No matter where you are right now in your life, it is inevitable that you are constantly changing, growing, transforming. As rewarding as change can be in your life, one thing is for sure:
It is mostly uncomfortable and a little challenging.
But that’s just how it goes. And you come to learn and accept that as you go through life. The ebbs and flows are how life goes, and you can choose to get dragged under by the current, or face them head on and breathe deeply. It’s up to you.
What we have less control over are the people in our lives. In fact, once we can accept that we have NO control over them, we will start to find peace with those inhabiting our inner orbit.
You might be at a stage in your life where you’re becoming more self aware, tapping into the little heart spark that makes you come alive, chasing after big dreams (and running them down), or you might have just realised that it’s time to make some changes.
Often, the first place you look, when making those changes, are those around you.
Because you’re, like, so self aware and so killing it at personal development you start to see where your loved ones are falling short. They’re partying too much. They’re eating all the wrong things. They’re way too negative. They have a dead end job and aren’t meeting their potential. Their boyfriend is an asshat and they deserve better.
And so on.
But, oops, as far as you might have come – as much as you may have learned in the last two years, 6 months, 3 weeks, however long it has been, it can sometimes be a little too easy to start with the judging and start taking it out on those around you.
So, instead of putting on the self righteous hat, I have three solutions on how to handle the people in your life when you’re making big changes and they’re…not
1. Who are you letting influence you?
They say you are the average of the five people you spend the most amount of time with. If you’re starting to feel that it’s time to make some changes in your life, it might just be that it’s time to spend less time with your old drinking buddies and start looking for some positive reinforcements.
If you leave a night out with your so-called friends feeling horrible about yourself or find yourself in a conversation that feels heavy and negative, then it might feel right to you to create some distance between you and start spending time with people who make you feel positive and uplifted.
It can be hard to step away from people who have been in your life for a long time but it’s worth asking yourself if this relationship is holding you back or making you feel bad about yourself?
“You must constantly ask yourself these questions: Who am I around? What are they doing to me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most important, what do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay?” — Jim Rohn
2. Be the change you want to see
If you have friends, family, or other loved ones who you think could make some changes, it’s important to become a positive influence instead of getting on your soap box.
It isn’t your place to judge or force others to be exactly where you are right now.
If you’re learning amazing things about living healthy, or training better, or getting more out of life that is amazing! And, when we start learning new stuff, we get excited and want to teach or share with others.
I’m always talking about amazing books I’ve read or movies I’ve seen or things I’ve learned to anyone who will listen. I automatically think, wow that really meant something to me, I know others will love it too.
That’s not always true.
Sometimes it is but force feeding an inspirational book or course to someone you love will not make them appreciate you, even if it’s coming from a good place.
Be open. Be positive. Put what you’re learning into practise.
The best you can do for someone in your life is to give them space to do what they need to do. That’s when you give them the opportunity to be curious.
“The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.” – Paulo Coelho
They might tell you that you look amazing, and ask what you’ve been doing. Or they might see you kicking some major career goals and ask you what you did differently that they might be able to do too.
See the difference?
3. Look at what’s coming back to you
This one might be my favourite thing of all (although, it’s a little confronting, so be kind to yourself).
You know the saying, ‘like attracts like’?
What about this one:
“A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror.” – Ken Keys
It might seem harsh, but the things that frustrate us or trigger us in the people in our lives give us a chance to fly off the handle or avoid them altogether or they present us with an opportunity for more introspection.
If you find yourself getting frustrated with your best friend because she always wants to talk about her problems but never makes time for yours, or your boss for always talking down to you, or your mum for always telling you what you should do, take a look within.
:: Where are you taking on these traits?
:: Why is this being reflected back to you about your own beliefs or judgements?
:: How can you pay attention to what’s coming up and find peace within yourself?
So often the things we dislike in others are the things that we (usually subconsciously) see in ourselves. This could be a perfect way to change your own behaviour and, suddenly, you will stop feeling triggered by the behaviour of another.
Relationships are such a fundamental part of our lives that it’s no wonder they get messy or require an adjustment period every once in a while. Usually, though, it’s a reminder that we need to work out what we want or need and how we can learn and grow from it.
Can you apply any of these to a relationship that’s been feeling uncomfortable lately? If you need some more tips, check out this post, or leave a comment below and let me know what you think!
Great blog, Katherine.
Change is hard for anyone- first making it, and then living with it. Positive or negative, the terms are all the same. And often when we make a change, it can be hard to resist the urge to foist it on others.
I always remember what a wise counsellor once said to me- “have you really made a lasting change if you feel compelled to force others to follow you?”
Change is about letting go of the past – and past behaviours, past roles etc. If you’re really driving people towards what you’ve discovered, chances are you haven’t let go much at all.
In fact, when we’re the least confident in our life choices and who we are, we seem far more likely to want to convince others to follow our lead because their decision to join us affirms that we are indeed on the right track. Safety in numbers and peer validation all rolled into one. Hooray!
Or that we want people to understand us so desperately because we feel alienated by the changes we’ve made, we try too hard to convert others to our way of thinking before they are ready, or even if it’s not right for them. This leads of course to disappointment and further alienation.
Great peace comes from enjoying the feeling of who you are as a comfortable person within your own skin. Surely that’s enough until the curiosity kicks in?
That is such an excellent point as well, Bek. There is uncertainty that comes with making changes and the it’s as much accepting who you are as anything.