Changing People

August 11, 2011

Guess what? It doesn’t work.

Years ago, I loved this play, “I love you. Your Perfect. Now Change.” Why do we do that to ourselves and others? I always tell students and clients, “Know the cards you are holding, always know who is sitting across from you and never expect them to be other than who they are.”  We get caught up in our notions of who we think people should be or how it is we would like them to be. Trying to change people only frustrates yourself and those who you are trying to convert. It’s unfair and very deconstructive.

Here’s the deal… you are always in control of your life, your perceptions and your reactions but you are NOT in control of other’s perceptions or reactions. That’s a fact. Everyone in your life is a gift to you – a lesson teaching you something about yourself. I always say, “you only know who you are in life, when you know who you are NOT.” Having conflict with others is actually a good thing… it teaches us who we are and how we want to show up in life.

Know that it is important to express yourself and to make yourself feel as if you are understood to whomever you are dealing with – clients, colleagues, bosses, significant others, friends, family, etc… But also know that you cannot control the outcome. And that has to be OK. You can only do the best you can do in terms of communicating yourself and doing so kindly, concisely and compassionately. Once you do that, your work is done. Unfortunately though, you have no control over how others may “understand” you. You have to be willing to express yourself and “walk away” and not need them to understand you or feel validated by them. Our problem as humans is that we tend to stay and try to “convince” others that we are right or that we have reason to feel the way we do and we get frustrated when they do not hear us. Newsflash: you do not need to change people, you only need to realize that some people are just incapable of hearing and understanding you. Grasping this simple concept can make all the difference in the world and save you from much frustration.

Once you let go of the notion that people have to be “other than who they are,” you will never again be disappointed by their behavior and will never again feel the need to be understood by them. You will be better suited to walk away from them when conflict arises.

Read more inspiration in Donnalynn’s new Book, “Life Lessons,” click here.

If you would like more information on Emotional Wellbeing and Life Coaching Sessions with Donnalynnclick here.

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Written by Donnalynn Civello

1 Comment
  • claire, August 12, 2011 Reply

    It's sooooo true. And a timely reminder in the midst of going through a difficult patch with a family member to just let go. Stop resisting how and who they are and instead take greater care of how I am conducting myself

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