Time and time again, I am faced with questions in cyberspace that go something like this: “My (insert relationship here) won’t stop (insert annoying habit here). How do I stop him/her from doing that?” The answer is that you don’t because you can’t change another individual. The only person you have total, absolute, and unwavering control over is yourself, and this is where the magic happens. Believe it or not, you actually have the ability to change the way you react to someone or something that makes you feel less than unapologetically blissful.
Anyone can change, but making a change takes time, effort, and patience. It won’t all happen at once, and that is OK. Below are five tips to change how you react.
1. Have Understanding and Compassion.
It can be difficult to offer individuals compassion when you assume they are the cause of a majority of your perceived problems, but if you can, take the time to put yourself in their shoes. Imagine what it is like to be them and reasons why they could be doing that thing they do that absolutely burrows under your skin and lives there only to annoy you time and time again. This way of viewing the situation doesn’t justify bad behavior, but it does explain it and make your life a heck of a lot easier.
2. See the Innocence in Them.
Beneath the neurotic behavior, the damaged ego, and the closed heart there exists an innocent soul, a living expression of the divine, just as it lives inside of you. When you are having a particularly difficult encounter, see the innocent child of God within him/her and remember that you are connected through the one energy that connects us all. Pretend you are meeting him/her for the first time with no past experiences or future expectations, and expect the best. You might be pleasantly surprised.
3. Understand Yourself.
Know what you are doing and why. Self-awareness is an important piece to the happiness puzzle because it is followed by the ability to make a lasting change. Pause. Thinking before you act never goes out of style.
4. Consider the Consequences.
Newton was spot on when he declared every action has an equal and opposite reaction, even in relationships. If you react out of anger or frustration, you are likely to receive just as negative of a reaction back, and you will get what you expect. Consider the consequences of your actions and work toward creating healthier, more positive, or at the very least, neutral exchanges.
5. Look for the Lesson.
If life is a classroom and people are our teachers, look for the lesson hidden within a difficult situation, the diamond in the rough. Why are you attracting these individuals and situations into your life? Are you not living in alignment with your highest good? Is it a lesson in patience? Or maybe judgment? Possibly self-awareness? Every situation is an opportunity for growth, and when looked at through this rose colored lens, life becomes a lot more enjoyable.
Published April 5, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Maria Mooney, MSW, LSW, (prefontaine44.blogspot.com) is a licensed social worker, high raw vegan blogger diagnosed with and healing from a progressive neurological disease, RSD/CRPS. She enjoys reading, writing, yoga, the sport of long distance running, spending time in nature, and being with her loved ones, especially her Goldendoodle, Shorter. You can find her on Twitter @HappyHealing44 and on Facebook at facebook.com/prefontaine44. More from Maria Mooney on