Let me lay out a scenario for you all, and tell me if it sounds familiar: you've started growing, changing, opening your mind to new and wonderful possibilities -- and you begin to find that everyone around you seems... stuck. You feel like the bearer of wonderful news, because you can help them achieve a new, enlightened, state, just like you have! All they need to do is change the way they eat, sleep, meditate, and their entire belief structure. No biggie, right?
So often, this desire to "help" others see the proverbial light is based in good intention (no mention of what road is paved with those...). We're excited about how our own lives are expanding, and genuinely want those around us to experience the same high. The difficulty with this -- and I am guilty of it myself -- is the way we approach others in order to "help". So often, we focus on the areas where those around us could "improve". Right there, we've already set ourselves up for failure. As soon as we approach someone, letting them know how perfect their life would be if they'd just stop complaining all the time, or took a more positive outlook on things, any positivity we're hoping to instill won't have a chance at taking root. Even presented gently, this approach will create defensiveness in whomever we are speaking to, because it's focused squarely on identifying their faults. Think about it from a reverse position -- how would you feel if someone was cherry-picking all the aspects of your life you could improve on, and laying them out before you?
There's a natural desire we have when improving ourselves to help others as well. It's near impossible to go through a transformation like that without wanting to contribute to those around us. One of the key lessons I've learned being a coach is that you can't force change. It's inevitable and is required for growth, but until someone reaches the point where they are ready to take the plunge, they will resist it. Encouraging it, certainly in the way we've already discussed, has a good chance of setting someone back further, as they've retreated into their defensive shell, and likely aren't too keen on taking steps to improve all the areas they apparently are lacking in.
So, how can we affect positive change in those around us? There's no definitive answer. As I said, we cannot force it in others. However, if we can inspire change, that creates a fire and determination that can move someone to action. And how can we inspire others? By living your life, expanding and growing, and leading by positive example. Basically, you do you.
That doesn't mean you aren't able to more directly influence others, though. Just don't lay all their "areas for improvement" at their feet. Instead, focus on uplifting them. Convey appreciation and gratitude for their strengths. Reinforce a positive self-image for themselves. Often, in doing so, they will find a desire to take action in elevating themselves as well. If you're still met with an unwillingness in others to change, accept it, and don't let it deflate your own desire to do so.
The best advice I have for you? "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Be a force for positive inspiration, and not someone whose intentions are misconstrued as pointing out everyone's faults around you.
** View the video for this post HERE **