Why Can't We Get Them to Change?
We all have them in our lives or see them on the world stage: Whether it’s the spouse or roommate who always leaves wet towels on the bathroom floor or the one who endlessly nags and criticizes; the adult child who won’t move out, or the one who stays with an abusive boyfriend or can’t keep a job; the bedridden parent who attacks us viciously even while we take care of her; or even the member of Congress or President who does whatever it is that makes us hopping mad, we want these people to change, Change, CHANGE! We want them to start doing what we want them to do, and we want them to do it NOW! And Guess What? It’s not going to happen! We can’t change them!
This seems to have been the theme over the past month. I have talked to so many people lately who are trying very hard to figure out how to change someone who is abusing them, intruding on them, or letting them down; or how to help someone change who is perceived to be very unhappy, unhealthy, underachieving, or worse.
Most of the time, the focus is on a spouse, a parent, or a child; but in some cases, the focus is on a friend, a co-worker or supervisor, or someone else who is perceived as being “the problem.” In some cases, the concerned people say they just want someone they love to be happy and thriving. In other cases, the people are in untenable situations, and the only way out seems to involve having someone else change (or go away) in order to make the situation better.
The problem is, we simply cannot change anyone else, no matter how hard we try! Sorry! It doesn’t matter what our intentions are, or why we want the other person to change, whether we are trying to help someone else or help ourselves. We might be able to impose our will on someone or manipulate them for a time, but that usually doesn’t last, and it often really backfires on us in a worse way.
And that’s where the rubber hits the road, as they say: Why is it that we think we can change people to suit our expectations and desires, and how do we reconcile ourselves to the cold, hard fact that we simply cannot? As every one of us knows, it is hard enough to change ourselves when we want to change, but it is not within our power to change anyone else. Changing our own expectations about people—and our expectation that we can change them—is where the Magic lies, for that is the true alchemy of turning lead (our unrealistic expectations) to gold (peace with that).
So…Why is it that we think we can change other people? It seems to be a popular and wide-spread illusion: there are so many people who marry, expecting to change and mold the other person to act the way they want them to; vc and so many parents who expect to change and mold their children the same way. They usually end up disappointed and frustrated, because it doesn’t work in the long run, even if it does work in the short term!
So, why do we think we can change other people? Is it just that it is much easier to “work on” changing someone else than it is to change ourselves? Is it because we can see so much more clearly how other people need to change themselves than we can see how we need to change, ourselves? Or are we just self-satisfied and arrogant, thinking that we are always right, and we know what’s best for everyone? Certainly, it is always much more comfortable when everyone around us does what pleases us… but that’s just a fantasy (even if we all have it)!
As they say, each of us is part of God… but so is everyone else! Every person alive is a part of the Divine, an eternal soul, with a soul purpose, soul contracts, and free will. Granted, sometimes that’s pretty hard to see in the way people act and conduct themselves, but it is true, nevertheless. And each person brings into this life the wealth of experience—the good, the bad, and the ugly—from every other life expression. Most of that experience is deeply buried in the unconscious, but it is there, operating under the surface, and affecting the attitudes, choices, and actions of each person. Piled on top of that are all the traumas, dramas, beliefs, socialization, and programming—also deeply buried in the unconscious—from the current life expression.
With all those underpinnings, it is impossible to understand anyone else’s life journey, soul contracts, and soul purpose, just as it is often impossible for us to understand our own. And, as “just another Divine Being,” who are we to make any decisions, for anyone else? Who are we, to think we know what’s best for someone else when, half the time, we don’t know what’s best for ourselves?
It is true that any relationship requires adjustments, negotiations, compromises, and “training.” (If there is an excessive amount of that required, it may be useful to assess and decide if it is really the right relationship to be in!) But we are in relationship with people most of the time, relationships of all kinds—parents, children, siblings, spouses, roommates, partners, friends, teachers, supervisors, fellow students, co-workers, employees, service providers—and we have to navigate through the emotion-laden minefield of communicating, collaborating, and getting along with all of them (and trying to get what we want). And the quality of those relationships can fall anywhere in the range from sublimely in-tune to excruciating and abusive!
