How to Inspire Changes In Others
By: Extension Professor Naomi Brower & Student Intern, Audrey Garrett
Healthy relationships require some compromise and negotiation from both partners. While it is often easy to see changes that we think others should make, we can’t force people to change. How we choose to act, however, can inspire changes in others. Consider the following tips that may encourage change in others.
Ways to inspire change:
- If you want your partner to change, start by accepting them for who they are (Gaspard, 2017). People generally change only if they feel like they are liked and accepted for who they are (Gottman & Silver, 2015). If they feel attacked or criticized, they are often more likely to resist change.
- How we perceive the situation can make a huge difference in how we feel about it. Instead of focusing on things you wish others would change, choose to focus on the things that you appreciate about them. Respect and celebrate the traits that you each bring to the relationship (Gaspard, 2017).
- Making efforts to alter our own behavior may inspire others to change. Share your goals or plans with your partner and ask for their support (Pryzybysz, n.d.). For example, ask your partner to help you be accountable. As they see the efforts you are making to change, they may appreciate your endeavors and may even be inspired to join you.
Instead of looking at how to change others, look for ways you can improve your behavior. Consciously choosing to deviate from your normal way of thinking or acting may inspire change in others, but even if it doesn’t, it may help you to feel more positive about the situation. Provided below are additional resources you can reference. If you need further help, consider seeking out a caring professional for support.
- Article Be the change you wish to see in your relationship, found at https://www.gottman.com/blog/be-the-change-you-wish-to-see-in-your-relationship/
- Article Keys to Happier Marriage Include Not Demanding Change From Your Spouse, Psychologists Say found at https://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/Keys-to-Happier-Marriage-Include-652
- Article When You Want to Change Your Behavior found at https://centerforhealthyrelationshipsla.org/advice/when-you-want-to-change-your-behavior/
- Gaspard, T. (2017, April 10). Be the change you wish to see in your relationship, The Gottman Institute. https://www.gottman.com/blog/be-the-change-you-wish-to-see-in-your-relationship/
- Gottman, J.M. & Silver N. (2015). The seven principles for making marriage work. Three Rivers Press.
- Przybysz, L. (n.d.). Changing your spouse - and yourself. For Your Marriage. https://www.foryourmarriage.org/changing-your-partner-and-yourself/