How to Change Other People

There is me and there is you. We are connected at our core, but there is a part of us that is separate. It is this separation that creates the vast diversity of our world and experiences. You do not think the same things that I do; this is free will. Free will is what we use to creatively live our lives.

What about situations where your free will conflicts with mine? Because we are the center of our own lives, many times we hope to change other people. We want him to be kinder. We want her to be more loving. And on and on…

Since this is an affirmation website, you may be thinking, “I will just do an affirmation to change him. ‘My boss, Bob, is kind and supportive.’” Unfortunately, this is not the way to change others. We have no power, or right, to change another person’s thoughts or will. That is their privilege for living their life.

To change other people, you must change yourself. It is the only thing we have power over.

Everything that we see outside of ourselves is a reflection of what is inside of us. Everything. The environment, the people, the economy, everything. Because we, as a collective whole, believe in lack, war, crime, sadness, joy, love, and compassion, we see these things jumbled into our world. If we did not have these qualities present within ourselves somewhere, we would not recognize them in our world.

The same goes for people separate from us. They reflect back to us our own beliefs and emotions. They reinforce the emotional makeup of our psyche.

If you want to change a mirror’s reflection, you must change what it is pointed toward.

How do we adjust the mirror?

  1. Identify the behavior you would like to change in the other person; clarify the reflection you want to change.

  2. Think about how the behavior makes you feel. When you look in the mirror, what emotions well up within you? Anger, sadness, fear?

  3. Identify beliefs and past experiences you have related to those emotions. Think of how the reflection could be reflecting something from your past, even your childhood. What beliefs did you inherit from those experiences? How is the reflection reinforcing those?

  4. Recognize that you are taking part in the reflection that you are seeing.

  5. Create an affirmation or affirmations that work to change the beliefs that reinforce the behavior you experience from the other person. Click here to learn more about writing affirmations.
Once you have adjusted your emotions and beliefs, you will find that the reflection in your environment will have adjusted to match your new inner reality. Within that there could be three possibilities regarding the specific person you intended to change:

  1. Their behavior will have adjusted based on your new beliefs and new reactions toward them. This will be the case if they were either ready to change on their own or if their behavior was a reaction to something you triggered in them that you no longer trigger.

    For instance, say a wife wants to change her husband. She does not feel that he expresses love enough. So, she looks within herself to dial up her beliefs about love. In doing that she becomes more loving and grateful toward her husband. He in turn reacts toward his wife with the love she was initially seeking.

    The above scenario can start as a vicious cycle. A wife responds with anger and hostility toward her husband because he is not loving. He is not loving because he does not feel love coming from his wife. Neither party is getting what they seek. Until, one spouse changes they way they believe and react toward the other. All of a sudden the loving beliefs and actions trigger a loving response.

  2. It could be that your internal change prompts the person you wanted to change to exit your life. If your beliefs supported behavior in someone else, when your beliefs change, the person will exit your life if they are not ready to change themselves. For example, say you have low self esteem and your boss reflects that back to you by being unsupportive and demeaning. If you improve your self esteem, you could find yourself or your boss in a new job to end your interactions.

    This is definitely an alternative that you will want to fully explore before you make your changes because you could find that a relationship needs to end to release you from your prior beliefs. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it just means that the free will of the person you wanted to change is not ready to release their behavior which is their right as a human being.

  3. Based on #2, if this person is of great value to you, you do have the choice to continue your relationship with them, but understand that their behavior is who they are. You can then work on how you react to and internalize your interactions with them.

    If you choose to continue a relationship that has not changed based on your changes, you might find that your internal changes adjust the way you feel about their actions.

    Their actions decrease in the power they previously had over you. You recognize their behavior as simply something they are dealing with and that it can be separate from who you are. The emotion that used to well up is gone. There is peace.

Click here to read affirmations about healthy relationships.

(Note that all of the affirmations are directed at the self.)

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