3 Ways to Change a Loved One for the Better

Right off the bat, based on the title, this article sounds pretentious. That’s because in theory, it is. Many of us make this mistake of forcing our beliefs onto another, and that’s okay. It is a very human action. As we absorb more information, we feel a responsibility to tell our loved ones so they can also reap the benefits. However, we must do so in a way that spares harmful arguments, hurt feelings, and the risk of acting downright pompous. Knowledge is power, but it doesn’t always have the instantaneous power to change a person’s old beliefs.

Change is relative. As one might be all for it, others will be more reluctant. It is so easy to forget this. As the first child and a university student, I am graced with floods of new knowledge every day. For example, in my Abnormal Psychology class, I learned that Alzheimer’s disease will rise exponentially in the next decade, almost quadruple its rate right now. This definitely means that we and our parents must seek intervention, but that hasn’t suddenly moved all my folks to do aerobic exercise as I naively expected. It just doesn’t work like that.

Instead, look at the situation through their lens. No one forced you to act on the new information so you shouldn’t pressure another to do the same. Of course we are in the best intentions, but if you press a rock hard enough, it will start to chip. More importantly, everyone views and interacts differently; it’s imperative to respect that. If one refuses to change their views for your views, respect that. On the other hand, perhaps they do see the information as you do, and they’re not ready. The best thing you can do in this situation is to let them be, be supportive, and modestly work on yourself.

  1. Let them know that you love them for who they are now, in that moment, as is. Show them that your love is definite and unconditional. Be understanding and reflect on your words and actions. They will change when you’re ready to change.
  2. Being present and available is far more meaningful as it values the person and the relationship. Sometimes, just having someone there on the sidelines cheering you on is the only thing one needs to move forward.
  3. Yes, be the model. Exhibit your strengths and grow your weaknesses. By being the best version of yourself, you will shine a light towards those around you. Eventually, others will pick up on your light and be inspired to also make a great change.

Lisa Nichols, a self-made millionaire, African-American woman entrepreneur, and the author of Abundance Now, said it best in her interview with Lewis Howes.

“My job in my friend’s life and my family member’s life is not to rescue them.

I realize that I can have all this information and when I show up to them, with them, they just want their girlfriend. They just want their home girl, they just want their niece, their cousin, their daughter.
They don’t want me to rescue them.”

Remember, your only job is to be the light and show how you ignite your inner maverick.

Have a great week and see you soon,

P.S. For more of Brandon Stanciell’s series “Thinker”.

Originally published at songswesing.com on February 5, 2016.

Product designer exploring life + design questions to better understand humanity. Writing from San Francisco, CA. https://twitter.com/carolineyluu