You Can Only Change Yourself

But That Will Change How Others Respond To You

Introspection & ChangeEveryone knows the adage “You can’t change others” or “You can’t learn lessons for others” when dealing with negative situations. Those wise old sayings come from centuries of experience passed down from one generation to the next. But it seems in our desire to be helpful and show compassion we have to be reminded of their message constantly. If you continue the same patterns of response, you are allowing others to control your emotions and direct your path. They don’t have to change you, because they have the ability to manipulate you through their own actions and your consistent patterns of response. They already know how you’re going to react, because you’ve done it so many times before. In doing so, you become an enabler and through your own actions, you promote the negative behavior you want changed in the first place.

This can occur in any type of relationship. It’s more often associated with relationships that are impacted by addiction. But it can also occur in work situations with a boss, or co-worker.

An enabler is a person who takes on the worries and concerns of another person that they should be taking on for themselves. If you work with someone who is constantly blowing their top at everyone around them, they should be the one concerned for being fired. But if you are the one taking on that fear in response to their negative behavior, you are enabling their actions. Yes in this time of economic stress people feel they must put up with a variety of bad behaviors in order to keep their employment. But when those behaviors cause fear, worry and begin to affect your health and mental state, it’s time to ask yourself if it’s worth it? Some people put their family ahead of their own well-being and while I can certainly understand that perspective, there is a point when situations become to destructive to continue.

What are the signs of enabling?
· If you believe you can maintain a healthy relationship by avoiding conflict and nurturing dependency
· Despite your help, others seem to have more problems than you initially believed
· If you begin doing things for others, that they should be doing themselves
· If you have fear of harm (physical or mental) because you did not meet their needs
· If you give up personal commitments for others
· If you make excuses and lie for others
· If you have a low self-esteem or allow others to belittle your value
· If you have a need to please
· If you provide money or favors to make situations ok
· If you feel you can’t say no even to unreasonable requests
· If you feel over protective of the person or the situation
· If special or secretive relationships are formed
· If you feel you can handle situation better than anyone else, feeling that you have things under control
· If you have been told that you are “too close” to a controlling friend or co-worker
· If your time is consumed with worry

The short description of co-dependency is an addiction to being needed. Often this can also be associated with a need for outside validation and approval from others.

What are the signs of Co-dependence?
· Do you help others before helping yourself?

· After helping someone, do you ever feel depressed, confused, tired or ill?
· Do others have to avoid you, or yell at you in order for you to not help them?
· Do you feel rejected, hurt or offended when someone tells you they don’t need your help?
· Do you measure your self-esteem by how much others depend on you?
· Do you find that mostly people who need you surround you?
· Do you ever find yourself making excuses for the needy people in your life?
· Do you avoid confronting people who treat you badly?
· Do you ever remind people where they would be without you?
· Have you spied on, read notes, emails or checked others bank accounts without their permission?
· If an individual asked you for money to help with their expenses, would you give them the money?
· Do you offer help or advice when someone shares something personal with you? Especially when they don’t ask for your help?

Making Personal Change
In any situation where conflict thrives it can be hard to resolve issues when only one side wants to make change. But the first step to making change is admitting to the self that there’s a problem to begin with. The second step is admitting the problem is within you. You cannot force others to change or act the way you think you should. But you can look at your patterns of reaction and observe where your issues are feeding the problem or keeping you embroiled in the problem. Are you afraid of losing your job? Are you worried you will lose your own self-worth? Are you worried about being left alone and unneeded?

Quotes By Springwolf 🐾 © 1994

How you perceive yourself is more important than how others look at you. But you have to start by being honest with yourself and your own behavior. The first step is acknowledging there’s a problem. And that can be the biggest hurdle to overcome. Once you’ve accomplished that, everything else is easy.

There are many options to taking the next step. Therapy, introspection, consciously working to change negative patterns and behaviors all make a step toward healing and changing. But it is a conscious effort and one that must be adhered to in order to break old patterns. Every person is different and responds to differently to the process of change. Professional therapy maybe your preferred avenue. Spiritual counseling may be something that inspires more self discovery and change. You may be a person that works better with a Life Coach or maybe you do better with self-help reading or group courses. Try different avenues of support and find what works best for you to look within and resolve the underlying issues that feed your negative patterns.

You Can Only Change Yourself – But That Will Change How Others Respond To You
~ Springwolf  🐾  © 1994

As you work through your personal conflicts and resolve issues, healing will begin to modify your actions. Adding little things to help remind yourself of what you’re trying to overcome can help. Affirmations are one such tool, making a list that reminds you of healthy responses to conflicts or old patterns will work as well. But as you make your personal changes, you will change the way others interact with you. You’re not the same person as you used to be, so they cannot react to you in the same way they used to. As you empower yourself, they can no longer intimidate you or use you to their advantage without your consent. And this is the real power of personal change.

The first step is wanting things to be better. The second step is admitting your the one who controls your emotions and reactions. The third step is admitting your part in the battle and being willing to look within at your own negative patterns and accepting them for what they are. Forgiving yourself for reacting in these destructive ways and wanting to change them for positive empowering patterns of success. Then start the healing and making the necessary changes on a conscious level. It will take work. It will take an effort. It won’t occur over night or even within a week. But it will happen, as soon as you start and stick to the process.

Additional Reading
I have a couple of articles on my sites that speak to these things that might give you some insights into how one can look at the trials in our lives and how to change their affects on your mental outlook. I suggest reading these in the order I’m listing them as one builds on the information set in the article previous.  Don’t let the number of articles scare you. You’re not going to be reading a book here. Most of these are fairly short writings. But understanding how things in life work and affect you from a metaphysical perspective, allows you to change their influence over your life and well-being to turn your perspectives around to a positive view.

Overcoming Trials & Challenges

  • Meditation, Energy & Action
    How your thoughts create your day, week, month and life.
  • Affirmations To Evolve The Spirit
    How to re-program your thoughts from the negative to positive perspective.
  • Affirmations For Change
    Affirmation examples that you can use to re-program the negative self talk.
  • Dealing with Trials and Grief
    Understanding the process of healing from trials, struggles and challenges.
  • A Meditation Guide – A How To Handbook
    If you don’t meditate, it’s time to start. Meditation is the corner-stone to bring about positive change and healing in your life.
  • Letting Go Meditation
    A step by step meditation exercise for healing through forgiveness and letting go. Don’t assume this means forgiving your transgressors, it doesn’t. It’s a process of forgiving yourself and freeing yourself from guilt or sorrow.
  • Believe In You
    Pep Talks To Help You Be Inspired, along with tools that can keep you motivated.

© 2012-2013 This material is the intellectual property of Author Springwolf - Springwolf's Hanko
© 2012 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D., Springwolf Reflections / Spring’s Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


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