When You Change But They Don’t

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Brian Kight

Let’s assume for today that you are far more capable of change than you currently believe, even if you’re already confident in your ability to change. Let’s also assume that change is much easier than you currently believe. Our working premise is that you are capable of even more change than you believe and it is also easier to do and accomplish than you believe.

Even when these assumptions are realities, and I believe they usually are, a significant barrier to personal transformation still exists: the other people in our lives who are not changing along with us.

As you choose to change, some of the people in your life will react to it by trying to pull you back into the norms and patterns you’d previously established with them. You changing means how they perceive, process, and interact with you has to change. Their norm gets disrupted and so they fight to keep things consistent with how they were.

You might choose to change but not everyone in your life will change along with you. Some people may not even respect the changes you make, opting instead to see you as how you were before you chose to change.

Experiencing this from people, especially people you care about, can be painful, confusing, and disruptive. This rarely discussed experience is why so many people struggle to stick with change. It isn’t that the change is hard. It’s the disruption of relationship norms and patterns that leads to tension that undermines lasting change.

Consider this the next time you choose to change. Remember, you are capable of more change than you believe, but not everyone is willing to change with you. You have your decisions to make. They have theirs.

Answer the call. Do the work.

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