When someone desires a specific outcome, make sure that he or she is in control of it. If the desired outcome requires someone else to change, then the outcome itself needs to change.
Pretty simple, right? The problem is, wanting others to change is the most natural thing in the world. It seems like such a simple solution.
Stop doing that. I wish you paid more attention to me. You need to be on a better diet. Stop spending so much money!
If you want someone else to change, that’s fine. It’s OK to want that. It’s appropriate to even require it.
How you go about making it happen is a different story…
Remember, YOU are not in control of this outcome. Yet, you can influence the other person. Here’s the best way to do it.
Begin by giving up:
Fantasies. A lot of us harbor fantasies about what it would be like to have the perfect partner, the perfect child, the perfect boss, the perfect parents, and so on. Give it up. People are just people, imperfect and often incompatible. Desiring another to change in a specific way is one thing. Comparing what you’ve got with perfection…that’s another.
Nagging. It doesn’t work. You cannot control other people. In the end, nagging creates nothing but disrespect – and most of that will be directed at you. Nagging backfires.
Manipulation. Subtle bribes, hinting around, passive aggressive maneuvering and social pressuring doesn’t resolve important problems. Not in an effective, respectful and permanent manner, anyway.
Quiet desperation. You don’t need to suffer silently. There’s a lot you can do. Don’t victimize yourself. Most of your silent suffering is probably ignored, right? Silent suffering not any kind of solution.
Start actively doing the following:
Expressing your feelings. The other person probably needs a clear message about you.
When you ignore me, it hurts my feelings.
When you don’t take care of yourself, I feel sad and resentful.
When you overspend, I feel angry toward you.
When you leave a mess in the house, I feel hurt and taken advantage of.
Make your feelings clear.
Extend a choice. Once your feelings are out there, then the other person has a choice. Change or continue to hurt you. Are you comfortable allowing the other this choice?
So often, we’re afraid to let go and make ourselves vulnerable to potential pain, rejection and deprivation of our needs if the other person does not respond respectfully. It’s scary. And there is no other way to go about it. You deserve to know where you stand.
Make YOUR choice. Your loved one will either respect your feelings and communicate with you toward resolution of the issue…or not.
Case in point:
For seven years Jan put up with her husband’s out-of-control spending. She made the vast majority of family money by working 50-60 hour weeks. Her husband, a small business owner, contributed very little because he wasn’t prone to hard work. Yet, he spent money on golf clubs, motorcycles, clothes and toys for himself.
Jan’s constant nagging was met with indifference or false promises…for years.
Finally, Jan got clear and learned to express her feelings. She stopped nagging. She stopped complaining and feeling like a victim. She simply let her husband know how she felt, every time he overspent.
When her husband didn’t change after a couple of months, she began telling him how worried she was for his future. She didn’t believe he could make it on his own and even felt responsible for him.
After a few more months, when her feelings were so obvious and so disregarded, she left him. It was very painful for Jan. She had experienced more rejection, disrespect and emotional isolation than ever before in her life. And that was necessary in order for her to see the truth and move on.
Thankfully, not everyone is so callous as Jan’s husband. Many people, upon witnessing the pain they are causing, do change. It’s a wake up call, and many do wake up. We never really know, however, who will and who won’t get it. That’s the scary part. It takes a significant amount of self-respect, and a decision to make necessary corrections in your life.
Still, even scarier is a lifetime of frustration and unexpressed emotion because we are spending our time fantasizing, nagging, manipulating, and silently suffering. That would be self-sabotage at it’s finest.
If it’s time for you to deal with this or a similar issue, then I’d like to help by offering you a free, 30-minute coaching session over the phone or Skype. You’ll leave the session with new insight and motivation to create change. At the end of the session, I’ll ask if you’d like to hear about my one to one coaching program. If you do, great. We might work together! If you don’t – all is well.
To inquire, email me:firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask for the free thirty-minute session and let’s take a step forward.
Mike Bundrant is a retired psychotherapist, Master NLP trainer, and practicing life coach. He and his wife, Hope, founded iNLP Center in 2011. For information on coaching with Mike, please visit his coaching website AHA System.