You Can Only Change Yourself

One of the hardest things I have ever had to learn is that you cannot change another person.

When I was in high school I was in an abusive relationship.One of the reasons why I was in this relationship for so long was because I thought I could change my boyfriend. I thought that if he could just see how much he was hurting me he would change. I forgave him many times because I could see he was having a hard time at home, and [if] he could see how it was affecting me he would be become nicer. Needless to say, it never worked. No matter how hard I tried he never changed. In the end, I had to realize that the only person I could change was myself. So instead of waiting for him to come to his senses I took matters into my own hands and simply left the relationship.

I also run into this issue all the time as a coach. All I want to do is MAKE my clients and coaches put in the work because I know how much this opportunity can change their lives. But I learned very quickly that you cannot make someone do anything they are not committed to themselves. So instead of pushing my clients and coaches, I lead by example. The only person I can change is myself. So .. [I] do my workouts. [I] drink my shakes, and [I] show up for myself to show them that they can show up for [them]selves.

As a tutor, you can imagine this issue also comes up with my students. I have been through high school and university so you would think that when I tell them a certain study habit will create great results in their lives OR a certain way to take notes will make them more organized they would jump on those ideas and implement them. But NOPE. 9/10 they ignore me. Even though I KNOW how they should be studying to get the grades they want, they refuse to change their ways. I COULD take this to heart and continue to nag them until they do what I say, but I know that will only create resentment towards me. Instead .. I tell them my advice, show them the benefits of what I am saying versus what they are doing and then allow them to make their own decisions.

I actually came across this issue yesterday with an AP chemistry student. This boy is SMART. 95%+ in all his classes, except for chemistry where he has a 75%. When I showed up to the session I asked him where his notes were and he proceeded to tell me he doesn’t take notes in ANY class. He said he just “plugs and play” for all of his classes and he has been successful so far. I immediately told him how that is NOT going to fly in chemistry, and especially not in university. So I told him to re-write all of his notes from the semester and have them completed by the end of the break. Now I wait … because I simply can only let him witness his behaviour, give him a solution and allow him to make a decision as to whether he will do it or not. When I show up for our next lesson, I am not going to yell, I am not going to lecture.. no matter what he has decided, because he has chosen what he thinks is best for him.

I encourage you to do the same. If you have someone in your life that is doing something that you KNOW you can help them move beyond. Tell them your solution and then move on. Don’t dwell. Remember: the only person you can change is yourself.

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