Change Yourself, Not Them
Then they can take pride in themselves alone,
without comparing themselves to someone else,
for each one should carry their own load.
Galatians 6:4-5 (NIV)
Is it hard for you to believe that your life and relationships can be better if you only change yourself? Is it because you think the solution lies in changing the other person? Do you dwell on this thought? “If only he/she would ___________, life would be better.” Holding onto that belief drives you to spend time and energy on your difficult person. Whether it is praying, wishing, nagging, lecturing, explaining, begging, threatening, controlling, or manipulating, how much of your life energy is going toward the hope that the other person will become different?
The good news is that you can change yourself and regain power over your own life by doing the following things:
- Accept that you are truly powerless to make the other person change.
- Stop obsessing about the other person’s choices.
- Adjust your expectations so they are reasonable.
- Understand how your past contributes to the way you act and react.
- Handle your emotions differently.
- Take responsibility for your choices.
- Check your motives.
The truth is that you are powerless to make anyone else do anything. Powerless means “without power.” No power at all. You can’t force anyone to change any more than you can prevent the sun from rising or stand at the seashore and command the waves to stop. If you truly cannot make someone else do what you want, why waste your life trying? The energy you are putting into someone else would be better spent on changing yourself.
God’s Word tells us clearly that each of us is responsible for ourselves and that we will all appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of our lives (Romans 14:12). If you have to give an account of your life, it is important that you live the way you know you should. Sounds simple, but when you are in a difficult relationship, it isn’t necessarily easy!
When you learn how to take the focus off the other person, it will change the way you act in your difficult relationship, and that will change the dynamic—even if the other person doesn’t change at all.
You don’t have power over other people, but you do have power over yourself. This Relationship-Changing Principle will show you how to do the things you need to do to change yourself, not them. It is the only way you can guarantee change. Learn how you can apply this Christian relationship help to your difficult relationship today.