What happens if I don’t try to change anyone?
Wednesdays I like to focus on how I went about affecting change in my life by asking myself… What happens if I don’t do things the way I *usually* do them?
I’m doing something a little different today. My day job has been super busy (yay!) so I’m pressed for time. I *winged it* for the video but this is the original text, it’s close but not exact. So, feel free to read this now (or later) or watch the vid above if you’d rather or enjoy both and the reinforcement lol. Your choice, as always <3
What happens if I don’t try to change anyone?
I’m going to discuss learning to let go of the decisions other people make, responding less to their choices, giving up co-dependence, and no longer feeling saddled with the responsibility for their choices – or their outcomes.
In order to do that I have to cover a couple of key things. Knowing myself came first. I talked about this in other videos. When you know who you are, it’s easier to deal with judgment – which was the topic of last weeks Wednesday vid/post. If you missed it you can find it on the blog or my YouTube Channel – buttons below; or on the Positively Narcolepsy page on Facebook. Once you understand and have started applying knowing yourself, and having that make it easier to not accept the judgment of others, you can move along to radical acceptance and not trying to change anyone.
Yesterday’s dose was about radical acceptance. “Radical acceptance” means completely and totally accepting something from the depths of your soul, with your heart and your mind.
That something ropes in everyone. The you that you know and the others around you.
Once you learn how to not accept the judgment of others, you start judging others less. When I started being more gentle with myself… “I’m not doing this right now because I’m not up to it.” I was able to see that others get there also, even if they don’t have chronic illness.
Accepting others as they are clears your attic. You’re no longer the pinball bouncing off of the actions and decisions of others. It removes the opposition and you flow more.
You CAN accept someone as they are, and not try to change, them even if they do things you don’t like. Not only that you can still be close with them. No one is perfect. No one is *on* all the time. Everyone slips. This is not to say you have to be passive and accept every kind of BS someone sends your way. You always have the ability to control how you respond. What it means is, you have to evaluate the person on the whole in relation to what you wish they would change…
If someone is *perfect* (impossible but literary license lol) 90% of the time and 10% of the time they drive you crazy… that is a great ratio! lol You might not think so but, it is. How many people in your life have you met that were 10% ok and 90% a jerk? It matters! All the people in your past that you would never want in your life again have other people in their life now, probably some that ‘can’t live without them.’ Does that make you wrong? Nope. Does it mean there’s something wrong with you that they could have that with other people and not you? Nope. It just means that the two of you were not compatible enough to hit that 90/10 space.
If you have a 90/10 relationship, you can work with that, more later on that. Let’s think about the 10/90s or the 40/60s or the 50/50s. Keeping this as simple as possible I’ll use a Dan Savage analogy… the price of admission. If the price of admission is a dirty knife on the counter now and again, or socks on the floor and admission gets you a great person to spend your time with, it’s worth the price of admission. Everyone has to decide that for themselves.
Many of us have had friendships that felt one sided, or friends that we sort of lost our connection with and let go by the wayside. Those relationships are very expensive, to the soul. Once the tax gets too high, you can develop some really sad/bad feelings about these relationships. This can lead to thinking about changing people… If only they would _____ differently, then I would feel better about them.
So, we may try to “fix” them. To change them. But, it’s impossible to change someone else. You can try to inspire them to change, model the behavior you would rather they do, discuss it with them, but change has to come from them. If you aren’t careful, you can make yourself into a co-dependent by sticking around and enabling them to continue their bad behavior.
Sometimes you *can* cut out toxic relationships. For the entire length of my 15 year marriage I spent every day hoping that my ex would change. I won’t say he is toxic, even though he says I am, but our relationship definitely was. I won’t get into details but looking at things 7 years later… thinking about the way his life was before me, it’s easy now to see that he’s just the same guy he’s always been. Despite conversations, modeling, his promises, no change occurred. At some point you need to let go because living your life waiting for someone to change is a fools errand. We just weren’t compatible.
Sometimes you don’t want to cut them out completely but you want to create distance. For the length of my entire life my father was abrasive. Again, I won’t get into details but, nothing I could say/be or do would have changed him into a more caring person. It was who he was, and it was outside my control. So, I would still call him on holidays but controlled the way I responded to him because expectation is the root of all heartache. I just accepted that he was who he was, I didn’t judge him – he had a hard life, I didn’t oppose him – he’s entitled to his thoughts, I just accepted him exactly as he was and I was never surprised, hurt, etc by the things he chose to say/do.
Sometimes you can’t cut them out yet… This is where I lived with my ex for the last two years of our marriage. We both agreed we wanted out but with our life set up the way it was, the hardship would’ve been too great. Sometimes you get stuck like that. What’s good about it is that once I gave up I no longer felt the need to try to change him.
Sometimes you can’t ever cut them out – a family member you see at every function or whatever. This is where understanding is really helpful. There’s a lady at gatherings I go to, relation of a friend. I can see where the ideations she has come from but I do not agree with them at all. I tried to talk to her once about it and I could see it’s so ingrained in her that she would never even consider another way. So, now I avoid her or only engage in small talk.
“Everyone deserves the dignity of walking their own path.” Judith Orloff. You have to let people think what they want to think. You can’t change them, we established that, so living in a state of being where you constantly want them to change does nothing but frustrate you. Take up headspace and, most likely, brings on the symptoms.
You can let the opposition pass. Keep rolling along. When you can do that, often, the pain rolls along with it.
When you change the way you look at things the way you look at things changes. When I stopped looking at my dad as someone who was supposed to be more loving and supportive and started looking at him as someone who just never learned to be more loving and supportive, the way I looked at him changed. I just understood him. Understood that he’d been abused as a child, been in incredible physical and mental pain for most of his adult life, and that he never learned his way out of any of it. I saw him as just another meatsuit pilot.
Once I was able to do that, the pain went with it. All my old stories dissolved into distant memories and I was able to not feel like it was ME. It was never me. It’s never you. You can’t force someone to change just like you can’t force them to be nice, or more understanding, or less ignorant, or quieter, louder, taller, smarter, anything really. Trying to just frustrates you.
My current marriage is amazing. Definitely a 90/10. 90% of the time he’s absolutely perfect and 10% of the time he’s grumpy, he pees on the toilet seat sometimes, he’s very loud and noisy. I don’t expect those things to change but they are a small price to pay for cuddling several times a day, being with someone who says and shows that he loves me deeply, having a husband that cleans the house… I mean, c’mon, that’s huge lol. So, I never tried to change him, and through my love and acceptance he often finds his own way to not being grumpy, wiping the toilet seat and turning his volume down. Not always lol but often. I’ll take it as a win.
When you accept others, exactly as they are, others often accept you exactly as you are. Once you get some of that practice under your belt it gets a lot easier to do, and to accept. And, you no longer feel the need to change *just* to please others. Just like that Colbie Callait song… 🎶 you don’t have to try so hard 🎶
What happens when I don’t try to change anyone? It helps you find your way to understanding, radical acceptance, non-judgment, non-opposition and ultimately… peace.
What happens if you don’t try to change anyone?
Go find out!
Happy matters! Go and get you some!