Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Changing Others

We can find all kinds of books and information on how to influence people and about relationships. Most follow the illusion that we have the ability to change others. Simply not true.

Yes we can stop or modify someone else's behaviour when we have power over them as a boss, parent, or represent an organization that has the power to penalize us such as courts or police.

But that is really an outward appearance of compliance to avoid penalties we don't want applied to us.  But think to our own lives and ask whether that actually changed us or not.

The only person that can change us is ourselves. People enter into relationships with the idea that they can change the other person's faults through the power of the relationship and then wonder why it didn't work.

We can save ourselves a lot of anguish and pain if we learn that we have to accept others just as they are. Perhaps through our example they will see other ways of living that may or may not try.

But the bottom line is that only they can decide to change.

Your thoughts?

Technorati tags: ,

7 conversations:

Brad K. said...

We both do and do not change others.

Those around us are affected by our habits, our beliefs, our character. We encourage, by example, others to be more like us. Just as we adapt to the people we associate with, family, friends, coworkers, community members.

But change is chaotic. We can cause change to occur, but we cannot assure what the change will be - that is mostly determined by who is changing, what their experiences and perceptions are at the time. Causing a change changes us, which changes what our victim, er, friend, will experience. Which affects what the change will turn out to be.

Of course we change others. Or political campaigns would consist of a printing of ideas and concerns. Marketing would consist entirely of letting us know what is available. And we would never see trash magazines and candy next to the checkout counter - promoting 'impulse' items ("Oh, I hadn't thought of buying that, but since it is here it looks pretty good.") We change others all the time.

The problem with correcting other people's faults is that we don't understand their experience or their perceptions, in sufficient detail, and we are inexperienced in correcting faults. We blunder at doing what we want, and usually cause resentment instead of benefit.

If what we want is a benefit to the recipient of our charms.

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

I agree. Even trying to change something about ourselves is tough. We can alter behavior in others, but we can't change their spots. Well done as always Peter. Have a great day. :)

Peter Haslam said...

Good add to the conversation Brad K thank you

Peter Haslam said...

Thanks sandee cleo sends a purr your way :)

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

Scritches to Cleo too. Thanks. :)

erp said...

actually we can change the person but we can help them to remind them and help them.

Inventory Management said...

If you absolutely must change someone, try to work on their motivations and not their behaviors.