Question #1 to STOP Asking Yourself: How can I make so and so do such and such?
I never learn anything talking. I only learn things when I ask questions. Lou Holtz
One of the most common misconceptions we have as humans is thinking we can change other people. We somehow believe that through punishment, force, reward, or just plain strength of will, we can make them change.
We see this all the time: Women attempt to change boyfriends and husbands, parents try to change their kids, and coworkers try to change each other. But somehow even if we achieve short term success, it’s never long-lasting. Ask any parent who’s tried to force a baby to eat strained peas. Even if you get them into the mouth, they’re coming right back out again.
And that’s why we need to put a cease and desist order on this particular question:
How can I make so and so do such and such?
The simple answer is, you can’t. Maturity — and happiness — come when we realize that the only person we can truly change is ourselves. And when we start focusing our efforts there, things just seem to naturally adjust.
Harriet Lerner, a respected psychologist, has written a series of books on relationships. Her premise is that relationships are dances of sorts, and just as in a mambo or a waltz, if one partner changes how he or she is moving, the other has to adjust. The key to creating a change in the relationship, then, is to look at your own behaviors and actions and change them.
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