Do people change? Sometimes, sometimes not. We have all heard “he/she will never change”. Never is a long time and it is wholly unfair for any on the face of the earth to damn another or ourselves with the word “never”, or “always” for that matter. I work toward keeping the words ‘never’ and ‘always’ out of my vocabulary.
Think about the people in your life. Who are the most irritating, the ones who grate on your last nerve? What idiosyncrasies within their personalities turn an otherwise sunny day to dismal in the blink of an eye? Some of these people are family, others are co-workers, neighbors, people we cannot avoid altogether and so we end up gritting our teeth in their presence, silently seething. Does it affect them in any way? Probably, and I can guarantee it is affecting your life, health, and wellbeing.
So often we get wrapped up in the words and emotions of others; we are affected by their approach to life. It’s abrasive to us, and we come away from interactions carrying the effects of their words and emotions, and then we spill on others along our path. We are, in effect, absorbing their negative energy and radiating the negative energy toward others. We feel or sense, on a subconscious level, the energies of others and we say this or that person is putting off “negative vibes” but we don’t realize when we allow the negative energies of others to affect us that we, in turn, affect others.
People don’t change unless they are ready to make the necessary changes themselves yet we stress over the idiosyncrasies that are part of who they are at that moment. So, what is the solution? Acknowledging the effect the negative energies have on us is half the battle. Awareness is golden because then we can take actions to ensure we aren’t affected; put up a forcefield, of sorts. We are the only ones who can control our actions and reactions. Letting others affect us with negative energies is a passive action, in other words, we are just letting it happen, but the passivity affects us and others when we pass it along.
I have learned I need to allow people to be who they are in that moment and not allow their negativity or behavior to affect me. When I acknowledge this person is who they are and nothing I can do at that moment will change it, I can walk away without having absorbed any energies that will negatively impact me or others in my life. It is a subtle attitude shift and sounds simple but it does take a bit of practice. This attitude shift recognizes the person as an extension of Divine Love Energy making no judgment regarding their words, emotions, or behavior. It’s a win-win. I have watched the subtle attitude shift make differences in my relationships with others, and I have noticed the changes in myself, too. I spend more time in gratitude, more time appreciating the blessings in life and the gift of life in general, and I am more peaceful. In its own way shifting our attitude to accept people as they are and not as we would like them to be is a bit of a different take on the “don’t sweat the small stuff” attitude.
Boundaries are important, too. We can’t allow others to walk all over us while we are accepting them as they are. Boundaries are healthy, and I can’t say I have mastered the skill, but I am getting better. Setting boundaries, in part, has a lot to do with how we view ourselves and if we understand we have a voice in the world. When we view ourselves as less than others, less important, less valuable, less valid we will have a difficult time giving voice to needed and acceptable boundaries in relationships. I suspect I really never felt like I was ‘enough’ which made me easy prey for an abusive relationship. Coming out of the abusive relationship was truly a learning curve for me and I made lots of mistakes, but mistakes are how we learn when we pay attention. Ten years have come and gone and I have made significant strides and most of them through trial and error, taking two steps forward and one step back.
The moral of the story is we are all connected. We don’t live separate lives from one another. What happens to others will affect us one way or another in a sort of circular chain reaction and vice versa. The funny thing is we expect others to accept us, but it’s difficult to reciprocate when we bump up against challenging people. A subtle shift in our attitude toward others will allow more positive energies to flow changing negative situations into a more positive ones. People can change, and it begins with us…..