happens when an individual makes that choice for him or herself.
People don’t change because we want them to; they change because they want to. It doesn’t matter how clever, how noble, how skilled, how manipulative we might be, people only make lasting changes when they are willing and ready to do so. Period.
We can certainly help and support others to change, but only when the time is right. Have you noticed that when you jump in uninvited (no matter what the motivation), your efforts are seldom met warmly? But when another reaches out to you and invites you in, saying, “I’m struggling, and I could use some help,” or “I’d like your opinion,” or “I’d like your help in making a change,” the exchange is entirely different. Then, whatever you have learned along your life’s journey can be shared, and it will likely be helpful and appreciated.
So instead of trying to make other people be like us, why don’t we instead learn to accept—and enjoy—the great and wonderful diversity of human expression.