My husband has a bad habit. He likes to make lists of tasks that he feels I need to accomplish. As you might imagine, this doesn’t go over very well with me. You know why? I don’t like to be told what to do. I’m going to guess that most people don’t like being told what to do or what needs to be changed in their own lives. If you’re anything like me, you get defensive when you hear someone else trying to change you. Automatically, you don’t want to change just because it’s not YOUR idea. It doesn’t matter if it’s a good idea or not, you just dig in your heels and tune out the other person.
I was listening to two sales clerks have a conversation in the store the other day. One woman had a desperate need to change her boyfriend’s behavior. He was unemployed, gaining weight, drinking way too much and wasn’t working very hard to find another job. My girlfriend was working two jobs to support both of them. She wanted him to seek professional help but he refused. Apparently, they spent most or all of their time fighting over his lack of initiative to change his life. It’s not surprising to find out that he didn’t feel there was a problem with his current lifestyle. She shared that she had tried everything to change him but nothing was working. This situation had worsened over the last two years and she wondered how she could change his behavior.
My girlfriend is stuck in a losing battle if she thinks she can change her boyfriend. She can’t just demand that he change his life— he will change when he is ready to change! However, what she can do is stop enabling him. What she can do is control her own world. So what does she have control over? Let’s see, she can stop trying to make things better by working two jobs to compensate for his lack of ambition. She can go get professional help and figure out why she’s trying so hard to change him when she’s the one that continues to stay in this bad situation. She can work on becoming an emotionally healthy and happy woman with her own goals in life. She, girlfriends, is the one that needs to change.
Every day, I meet women that believe they can change other people. They not only believe that they can change them, but they believe that it is their duty in life to change and enhance the lives of others. Sometimes they just try to fix the men they love but often this extends out to their family and friends. These women spend numerous hours being worried, frustrated and stressed because of their involvement in other’s “change” that just isn’t happening.
Girlfriend, stop and take a good look in the mirror right now. Does this behavior sound familiar? Does it hit home with you? Are you exerting a lot of energy trying to control and change other’s worlds? If so, now is the time for change, but the change needs to transpire within YOU. Have a talk with YOU and make a pact to back off of others and let them navigate their own lives. You will be taking a huge step forward to living a happy, healthy life.