How can you make someone change? You can’t. Honestly, you can’t. But there is something you can do.
You know that feeling when someone you love keeps telling you to act different, be different? Spend your money differently, show up at work differently, show up in bed differently? You know how annoying that is? How you just want to smack them?
You wonder where they get off thinking that not only do they get total control over their own life, but now they think they get control over yours too? No way buddy. You get your life, I get mine.
Well they think this same way about you, so if you won’t change for them, they’re not going to change for you either.
There’s actually a way to make some movement on this.
The only powerful and effective way to help someone to change or behave differently around you is for you to begin feeling or behaving differently around them. The power is all in your hands. You need to give them something different inside you for them to react or respond to. And how they react or respond is completely up to them, of course.
Look at it like this: You’re both playing monopoly, then one day you show up and start playing scrabble. The other person can keep rolling dice but you changed the game. They can’t interact with you the same way they did before because you are different. You aren’t giving them the same predictable responses.
You change first, and that forces the other person to respond differently. You have, in a very sly way, caused them to change.
Not don’t get too excited by this method. For one, it relies 100% on you to stay in your personal power. It means if you aren‘t getting your needs met right now, you begin to do and say things that will help you get your needs met. If the other person doesn’t want to help you, then…goodbye. In essence, you’re giving them an offer that they can accept or refuse.
Play this out in an imaginary scene: Your romantic partner makes you feel insecure since they never text or tell you where they are or what they’re up to. Your last partner cheated so you’re still kinda raw.
Your first strategy was to beg them to call you and text you. They don’t. They are who they are.
The next strategy is to give them a taste of their own medicine. So you go out and don’t text or call. And they seem okay with that. It doesn’t fix your insecurity though. You think, “Only they can fix it for me by changing their behavior with me.”
The last course of action is to look into your own sense of insecurity and recognize that it’s a power losing situation if it can only ever be solved in you by relying on someone else’s actions to make you feel the way you want to feel. In other words, you can only feel good if your partner makes you feel that way.
One choice is to leave your partner. You open your heart instead to someone who naturally wants to check in with you. You find someone who’s on the same page as you about the frequency of reassurance you both give one another.
Another choice is to heal your past betrayal internally. You recognize that your current partner is here to help you with that by constantly triggering you to relive the betrayal every time you don’t get a text from them. Or, you recognize that your current partner is doing the exact same things as your previous partner, and is here to show you how to wake up to their insensitivity or infidelity.
It’s all on you, babe. This is yours to change your response to. Leave it or heal it.
See your partner as a willing subject here to help you…just maybe not the way you think they should.
I know it sounds so callous. But this is about power. Your inner power, and how you give it away to other people when you’re saying they have to make you feel how you want to feel.
What a huge burden to put on someone day in and day out. Because, you know in your heart that the best relationships are ones where our partner naturally elicits feelings in us that we want to feel. You’re both in sync and offering each other behavior that creates mutual happiness. No one is begging or forcing the other one to change in order to reach those feelings.
So what will it be? There’s probably someone in your life right now who you’ve been trying to wring some behaviors out of so you can feel peaceful, loved or whole. Is it Dad? Mom? Your child? Your best friend? A partner?
Step back. What they’re giving you instead right now is exactly what you need to in order to learn to reclaim your power. That is the big goal.
And yes, your expectations for the relationship may crumble and fall. You may grieve. You may feel abandoned or lost. Unloved, even. But it is what it is, and only when you see it can you start traveling forward again in your relationship.
Once you take back your power, you’ll begin to see this other person so differently. You’ll see where they too were damaged or in pain. Where they haven’t healed. How they express love or have trouble expressing it.
You’ll see them for who they are instead of who you need them to be.
Powerful, powerful stuff. They’re the magic in our lives— these relationships. Each is a catalyst. A beacon.
You are a catalyst, and a beacon too. We each play a villain to help others grow and heal. And they do it for us.
So, ready to take your power back? Because that is how you help someone to change.
* * *
This is an essay from my forthcoming book. I’d love to know your feedback. Help me perfect this! Please leave a comment below!