You can not change anyone else

Yes, I know. Often times we would like to change our spouse, our friend, our father, our mother, or the whole f%$#ing world, for that matter. But I tell you, you can’t. Of course, you can give advice, you can yell at them, you can bicker, you can tell them, and they might change, but probably not, and never for ever.

Digital StillCameraFrom years of experience growing up with a frustrating mum, who often times was hysteric and paranoid, I know that trying to change someone else is futile. How do I know? Because I tried. I tried and I tried and I tried. But the pattern continued to be the same. She would get into one of her ‘states’, where I would get irritated and express that, whereupon she got her own negative self image confirmed, whereupon I got more irritated and frustrated and it always ended in a fight or tears. And it of course, never changed her.

This went on for years, until one day. That day I realized I could never change her. At least not that way. I didn’t quite realize at that moment that I was changing myself, but that’s what I did. I decided I would not fall into her ‘trap’ anymore. I would not get angry anymore and I would not yell at her anymore. I realized that we’d been ‘playing a play’ for all those years, where she played the ‘vulnerable’ mother with low self esteem, while I played the angry son, helping her confirming her own low self esteem.

So that day, I stopped. I stopped reacting to her ‘crazy talk’ and simply said ‘ok mother’ in a very friendly way. I didn’t yell, I didn’t get irritated or frustrated, I simply stopped all my usual reactions, and instead was neutral and said ‘okay’.

So, what happened? Well, her reaction to this was very surprising. She now got frustrated. She increased her frustration more and more, and was almost on to the point of being angry, yelling at me. Even though she wasn’t saying it in words, her ‘performance’ said “Why are you not reacting to me, my son!?! Here I am doing my usual ‘scene’, and you just sit there!”. This went on for 2-3 weeks until it gradually stopped, and she changed. Yes, she changed!

Of all my years trying to change her, being irritated and frustrated, the moment I changed myself, or rather, my reaction to her, she changed. She ceased being so paranoid and her self esteem rised, and all I had done was to stop reacting to her and being positive instead. And this I have seen repeatedly all through my life. Don’t try to change others, but change yourself, and your world will change.

It turns out that we are all playing different ‘roles’ in the ‘play of life’. And we play them until the day we wake up to see that it is only a play. Of course, then we can continue to play, but if breaking patterns is what we want, we might at least change the play a tad. And, when playing conscious, we tend to play different games than the ones we used to play unconscious. We tend to quit all the things we didn’t look upon as ‘nice’, and start focussing on what we like instead. But then again, what we like might also change after we start ‘playing conscious’. We might like other things than what we liked before.

When we accept the world as it is, and not only accept it, but love it and cherish it, it will blossom for us. Because the reality comes from us. It is not really ‘out there’ to begin with, it is ‘in here’. This is why the only way to change the ‘outer reality’ is to change the ‘inner reality’ first.

Accepting the world as it is is a form of meditation. Becoming aware of different mechanisms in your world is meditation. Everything that brings you closer to you is meditation. And this doesn’t stop here. Becoming conscious of the ‘game’ is one step on the ladder, there are many more….

One comment on “You can not change anyone else
  1. I have always used mindfulness to become part of
    the moment of doing something and fully engaging.
    For instance, when drinking tea or coffee, fully
    become aware of all aspects of the preparation,
    pouring, and drinking without thinking of
    something else. Just be present, its a great
    exercise and then return to the breath when
    needed.

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