Make Change Possible

Can people change? Really change? Can you change negative behaviors into positive ones? And if you change, can you make the change last?

Make change possible
The simple answer is ‘yes.’ The more complicated answer reminds me of an old joke: “How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?” “Just one—but the bulb has to really WANT to change!” It is possible to change, but only if you want to.

The first step is to become aware, really aware, of your own behavior—especially when it’s bad behavior.

Most of us behave in a reactive way. Something happens—we react. A good way to change your behavior is to take a moment before reacting, decide how you want to respond, and then act. Increase your level of understanding of what is going on inside of you.

Pause. Think. Feel. Act.

When you behave in a negative way, you may often realize it later and ask yourself, “Why did I say that in such a sarcastic or demeaning way? Why do I always react in a defensive way? Why do I feel that I have to act so passively? Why am I behaving so badly?”

Listen carefully and closely to yourself when this happens. Most people have a pretty clear sense of when they are behaving in a negative fashion.

A great strategy is to identify situations (and people) that trigger your hot buttons. Think about why these situations are setting up negative behaviors or why these people make you crazy. As you dig into the reasons, you may find old stuff lingering around. This old stuff may need some airing out or may even need to be replaced by better responses on your part.

Sometimes, though, you may not know when you are behaving in a negative fashion. These are the times when you need someone to tell you and hopefully they can tell you in a helpful and healthy way.

You should seek open, honest, and caring feedback from someone you trust. Find and treasure this type of person. They are invaluable.

So what if it isn’t you we’re talking about? What if you want to help someone else recognize the need for change? Fortunately the steps are exactly the same. In your most caring and compassionate tone, ask the person to ask him or herself the same self-discovery questions—to be hyper-aware, for one full day, of his or her behaviors and of the effect they have on others, to identify their hot buttons, and to seek feedback from others.

But all this is predicated on the desire to change. Once you get that genuine commitment, real change IS possible.

Leave a Reply