Monday, March 28, 2011

Don't Waste Time Talking to People Who Don't Change (Read Time: 2 min.)

When I first thought about writing today's post, I was originally going to talk about setting the tone for tough conversations. In my mind, I wanted to give some tips on how to have difficult or unpleasant conversations with people that you care about. But, then, the universe stepped in with a life experience and I was given a totally different topic to talk about.

Here's the thing: having a difficult conversation with someone that you love and you know loves you really isn't that difficult. You trust the mutual sense of good will, caring, and love that's in the relationship and, on some level, you know that this relationship will weather any storm that comes its way. That's not where the difficulty in communication lies.

The real issue occurs when you want to have a tough conversation with people who don't change. When you want to ask something of someone you know (deep down) isn't capable of giving that something to you, that's where the drama is... and hence where I'm taking this blog post.

I don't want to spend a lot of time talking about how to address touchy subjects with resistant, unwilling, backstabbing or lying family members, friends or co-workers. Why? As Maya Angelou so beautifully put it, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them." Why are you trying to have a civil conversation with a family member you know has never have a civil conversation with you in the record of relationship you've had on the earth with this person? It's a waste of time. Why are you trying to convince your spouse to do something he or she has said no to for the past fifteen years? And why are you staying up nights thinking about having "the conversation"? Time and energy wasted...

Change is a personal choice. At any moment, at any time, any person can choose to change. However, another person's change is their choice, not yours. When you've met a person, when he or she has show you who he or she really is, do not waste time trying to talk that person into being somebody else. Chances are, that person isn't going to change simply because you ask him or her to. The only change that's your business is yours.

So, the next time you want to spend all of your emotional energy gearing up for a change conversation that you already have the results for, answer these three questions instead:

1) What am I asking for from this person that I can give to myself?

2) How can I create the results I'm looking for without that person's help?

3) What other resources (human and material) can I access that will get me what I want faster than going this route?

There are at least a thousand ways to get any one thing done.

Remember: You weren't built to be broken.

Let people be who they are. Operate without the need for their change and in the total power of your ability to shift and flow.

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