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He (or She) Won’t Change

  |   Attitude, Communication, Healthy communication, Healthy Life Style, Healthy Relationships, Life In General, Personality, Problem Solving 101, Refining Character, Relationship   |   No comment
<em>Edit Blog entry</em> He (or She) Won’t Change

He (or She) Won’t Change

 

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Many years ago when my marriage hit what I call “the wall,” I thought my husband had to change in order for me to be happy. The problems with this kind of thinking are multiple. One challenge is that when we think the other person is the reason we are unhappy, we start looking for what they might be doing wrong so it can be fixed.

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It is as if we then put on glasses that only allow us to see problems. And thus, problems are exactly what we see, so much so that other people suddenly can’t do anything right. The other challenge with this kind of thinking is we have no control over what other people do and trying to change someone else simply doesn’t work—unless they choose to change. And, sometimes they don’t want to change, sometimes they can’t.

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Even then, if they change because they feel forced due to judgment and criticism, eventually resentment and even retaliation may rear their ugly heads. Love has a hard time being felt in this environment.

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What I have discovered through trial and error is that if I want to change in any area of my life, I am the one who must change what I am doing. When we look outside of ourselves at the problem, we tend to look outside of ourselves for the solution. We render ourselves powerless and feel like victims of what everyone else says and does (or doesn’t do). When instead we ponder, “what can I do differently?,” we suddenly realize we have a multitude of creative options that allow us to become powerful.

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When I suggest the strategy of taking personal responsibility for transforming faltering relationships, every now and then I see someone go into total resistance. They say, “Me? Why me? Why should I change when he or she is the one who…(fill in the blank).” They look at me puzzled and remind me of exactly who is at fault in their relationship. While I understand the sentiment, I redirect the conversation from fault to responsibility. Fault finding comes from a victim mindset steeped in blame. Responsibility empowers us. My mission here is not to let the other person off the hook. My mission is to empower you. Responsibility is the secret power tool for transformation.

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What people tend to do in a relationship is resist the way the other person is, but stay in the relationship anyway, while trying to manipulate them to change. This leads to complaining, nagging, arguing, or withdrawing, but rarely (if ever) leads to resolution or a happier relationship.

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When we truly acknowledge how another person is, we realize that our power is not in changing them, but in changing our approach to being with them. It is then that we tap into our creativity and see other solutions. And yes, sometimes that solution is to let them be the way they are, but not in a relationship with us. Sometimes it is a practice in drawing clearer boundaries, letting go of things that don’t really matter or being more mindful in the way we communicate.

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I’m pretty certain when we reflect on our lives as we take our final breaths, it is not everyone else’s behavior and ability to change that will concern us. Rather, it will be our own behavior and our own choices that will haunt us or fill us with satisfaction from a life well lived, or well loved.

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In my own relationship, as soon as I changed my “glasses” from “what is he doing wrong” to seeking “what do I love about him,” the funniest thing happened. Suddenly, I fell back in love.  By:  Eve Hogan

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