How Do You “Change” Someone Who Doesn’t Want To Change?
I was working with a couple the other day and I wanted to share what happened because my role in this blog is to share “teachable moments” from which we can all benefit.
I can almost guarantee that if you read this with an open mind without judging, you’ll probably realize you’ve done this in some form in the past also….and definitely seen it play out also. That’s because we all get into what we call “un-resourceful states” and from that place, we tend to stay stuck.
Here’s What Happened
As I was sharing some techniques for how to communicate your needs to your relationship partner (or anyone else!) in a very effective, non-threatening way, this woman jumped to her feet, towering over her seated husband, crossed her arms over her heart and announced:
“I’ve tried everything…whining, pleading, crying…nothing works…I’m not going to change now. That’s just who I am.”
Obviously, you can imagine how her husband felt. He had just been publicly emasculated in front of a room full of people. With her body language and the look on his face, the pain was unmistakable. And unnecessary also. Here’s why:
How to get out of your own way
There is a huge difference between who you’ve been in the past and WHO YOU ARE at your core. Remember; the past does not dictate the future and your actions do not dictate your identity…although, on occasion, they do reveal who you’ve become. Identity is the strongest force in the human personality because we are compelled internally to be congruent with who we believe we are…and when we don’t act in alignment with those beliefs, we experience pain.
Accessing new possibilities
You’ve probably heard that doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result is the very definition of insanity. So whether you’re the one who needs to change your own behavior or the one who wants someone else to change…both of you need to break the behavior loop that keeps you stuck. Think of it as adopting a little “operational flexibility.” The truth is you will never in this lifetime change someone who doesn’t want to change – but I can tell you this: when you change how you show up…other people will automatically “shift.”
Changing vs “Adapting”
Any time ego gets in the way, there is tremendous resistance to change – even though change itself is the only constant in the universe. When you dig underneath that resistance, it’s really nothing more than fear and uncertainty about what that change looks like. The great news is – as a coach, I don’t feel the need to change anyone…but I have had A LOT of clients who chose to adapt when they were presented with a much better offer that met their needs. So…what’s one area where you might be able to adapt and use a little “operational flexibility” to get much better results? Feel free to write and share if you wish. Obviously, that will be just between us unless you want to let me anonymously use your story to help others. That choice, like many others, is absolutely yours.