I was reading an article today about how ineffective and impossible it is to change other people and how in spite of this knowledge, many of us continue to try anyway. For example, we may try to make sad people happy or attempt to make insensitive people, more sensitive.
Therapist and best-selling author, Martha Beck, suggests that the key to releasing our control over others and focusing more on ourselves is to, “Stay the heck away from the idea of making someone do, feel, or think anything. This is not your job. Your job is to maximize your own happiness, kindness, and health. Let others choose whether to follow and stay in your own business.”
This can be a tall order if the person you are trying to control or “fix” happens to be someone very close to you like a family member, best friend or spouse. It may seem like all the fussing and attempts at changing someone is loving and helpful. However, unfortunately, all this “helping” behavior does is cause you needless pain, loss of happiness and exhaustion, especially if your well-meaning words are ignored.
This is not to say that some people don’t appreciate your input and feedback and use it to enhance their life but we just can’t make someone use the information or make them different. They have to want to change and do the internal work themselves, while taking whatever actions are required in their own life.
Ultimately, we all have the choice to listen and take others advice or not. How freeing when we can let go of control and embrace the only person we have any control over, and that is ourselves.
Focus on maximizing your own happiness, kindness and health by putting your loving attention on you.