Friday, October 7, 2011

We Can't Change Anyone--But Ourselves

One of the things that pushes people into the Pit of Illusion is that they spend so much time trying to change other people. They are constantly consumed with thoughts of “My husband shouldn’t do that,” or “My wife doesn’t do this right,” or “My children should be more. . .” You get the idea. Their whole thought process is based around the idea that if those close to them would change, they’d be happier.

But when we Live in Truth we realize that we can’t—absolutely can’t—change anyone but ourselves. We have no control over others. That’s the Truth. Therefore, when we live in Truth we don’t waste time and effort trying to “fix” everyone around us. Instead we examine our own lives and spend the time developing strategies to implement Truth in our lives and work out our own salvation.

There are so many benefits to doing this. First of all as we grow and change, it affects others. Personal relationships are interactive and if we change the way we act, people have to change how they react to us. If we don’t get upset when they push our buttons, they quit pushing because there is no reward. If we stop being negative and critical they stop being defensive.

But there is more! Our changing sets an example and as others see the happiness and joy we experience from Living in Truth, they want it. They begin to seek after the same joy and happiness.

But that’s not all! When we stop worry, vexing and fretting about what others are doing or not doing, we uncomplicated our lives and find peace. We can drop the worry, the vexation, the stress and use that energy to work on our own happiness. We can turn the problems over to the Lord. That doesn’t mean we forget others, but that we trust that God will guide them. Our part is to pray for, set the example, and when appropriate teach others, but we can control or change them. Realizing we don’t have to fix others is very liberating.


Anonymous said...

Michael Jackson made this idea mainstream back in the day with "Man in the Mirror." He said, "If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change."

I don't know if you've ever read the books by the Arbinger Institute but we love them in my family - Leadership and Self Deception, Bonds that Make us Free, and The Anatomy of Peace.

It seems simple but I think it's one of the underlying life challenges to grasp. But it's so worth it. I always say to my kids (and myself!) - the hardest things to do in life are the ones most worth doing!

Nice got me back on the wagon. :)

Joan Sowards said...

This is a great lesson to learn. Charity is accepting people at their level of spirituality or where they are in life. Turning them over to the Lord to influence and change takes faith--especially when you pray for them daily without seeing differences. Pray to change our own attitudes.