When I was younger and knew everything, I was pretty sure I could change everybody’s minds by arguing with them using things like logic.
When I was a little less young and naive, but still knew just about everything, I thought I could still kind of control people’s beliefs and actions by appealing to their feelings and emotions about things.
And now that I’m a little older and hopefully even a little bit less naive than before, I’ve learned that you really can’t make other people agree with you.
You can’t. They might, but you can’t.
You’d be surprised how many times I’ve had to relearn this lesson.
I want to share with you five things I’ve realized as I’ve come to terms with my inability to control what others think, feel, and choose:
1. It’s a good thing I can’t control what others think or do–because I feel like every few days I realize that something I thought I knew was totally wrong.
2. The task of changing and controlling people is exhausting and frustrating anyway. It’s so much nicer to not have to do that.
3. You may as well just accept where people are, understand them, love them, and make the best of it. Loving and getting along is easier after you realize you can’t control others. People are amazing if you love them for who they are.
4. If there is a thing you can’t healthily accept into your life about somebody, that is okay. You cannot change them, and it will only get worse if you try. But you can set boundaries, little or big.
5. If you would still love for someone to make a change, for their sake or yours, be the change you would like to see. Be the proof, the hope they might need, that they’d be okay and safe if they end up changing. And then if they decide they want to make a change, they’ll know they can look to you for help and encouragement.
Hope this helps!
“No one can persuade another to change. Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside. We cannot open the gate of another, either by argument or by emotional appeal.” – Marilyn Ferguson