So where does that leave us? In order to navigate all these relationships successfully, it is helpful to remember a few things: 1) we are all equally Divine, Powerful Beings with free will; 2) we all have an individual soul purpose, which we may or may not understand; 3) our relationships mirror something within us and provide the opportunity to decide what we like and don’t like and to learn our lessons through relating to others; 4) our happiness comes from inside us and is not really determined by the actions of others, although it’s often more comfortable to believe otherwise; 5) we cannot change anyone but ourselves (and that is often nearly impossible); and 6) relationships work better when we respect each other’s choices and free will (even when they do what we don’t like), release attachment and control, and take responsibility for, and only for, ourselves.
"Selfishness is not living your life as you wish.
It is asking others to live their lives as you wish."
When we are in a situation we don’t like, and we focus our energy on hoping that someone else will change, to make the situation better for us, we are giving away our power. We are sitting in the energy of victimhood, blaming our discomfort, stress, or unhappiness on someone else. We think, if only our supervisor would stop being mean; if only our subordinates would do their jobs better; if only our spouse would spend more time with us (or stop seeing that other person); if only that company would hire us; if only that other person would change or do what I want them to do… THEN I would be happy and my life would be good.
By sitting in that victim energy, giving our power away, and making our happiness dependent on the actions of someone else, we set ourselves up for monumental, and repeating, failure. We relinquish our responsibility for ourselves to others. Granted, there is some emotional payoff to not taking responsibility for our happiness, and there is a certain allure to blaming someone else. But what if the person actually changes, and we still aren’t happy? Someone else will surely come along to “make us unhappy.” We become perpetually un-happy, because our happiness actually depends on us, and us alone, and as long as we are laying that responsibility at someone else’s door, we are doomed.
Often we wait for someone else to change to make us happy, because we are afraid to take the action we know we need to take: if our supervisor gets better, we won’t have to take the risk of standing up for ourselves or looking for a better job; if our spouse treats us better, we won’t have to go through the upheaval and uncertainty of divorce. We don’t want to go through the fear, risk, and hassle of changing ourselves or making changes in our own lives, so we criticize and nag and urge those around us to change, so we don’t have to. Granted, these are hard choices and hard changes to make; they can be terrifying and require great courage. It’s no wonder we’d rather have someone else change! But perhaps making that choice and that change is exactly what our soul path and purpose requires?
Alternatively, when we “unselfishly” try to get others to change “for their own good,” we are trying to take their power away and exert our power over them. We set ourselves up as judge and jury over others and pass down a “sentence” of how they should act, how they should live their lives, what they should do to change themselves to fit our expectations. We set ourselves up as knowing more than they do about their lives, more about what will make them happy or successful or healthy. Generally, we assume that what would make us happy, or what would work for us, will also work for them and make them happy, and we don’t bother to consider that they are different: they have their own path, their own likes and dislikes, their own strengths and weaknesses, their own idea of what success looks like, and their own soul purpose and soul lessons. We forget that, like us, they need to learn from their own mistakes and experiences and live their own lives.
This is a trap that parents and spouses often find themselves in, particularly parents who never really accept that the "children" have become adults with responsibility for themselves. They can't let go of the parent role and redefine themselves and their relationship to their adult children. Of course, they wrap it all up in the trappings of selflessness and love. Whether that is the whole truth of their motives or not, this is always a many-edged sword.
First, this sets us up as the arbiters of someone else’s happiness and success, the directors of someone else’s life. It implies that the other person is inferior and simply cannot have a successful life without us, without our help. It is a position that feels very powerful and makes us feel needed. It feels like easy, risk-free power, and like selfless, loving concern, but is it really?
While we get to feel superior and sit in judgment over someone else, we don’t have to take responsibility for the outcome. The outcome depends on the other person complying with our directives, so there is an “easy out” if happiness and success are not the result. While we may get an emotional payoff, we also may be cutting off our nose to spite our face.
Depending on what efforts we make to force the other person to change, we may find ourselves facing considerable resentment and ruined relationships. Most of us do not take kindly to anyone else presuming to tell us how to conduct our lives! At some point, even the most loving adult child or spouse grows tired of being told—overtly or covertly—that they are incompetent to live their lives and they need our instructions to do it correctly!
So why do we think we can do that to other people? Who are we to think we know what’s best for them? Is our life so exceptionally perfect that we have to share the secret with others?? The real problem is that pushing others to change “for their own good” is often a mask for and a distraction from our own unhappiness, guilt, or feelings of powerlessness. By focusing on “fixing” someone else, we do not have to focus on what we need to do to create more happiness for ourselves or to heal ourselves. It is always so much easier to focus on someone else’s problems than to confront and address our own!
