“People don’t resist change. They resist being changed.” – Peter Senge
I have spent my 30+ year career helping people change. Unfortunately, without some guidance or intervention, most people are not changers – they’re justifiers. They often experience repeated and painful consequences yet continue to make similar mistakes. How is this possible? Rather than adjust their course, they continue on their way, explaining and justifying the choice to remain the same.
Pushed to Stay the Same
Confrontation, pointing out mistakes, and reviewing negative consequences often produces further resistance. Arguing with someone spends energy yet is unproductive in creating mental, emotional, or behavioral changes. Commanding and forcing others to accept your ideas will feel like an attack and may bring a strategic and powerful counterattack. Pushing someone to change frequently causes further investment in staying the same. For some people, resisting and defeating you is more important than helping themselves. Defiance and oppositionality become superior to cooperation, improvement, or change.
The Foundation of Change
Convincing someone that some important pattern in life can be different is not easy. It’s more important for me to believe that I can make changes, than to have someone make me believe that I must. Demanding that someone else change, implies inequality – “I’m smart, you’re not. I do it right, you do it wrong. I know what’s best and you don’t.” Instead, unconditional love and acceptance becomes a strong foundation to engage people in the change process. This acceptance implies that we are on the same team, working together for your good. I’m not opposed to you; I’m pulling for you! This understanding and collaboration become a good foundation to begin the recovery process. Instead of insisting someone be different, we have joined together to solve issues, capitalize on strengths, and provide encouragement and support for the change process.
Recovery is a Journey. Enjoy the Ride!