Have you ever tried to change someone? I have and it doesn’t work out very well. Usually what happens is that I decide my way is the best or only way (this should be my first hint that something is not going to work out well). Then, I try to convince them that they would be better off doing it my way. What I’m really trying to do is to change the other person. I’m not giving them the chance to think or feel or decide what would be best for them. Usually, it doesn’t work and that’s probably a good thing. Only in my mind is my way the “right” way. There are almost always multiple routes to the same destination. My life is so much smoother when I remember this.
In my life, I’ve been around people who have obviously needed a change in their life. Their job or home life was not letting them live up to their full potential. I could see this, so why can’t they? I’ve tried to push gently and not so gently to help them make a change. What I keep forgetting is that if the other person is not ready to change, then they won’t. They will stay where they are even if they are uncomfortable because a part of them wants to be there. When they are ready to change, then they will take the steps necessary to do so. They’ll find a different path to follow. When they do take that step to change, then if they want assistance I can give it. Until then, I have to keep reminding myself that I can’t change others.
I have to remember to honor the other person in the place that they are at that very moment. Life is hard enough to navigate without other people telling you what to do or how to be. I try to remember that I don’t want someone else directing my life. So, it’s nice when I can show those around me the same courtesy.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that if someone is not being safe then you don’t intervene. Sometimes that’s necessary and appropriate. What is does mean to me is that when I decide that my way is the only way, I’m forgetting that other people can think as well. Then, if I can just remember to step back for a moment and consider other points of view, I might decide another way is better. Of course I might still like my way better, but at least I’m giving those around me the chance to chart their own course in life.
While I can’t really change other people, what I can do is change my own outlook and reaction to other people. I can watch my own thoughts and actions. I can take a step back, take a breath and then consider if my actions are for me or for them. Essentially, trying to change others to my way is for me and not for the other person. I’m not helping them, but being selfish when I try to change them. If I really want to help, then I’ll practice listening more and not forcing more. I’ll pay attention to what it is that bothers me about their way of doing or being. This will lead me to better understand my own reactions. When this happens, I can change me. This is the only real change that I can do.
As a yoga therapist, I support others in their change by just listening to them and helping them to explore what and how change might work in their own lives. I don’t direct your change, but I do reflect it back to you so that you can see it clearer. I’ve learned so much about myself through this process of yoga therapy. I now try to use it in my daily life. I’m not perfect, but each day is a new day and I try again.
If you would like support, in your life changes call me at 864-558-5840 or email me at Becky@pbyogatherapy.com.
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