Change is a tricky thing. We don?t like it when it happens in our own lives, resist it in our own personalities, but wish it would happen to most of the people around us. The desire to have others change is an issue that comes up many times in my practise and in my own life. However, I am learning one important truth:
When one realizes that one can only change themselves and not others, there comes tremendous freedom.
I often encourage people to come and learn about themselves and grow into this freedom. Many times within our marriage or families we think, "If only so and so would do things my way! ? We say, "You should have done it the way I suggested. Why would you ever choose something like that?? or "If it were me, I?d tell them?? and the list goes on.
While, men get a bad wrap for having poor communications skills, I see many women who try to make their husbands into "mini-me?s?. We need to understand that men and women are different and that is a good thing ? not a bad thing. Very often women can become nagging wives when they want their husbands to change. They leave hints around (that book on the coffee table) and demand chores not just be done ? but be done the way they like them done. Also, when it comes to discipline, many times women try to make things "right? with the children after Dad has disciplined them. While yes, fathers may have a tendency to be firmer and more rigid in their approach; most times it is wiser to wait and discuss the situation privately with their husband. Wives need to be supportive of their husband?s motive for disciplining and not undermine them in front of the children.
The bottom line is only you are responsible for your actions and responses. You cannot change anyone. You can show people a different approach, but you still must allow them the freedom to choose. Try not to react to situations or conversations that are difficult. Watch that your own anxiety isn?t causing you to be controlling or nagging. If you concern yourself with your own responses and simply be curious about someone else?s, you will live a far more stress-free life.
It truly is worth it.
Written By: Sharon Osvald in collaboration with Winnie Visser
Principles for Real Living:
I am responsible for my own attitude
My attitude affects my actions
I can not change others, but I can influence others
My emotions do not control my actions
Admitting my imperfections does not mean that I'm a failure
Love is the most powerful weapon for good in the world
Desperate Marriages by Gary Chapman, Northfield Publishing, Chicago 1998, 2008