Change

Expecting someone else to change is one of the biggest issues humans struggle with. Believing that someone else will change because of something you do or something you say or because of how you feel is one of the biggest causes of unhappiness with many people.

We believe that if we behave in certain ways the other people will be happier and will therefore change to give us what we think we need or want. If we serve all their needs then they must in return serve ours. If we allow them to treat us as doormats or even to abuse us emotionally, physically, or verbally and we do nothing, they will automatically read our minds and know what we need from them and give it to us. If we allow them time and space to work out their own issues at our expense, surely they will one day change because they love us. None of this is true. No one changes unless they want to change.

We think that if we give them everything, not just emotionally but materially. If we buy our kids or our partners everything they want, they will see how much we love them and will change. If we get married, then they will change. If we have children, then they will change. If we tell them how badly we feel, then they will change. If we do everything for them and nothing for ourselves, surely they will change. If we stay with them no matter how much we suffer, they will change. One day they will change. But they will not unless they want to. There is absolutely nothing that you can do to make someone else change anything about themselves at their core.

The other punishment we give to ourselves is that when we realize they are not going to change, ever, and we get angry because they are not changing. It’s almost as if we can’t believe after all we have done, sacrificed, given, they aren’t changing. As if we truly believed they would. And it’s because we do believe it, we convince ourselves that it is true. And when it doesn’t happen we get mad about it and we start pushing back. The other person, who never intended to change, then gets mad that we are pushing back and not continuing to give them everything they want. And this is where relationships go sideways. When the person who isn’t changing is confronted by a person who is finally tired that they are not changing things get messy. As long as you are going along like someone else wants you to, they have no reason to be upset with you. They are getting everything they want and you are giving it to them.

If you find yourself in a relationship, any relationship, where you have convinced yourself the other person will change, you need to start looking at yourself and not them. Looking at them is a waste of time – they are not changing. So that only leaves you. You have to change. And you have to realize that if you change they will change – but the change will only be in how they react to you. They will blame you for their being angry about you not doing everything the same way you have always done FOR them. They will be angry that you expect better for yourself and that you are doing it to hurt them or that you don’t love them. They will be angry in exactly the same way as a 2 year old is angry when you have a toy they want and you won’t give it to them. It is no different.

The truly hard part will come when you have to make a decision about the relationship. It is almost always going to be extremely difficult because the other person will be your parent, your child, your partner, your friend. They will be people you love. They will be people you share your life with. But the decision is either you change and you start managing your own happiness or you stay in the same place and quit wishing for them to change and be miserable. It’s just that simple and that difficult. If you choose yourself, you may be upset and sad for a while at losing that relationship, but eventually you will be happier with yourself.

Change or stay the same – the choice is yours – not someone else’s.

Until next time,
Deborah

I am currently accepting new clients (girls and women) for counseling. For a Free initial consultation call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com

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Free To Change

The only thing that prevents anyone from changing their lives and thoughts is fear. Fear is the most powerful emotion in the world, stronger than anger, stronger than love, it is fear that paralyzes us and keeps us from making change in our lives. There are three main reasons people fear from changing themselves – fear of the unknown, fear of losing control, fear of loss – and they prevent progress.

Because of this fear, most people try to change everything BUT themselves. They try to change how others act, think, and treat them. They try to change the past or future. They try to change everything that is outside their circle of control – which is everything outside of them. When in truth, the only thing anyone can ever change is inside their own bag of bones – nothing else. But that is so much harder and so much more fearful.

Fear of the unknown is present when people have become accustomed to the way things are.  No matter how bad, how repetitive the issues and thoughts, how miserable they are – what they know about how they feel and live is much less fearful than what they don’t know or what they fear may happen if they change.  How will they feel, how will they live their lives, who will they be if they don’t have the constant misery they current live with – the thing that has become their constant companion – their best friend.  Like an warm blanket, they cover themselves with the misery they know rather than letting go of fear and making changes to themselves.  They want to know what will happen, constantly anxious about the future. If they stay in the present misery they know what will happen – the same things that have happened for years.  People do not fear what they know.

Many people fear that change means losing control.  They have a false sense of control believing that they have some effect on other people, on situations, on the past or the future.  These are all lies we tell ourselves so that our actions can be justified and so that we can blame others for our misery.  Since we cannot control ourselves, our thoughts, our actions, our pain we must control others and we can see it as the only control we have.  It is all fake control, all a lie, there is NO control of anything outside of our own skin to believe otherwise is to lie to yourself and everyone else.

Many people who fear change also fear loss.  This may be the greatest block to change of the three.  We fear that if we change we will lose those we love and care about.  If we stop making bad choices for ourselves – drugs, drinking, sex – the people we do these things with will not want to be around us anymore.  If we refuse to let others treat us badly, to keep rehashing the past, holding guilt and blame over us – they will stop talking to us, cut us out of their lives.  If we change ourselves and build ourselves up, we may realize we should end relationships and we fear being alone.  We are too afraid of what others will do as a result of our change that we continue on the same as we always have regardless of how miserable we are.

The only thing we can change is what is inside our own skin – our emotions, our thoughts, our actions, our processing of the past and welcoming of the future.  The only way to make these changes is to let go of fear.  Fear is the enemy of change.  Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change themselves cannot change anything.

Until next time,

Deborah

I am now accepting new clients for counseling – adolescent girls and adult women.  If you think counseling can help you on the path to changing yourself call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com to set up a free initial consultation.