Trying to change something we cannot control  will make you feel like a failure.

I had a client who had to learn to tell himself this.  He was trying to get his girlfriend to change her thoughts, her behaviors, and her feelings toward him.  They were having a lot of arguments because she would accuse him of things he didn’t do or didn’t think, and so would be mad at him.  He would try to convince her that she was wrong and would try to get her to not be mad at him.  He finally had to realize that he was driving himself crazy trying to manage her thoughts and feelings.  He was acting in ways he did not like, and he was not acting according to his values.  All because he was preoccupied with trying to change her.

We cannot change other people, we can only change ourselves.  It is something that we know in our head, but our behavior suggests that we do not yet believe this in our heart.  One example is that we argue with people.  Any argument is a power struggle, an attempt to change someone else’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.  And this is impossible to do.  Trying to change something we cannot control (like someone else) will leave us exhausted, frustrated, and feeling like a failure.

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