Yet, it behooves us to remember that those other people are adults, sovereign individuals, with their own soul purpose and journey, responsible for their own lives, just as we are.
In all cases, when we find ourselves focusing on trying to change someone else—whether we want them to change because we want to improve our own circumstances or to improve their circumstances—our best option, for everyone involved, is to STOP and refocus our attention on ourselves.
Oddly enough, it really IS all about us, and not about them!
If we want someone else to change in order to improve our circumstances, no matter what "important and legitimate" justifications or excuses we give ourselves, we are playing the victim, giving up our power, and refusing to acknowledge the (often big and terrifying) changes that we need to make for ourselves to create greater freedom, success, and happiness. If we want our adult child to change, because we perceive that s/he is dysfunctional, unhappy, or unsuccessful, it is better to look inside at our own fear, insecurity, and need to be needed—or the guilt or pain we are carrying about them or their situation—and heal that.
All of our important relationships provide us with great opportunities to learn, empower ourselves, and heal, as long as we stay focused on changes that we need to make in ourselves, rather than projecting the need to change onto them. If we pay attention, the relationships that cause us the most discomfort and anxiety are the ones that will show us the aspects of ourselves that we don’t like or the ways that we are mistreating ourselves.
Our relationships always mirror something in ourselves, and it is not always easy to understand what those mirrors are showing us. But it is worth the effort to figure it out and heal whatever we find, getting whatever help we need to do that, rather than diverting our attention to what other people around us are doing, and projecting the need to heal and change onto them.
When we heal ourselves on the deepest levels, we are able to move into more unconditional love for ourselves and others. We are able to love ourselves enough to set and hold appropriate boundaries, take the difficult and courageous actions necessary to create more happiness and success in our lives, and yes, protect ourselves and walk away from all types of emotional, mental, and physical abuse, especially from those we love.
When we heal ourselves and love ourselves, we are able to empower and allow others to live their own lives, make their own mistakes, and follow their own path, no matter where it leads or how different it is from ours. As we truly love and respect ourselves and honor our own journey, we are able to love and respect others, and honor their journey, even when we can see that it may be a painful one, just as ours probably has been.
When we heal ourselves at the deepest levels, we can actually see how our painful journey—including all those people who rubbed us the wrong way, hurt and betrayed us, and worked our last nerve—was perfect exactly as it was, because it was all designed to lead us back, slowly but unerringly, to Ourselves, and Who We Really Are (whether we've completely gotten there yet, or not).
Often, those people who grate on us and irritate us the most are, in fact, serving as the sand in our oyster, to assist us in becoming the beautiful pearl that we were meant to be. And when we have made the difficult choices, taken the courageous actions, and healed ourselves enough to understand that—and be grateful—that is when we are truly free!
All content © 2014, E.B. Dye
|Last week, people in the United States celebrated the 4th of July, Independence Day. It's a great day for parades, picnics, and cookouts with family and friends.|
Amidst the flag-waving and patriotism in celebration of our country's birthday, I hope people took a few moments to think about the basic ideals on which the country was founded, and to consider whether we have, in the past 240 years, lived up to the promise—and actualized the potential—set forth by the Founding Fathers. Do we think the Founding Fathers—and all the people who put their lives on the line to create a new kind of government, country, and opportunity for people—are proud of what we've accomplished and how we have implemented their vision, or are they rolling in their graves?
Pluto is traveling through the sign of Capricorn (2008-2024), mirroring its placement in the sky in 1762-1778. That transit brought expansion of colonialism; the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution; and the American and French Revolutions!
The previous transit in 1516-1532 brought us Martin Luther and the Reformation, which changed the face of western religion forever. At the same time, Spanish invaders were sacking the Aztec, Inca, and Mayan empires.
Pluto moves through the heavens in a slow, elliptical orbit of 248 years, spending anywhere from 13 to 30 years in the individual signs. Pluto is powerful and relentless, bringing deep changes in individuals and in the world.
Pluto is the Lord of the Underworld, and he has a way of dredging up all the evils in the world and in our hearts. And as we look around, we cannot help but see those evils in living color, so to speak: we see escalating conflict and war; the rise and acceptance of torture; escalating greed and disproportionate wealth; the rise of plutocracy(!) and corporatocracy, as corporations are granted more rights than individuals; escalating violence against the Earth, herself, to claim more resources and more profits; continuing abuse of women and children; increased bullying and shootings in schools; the trashing of the oceans and extinction of species; and so much more.
