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You Can Only Change Yourself

Posted on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 by Positivevoice

I often work with clients who struggle with work relationships. Often they feel bullied or insecure. In fact, I hear this from 75% of my coaching clients.

My answer is always the same; you cannot change others, you can only change yourself. When I first started studying Neuro Linguistic Programming, this was incredibly difficult for me to take in. How could I change the way others behaved towards me simply by changing myself? The answer lies in the energy that you send out. Have you ever walked into a room and instantly known that something was wrong?

Well, maybe someone you have difficulty with sensed that from you and took it personally, which in turn changed their behaviour towards you, which in turn changed your behaviour towards them. You can see how this can be a downward spiral.

One of the best things you can do is to change the way you feel about this other person. When you do this, your energy becomes lighter and they respond accordingly.

How to do this?

I use a couple of methodologies. My favourite is a clever sequence of questions. They vary according to the situation, but here are some suggestions:
  1. Are you acting out of love or fear?
    (All positive emotions can be construed as love and all negative as fear.)
  2. Is the other person involved acting out of love or fear?
  3. See the situation through their eyes. How would you feel?
  4. Are you really right?
    (We have an inherent desire to be right, which often causes us to sabotage our happiness.)
  5. What positives can you see here?
    (There is always something. You will find it if you look carefully enough - the Dalai Lama says that Chairman Mao was his greatest teacher as he taught him to be more humble. We learn so much from those who challenge us.)
  6. Are you taking things personally?
    (Another's behaviour is never about you; even if they say it is. Whatever has happened between you will be the 'straw that broke the camel's back'. Perhaps they have experienced something similar before and this incident brings up old feelings.
In addition to this style of questioning, I find journalling is a great help. When we talk about a problem, we do just that 'talk about the problem'. When writing our brains are much more solution focused.

Have a go: sit down and just write until you feel better.

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