Why can't we - and shouldn't - change the attitudes of others?

Why can't we - and shouldn't - change the attitudes of others?

"If it were not so, everything would be better". "I sacrifice a lot and that's how it pays me back." "It makes me angry when he does that." The list of complaints about the attitudes of others is endless. Who knows, maybe you would like your parents to be more understanding, your partner more accurate, your friends more helpful, your colleagues more collaborative, your boss friendlier ...

When people don't behave according to your expectations, it's very frustrating. Undoubtedly, it's frustrating that they don't recognize what you do for them or that they don't reciprocate in the same way. But complaining about the attitudes of others, for everything they should do but don't do or for everything they do and shouldn't do, is the surest recipe for falling into permanent dissatisfaction.

The truth is, we all have aspects of our personality that we can improve on. We could all be more sympathetic, understanding, helpful, friendly, cooperative, or caring. However, we can only change ourselves. We cannot change others. And the sooner we understand it, the better.

"Evangelizers" with a self-centered prejudice

We tend to think that if others behaved like us, everything would be fine. This is obviously a mistake. The world needs diversity. Everything is a balance of opposites. And this means that there is room for everything and everyone. For what we like and what we don't like. For what makes us happy and for what makes us sad.

Indeed, thinking that others should behave like us is based on the belief that only our decisions, attitudes and values ​​are positive, commendable and worthy of imitation. So it is others who make mistakes and have to change. Thus we run the risk of becoming "evangelizers" who "preach well but scratch badly". We do not realize that in this way we condemn ourselves to failure in advance because we cannot change others if they do not commit themselves to change.

Parents, for example, can educate their children by transmitting certain values ​​and norms of behavior to them, but this does not mean that they can model them in their image and likeness, much less pretend that they are as they wish. Each person is independent and must make their own decisions independently.

This does not mean that we should suffer in toxic relationships or that we have to passively accept destructive criticism, insult or humiliation from others. Problems and conflicts arise in all relationships that need to be addressed and corrected to facilitate coexistence.

We don't have to hide what we think or ignore the things that are important to us. It is not a question of accepting abuse, but of understanding that our vision and our path are not the only ones possible. Therefore, we don't need to change others, we just need to change the type of relationship we have with them.

The difference is not merely terminological, but implies a new distribution of responsibility and "guilt" because it means that the other does not have something inherently bad or negative, but that certain behaviors and attitudes are not compatible with us and with the type of relationship that we want to keep.

If we can't change others, what can we do?

Trying to understand the behavior of the people around us, especially those in our trust circles, will be much more beneficial in the long run than complaining. To do this, we must stop trying to change others thinking we have the truth in hand and know the right path. We can instead:

1. Find out their triggers. We all have emotional triggers or triggers. These are red buttons that, when pressed, make us react viscerally. The people we relate to also have these triggers. Understanding what they are will help us improve the relationship. For example, perhaps the person has sensitive topics that it would be better not to touch or reacts badly when under pressure. It is about identifying what are the things he cannot bear in order to try to avoid them.

2. To deepen our reasons. A relationship is always a question of two. Therefore, we cannot just look out, blaming the other, we must redirect our attention to ourselves. Why does a certain attitude or behavior irritate you? As long as it is not a person who abuses us, our expectations, desires and experiences also shape the image we have of that person. Therefore, it is worth asking: why does it bother me? Was it really that serious or did I take it too seriously? We are likely to find that we are exaggerating or it is all due to the fact that they have not met our expectations.

3. Focus on what we want from the relationship. We cannot change the attitudes of others, but we can change the relationship we establish with them. It means that we should stop focusing on everything the other allegedly does wrong in order to focus on what is not working in the relationship. So instead of blaming that person for anything that doesn't work, we focus on what we consider unsatisfactory in the relationship and wonder how we can both improve it.

Finally, we must keep in mind that many times people do not intentionally hurt us. Everyone carries their own load of worries, anxieties, fears, insecurities and problems. We all make mistakes. We cannot change the attitudes of others, their ideas or influence their behaviors to adapt them to our needs or our way of seeing the world. Tolerance and flexibility are the keys to maintaining satisfying relationships and protecting our mental balance.

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