As we ponder these timely and important issues, it is good to remember that great change can be, and often is, inspired and ignited by very few people! And, while none of us has to change the world, we each can do our bit to make it a better place for everyone!
We can look at our own actions and how we do or do not contribute to the "evils" that we see in the world. We can choose to more consciously and vigorously exercise our freedom of choice—which was dearly bought by our forefathers. We can choose, based on our own, individual conscience and beliefs, where and on what we spend our time, energy, and money. We can choose to speak out when we see bullying, injustice, or public policies that diminish or offend us. We can participate more in our children's education and recreation. And we can educate ourselves and participate in the government processes that affect us all. We have great power, but we must use it!
This 4th of July, I re-read the Declaration of Independence, and I was reminded that if we don't participate in maintaining the democracy that we want, it will be usurped and used against us. An inattentive citizenry becomes an oppressed citizenry. With Pluto we will see big changes; and each of us will affect what those changes are, through our attention and inattention, our actions and inactions!
And BTW —On Monday, July 14, best wishes to our French brothers and sisters as they celebrate Bastille Day!
|The Cosmos Finally Gives Us a Break!|
|The good news with current planetary transits is that the pressure we have all been feeling is letting up for awhile!|
Since the beginning of the year, all the personal planets—those that are closest to Earth and have the strongest impact on our daily lives—have taken turns going retrograde. Mercury was the last of them, and it went direct on July 1. Saturn, considered a personal planet by some, and a "transpersonal" planet by others, will go direct on July 20. With these last two direct movements, we will have a break from all that enforced review and introspection, and we can finally move forward with more clarity and ease.
We also get a lightening of the Uranus/Pluto Square and the associated Grand Cardinal Cross that have been plaguing us (and changing us!) for the last few years, and hammered us, er, gave us such energy in April! Those aspects are not through with us yet, but they have relaxed for a time, and we can, too!
Mars will finally leave Libra on July 25. It will be in Scorpio for the usual stay of six weeks, rather than the staggering eight months it stayed in Libra!
Venus moves into Cancer July 18, which is especially important for Taureans and Librans, who are ruled by her.
Jupiter moves into Leo on July 16. Check your chart to see where you can experience Jupiter's generosity and expansiveness.
|Enjoy these NDE Radio Shows!|
|MONDAY MORNINGS 11-11:30 am EDT(ongoing)—The NDE Radio Show of the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS), with host Lee Witting. Listen online to interviews with researchers and those who have had Near-Death Experiences (NDEs).|
Find out if there's an IANDS group near you! Local groups offer discussions about NDEs and support to those who have had one. Check it out on the IANDS website.
MONDAY NIGHTS 8-11 pm EDT (ongoing)—NDE Chat with host Rudi Rudenski on the online blogtalkradio Caribbean Radio Show. Listen to NDE stories, hear more about the Love of Home, and find out what people have learned about life from these extraordinary experiences.
Listen to recordings of shows where I've been the guest or host on my website!
|Here's what you'll find on my website, www.LionMagic.com:|
Information about my Intuitive Coaching and Reconnective Healing services, and Young Living Essential Oils.
My metaphysical fantasy novel, The Search for the Crystal Key, an adventure for all ages about believing in yourself and the power of love, based on information I received during my NDE.
Downloadable mp3s of my Journey Through the Tunnel presentation and guided meditation to go through the Tunnel of Light and feel the unconditional Love of Home.
The complete list of "What I Learned from Dying," and my articles in the December 2013 and 2014 “predictions” issues of The Sedona Journal of Emergence.
Videos and Recordings of presentations and radio interviews, with discussions about my NDE and the Shift.
|I am an Intuitive Coach, Public Speaker, Author, Reconnective Healing® practitioner, and a Practical Mystic. A Near-Death Experience (NDE) in 1985 expanded my psychic abilities and created a link with some very loving—and humorous— Guardians of humanity and the ancient wisdom, who gave me a huge amount of information about life and the evolution of mankind.|
I bring this knowledge and connection to my clients and audiences, along with over 30 years’ accumulated wisdom and understanding of metaphysics, life on earth, and Who We Really Are.
I am the author of the metaphysical fantasy novel, The Search for the Crystal Key—an adventure about believing in yourself and the power of Love; and I am currently writing a new book, Creating Heaven on Earth... One Soul at a Time; A How-To Manual from the Perspective of a Near-Death Experience.
Find out more: LionMagic.com.