Are you into changing your partner (or the other people in your life)?
Most of us are… even when we aren’t aware we’re trying to change them.
When couples get together, they seem to see the best in each other but after awhile, they start trying to change one another.
Some of the strategies that people try to employ to get their partner to change will run the gamut from complaining, blaming, anger, withholding, guilt or guilt trips, trying to pit other friends or family members against them or trying to get other people to be on their side and be against the other person so they will see the evil of their ways.
Usually what happens is there’s a one-upmanship going on with one person thinking they have the “superior” way of being and the other person is wrong and needs to change.
They think the other person has to change for them to be happy.
Thoughts may range from…
“I’ll be happy when _______”
“If only he’d stop doing this, we’d be okay.”
“If only she’d start doing this, we’d have a good marriage.”
With that in mind, here are our A, B, C’s of changing your partner…
A is for “Always Comes Around and Backfires on You”
Whatever style you adopt to try to change your partner, it will stimulate some response from him or her that you won’t like.
Your partner will lash out and get defensive or will withdraw from you.
He or she may try to do what you want to please you but somehow the attempts usually end up wrong and not enough.
Your partner may even agree (or you think he or she agrees) and may actually do what you want a few times but then reverts back to previous behavior.
Even if their anger about “not being good enough” for you isn’t apparent, it may smolder underneath, coming out at times when you least expect it.
B is for “Bad Idea”
Focusing on changing your partner is fundamentally a really bad idea.
When you are so focused on changing your partner, you lose sight of your own life.
When you think you life will be better if that other person acts a certain way, you are totally bypassing the truth that we create our experience from the inside out.
If you see the other person as lacking and focus attention on what’s wrong, it will only get bigger.
That’s not to say to turn a blind eye to what’s going on around you but it is to say that focusing your attention on changing someone else to the way you think they should be is not honoring who they are.
C is for “Change Comes from Within”
If you really want your partner to change, if you really want him or her to be different…
Then the change has to come from within the partner and the change has to come from a place where they start to see something totally new.
It will happen when they start to see that if they change, it’s going to mean something is going to be better for them.
Not for you…but for them.
Changing your partner only happens when he or she sees something new for themselves in their own time and in their own way…
In other words, when the person who you’ve been wanting to change for a long time wakes up one day and they suddenly see that their way of seeing the world isn’t working for them.
It might be something really small that an outside observer may not even notice or it might be something big.
One thing to always understand is that change is always happening. Always.
The only question is are you aware of the changes that are happening within you, within them and within the relationship.
Most of the time we aren’t aware of small and large changes that are going on underneath the surface of that other person but they are there.
Want to encourage changes without trying to direct them?
Acknowledge when you see something different–whether it’s in yourself or in your partner.
Maybe it’s when you stop yourself when you are tempted to correct your partner in a certain way that in the past has always led to an argument.
Maybe it’s when your partner is kind in a certain way or you feel a connection with him or her that you haven’t felt in awhile.
Maybe it’s when the two of you have an unexpected moment of closeness.
Change is always happening and it’s up to us to embrace it and not presume to know what’s best for others.