I’ve attempted to change someone for years.
I know how tiring it is, having relentlessly tried ways and means to make him believe in my goodwill. I’ve tried umpteen times to convince and persuade him to heed my advice for his benefit.
Through all of that, I wondered if my advice actually did him any good. Did my gestures help? Apparently not! Because nothing changed. What I wanted did not happen.
Maybe, like me, you’ve tried to change someone before. You may have seen the fault in their words and actions. Or you may have had a clear eye of their weaknesses and knew that pride had blinded them to the truth.
CHECK YOUR MOTIVATIONS
As my efforts to change people were not getting visible results, I began to question my motives in wanting them to change.
I realised that I wanted to change someone so that I would be at an advantage. I had put my hopes on how easy life would be if that person wasn’t behaving so strangely.
But real change starts from within, when a person searches his own heart and decides he wants to become better. So trying to change someone else is futile if we don’t try and understand how the other person thinks.
Embrace the fact that others will never be like you. We were each created to be different and unique, which means we don’t think alike. We need to put ourselves in their shoes.
EVALUATE WHEN’S THE BEST TIME TO BROACH THE SUBJECT
It also helps to know their mood. Never be too quick to correct someone who’s in an unpleasant mood.
If someone’s in a foul mood, it’s hard for them to think rationally, so even well-meaning advice might come across as you being against them rather than for them.
If you want your words to be taken seriously, find the right time. When they’re tired, they won’t be paying attention. And if they cannot focus on what you are saying to them, chances are your words will be forgotten.
So speak words of love that benefit the person when he’s in the right frame of mind to receive feedback, so that what you say will be well received and considered.
DON’T FORGET TO LOVE
The greatest commandment is to love God with all we have, and to love others as ourselves.
Even though we can find good opportunities to speak into the lives of those we care for, one thing that we must do well to truly change someone – is to love.
Accept that they may never change in our lifetime, but know that you’re planting a seed in their heart that will one day bear fruit.
Be patient and hopeful in all circumstances as you do this, and you will see how this shifts the focus of your energy in changing someone to becoming more thoughtful of others.
As we learn to put ourselves in the shoes of others, we will grow in empathy, sensitivity, selflessness and our ability to understand people. Becoming a better version of yourself first will not only open doors for people to change their behaviour, but also bring greater joy to your life.
Remember, don’t be fixated on wanting to change somebody because the outcome isn’t in our hands. With all this in mind, I’m going to continue loving the people around me as much as I can. What steps will you take to change someone?
This article was first published on Stella’s blog and is republished with permission.